Take a drive north of the resorts and high end shopping centers and you will find Pinnacle Peak a prominent north Scottsdale landmark. The Pinnacle Peak Park is 150 acres of scattered saguaro cactus and green palo verde trees. Within the park you find the only trail which is a well maintained 3 1/2 mile moderate hike which gradually winds up the mountain. The best thing about this hike is you can avoid the crowds while taking in some beautiful views. Make sure to take lots of water with you.
Fast Facts: Pinnacle Peak Trail
Location: Pinnacle Peak is in far north Scottsdale, not far from the city’s border with Carefree Arizona.
What to See: Landscape of giant boulders and classic Sonoran Desert scenery with cactus; wildflowers in spring, mountain and city views; desert animals such as roadrunners, whiptail lizards and the occasional bobcat or coyote.
Distance: 1.75 miles one way (3½ miles roundtrip). Note: The Pinnacle Peak Trail is an “in & out” hike, not a loop trail.
Hiking Time Estimate: 2 hours
Elevation Change: 1,300 feet
Season: October through May. Locals hike the trail year round but summer temperatures routinely exceed 100° degrees, so summer hikes are not recommended. Avoid hiking the trail during storms.
Use: Moderate. Pinnacle Peak Park is in an area of upscale homes, golf courses and a resort. Locals use the trail but generally rush up and down quickly, leaving the peak to the rest of us.
Hours: Dawn to dusk (hours vary depending upon the season). Everyone must exit the park by dusk.
Access Fee: Free
Closest Town: Scottsdale
Address: 26802 N. 102nd Way (1 mile south of Dynamite and Alma School Road), Scottsdale, AZ 85262