The 5 Best Sunrise Hikes in and Around Scottsdale

The 5 Best Sunrise Hikes in and Around Scottsdale

  • 02/20/22
If you’re buying a home in Scottsdale, you know that the city is surrounded by fabulous mountains – and if you’re a hiker, Arizona is definitely the place for you. Spring is the perfect time to take sunrise hikes in and around Scottsdale because the sun isn’t up extremely early (like it is in the summer), so check out this list of the three best spots to get great views.

The 5 Best Sunrise Hikes in and Around Scottsdale

Pro Tip: Before you head out on any of these five sunrise hikes near Scottsdale, check the sunrise time to make sure you leave at the right time.
With that in mind, the three best sunrise hikes in Scottsdale are:
  • Sunrise Peak via Sunrise Trail
  • Tom’s Thumb Trail
  • Piestewa Peak
  • Papago Park
  • Scenic Trail
Here’s a closer look at each.

Sunrise Hike #1 in Scottsdale: Sunrise Peak via Sunrise Trail

Sunrise Peak via Sunrise Trail is a 4.3-mile out-and-back trail. You may see wildlife along this trail, including javelina, so be prepared. Dogs are allowed on Sunrise Trail, provided that they’re on a leash and that you clean up after them.
Sunrise Trail passes some spectacular scenery that you can catch on the way back down, but the peak is really where it’s at – you can watch the sun come up over the mountains in the distance after a moderate hike up the path. The path is very clearly cut, so you won’t have to worry about wandering off; sometimes it’s quite busy (though not so much in the early morning hours).

Sunrise Hike #2 in Scottsdale: Tom’s Thumb Trail

Tom’s Thumb Trail is one of the most popular in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, and for good reason. It’s a short, four-mile hike that’s full of switchbacks; it’s moderate to difficult due to how steep it is and the number of switchbacks you have to go through to get to the summit. You’ll see amazing views of the McDowell Mountains and Phoenix along the way. Remember, though, this is a moderate-to-difficult hike, so you’ll need plenty of water and some sun protection (for your way back down).

Sunrise Hike #3 in Scottsdale: Piestewa Peak

Moderate hiking? Check. Breathtaking views? Check. Big payoff for not so much work? Check. That’s what you get on the way up Piestewa Peak, and you’ll probably bump into a few jackrabbits and more than a handful of lizards on your way up, too. Bring a flashlight to keep an eye on the path along this 2.1-mile hike. Though it’s challenging, you can complete the whole out-and-back trail in just under two hours if you’re rushing. One catch: Pets aren’t allowed on this trail.

Sunrise Hike #4 in Scottsdale: Papago Park

Papago Park is a great place to see the sunrise – and whether you take the West Side Trails or the East Side Trails, you’ll have a great time. However, the gated roadways aren’t open until 6 a.m. and the parking area isn’t open until sunrise, so you’ll have to walk into the park on your own.

Sunrise Hike #5 in Scottsdale: Scenic Trail

Want to bring little ones on a sunrise hike? Scenic Trail in McDowell Mountain Regional Park is a 4.4-mile loop trail that leads you to spectacular views, and it’s no trouble for reasonably adventurous kids. You’ll get breathtaking views of the Superstition Mountains and the Verde River, too, so it’s one of the most rewarding trails out there.

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