If you’re lucky enough to have a four-day weekend for Thanksgiving this year – and if you don’t plan to mix with the throngs of Black Friday shoppers – check out these great Scottsdale hikes that are just perfect for fall weather.
The 7 Best Scottsdale Hikes for Thanksgiving Weekend
The best hikes in Scottsdale are hard to zero in on because we have a lot of amazing trails here. However, each of these trails will be open on Thanksgiving and the following three days – and that means you can get out and enjoy the beautiful November weather.
- McDowell Sonoran Preserve Gateway Trail
- Sunrise Trail
- Tom’s Thumb Trai
- Lost Dog Wash Trail
- Brown’s Mountain
- Fraesfield Trail
- Kovach Family Nature Trail
Here’s a closer look at each.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve Gateway Trail
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve Gateway Trail is a fully barrier-free trail, which means it’s ideal for anyone. There are plenty of games and activities for children along the Bajada Nature Trail, as well, and the Gateway Loop Trail is a fairly straightforward walk (and it’s even kid-friendly). There’s rocky terrain (except on the Bajada Nature Trail), so wear good shoes and bring your camera.
Don’t let the name fool you – you can enjoy this hike at any time of day. It’s a 4.9-mile point-to-point trail located near Fountain Hills, and it’s rated as “moderate” by experienced hikers. You don’t have to do the whole trail – but if you choose to turn around and go back to where you started, remember that it’s going to be a total of 9.8 miles. Leashed dogs are welcome.
Tom’s Thumb Trail
Tom’s Thumb Trail is one of Scottsdale’s most popular out-and-back trails. It’s 3.97 miles of difficult terrain, but that doesn’t stop people from using it – it’s pretty heavily trafficked, especially in the fall when the weather is perfect. It’s primarily used for hiking, though mountain bikes are permitted. You can bring your four-legged, tail-wagging family members, too, as long as they’re leashed.
Lost Dog Wash Trail
The Lost Dog Wash trail connects with other local trails (Sunrise and Ringtail are two of them). You can hike out and back or join another trail – it’s up to you and how much you’re ready to tackle after a day or two of eating turkey and leftovers. Horses and dogs are welcome on the trail, which is mostly rocky and considered “moderate” by experienced hikers. In Lost Dog Wash itself, you’ll find plenty of short, easy trails that meander through and across the wash.
Brown’s Mountain is a popular hike in Scottsdale, and the views are spectacular. You’ll gain a little elevation (the trailhead is at 2,710 feet, and the summit is at 3,253 feet) but it’s not a horribly difficult walk. There are a couple ways to reach the summit: You can take a 3.2-mile out-and-back approach or you can do a loop, using the original trailhead to get up to the top and coming down the Upper Ranch Trail, which results in a 4.4-mile hike.
Fraesfield Trail is moderate in difficulty, and plenty of people bring horses out to enjoy the views. There are two main hikes from Fraesfield Trail – and one is the loop. This 4.7-mile loop gives you spectacular views of the Sonoran Desert and gives you a 300-foot elevation gain. Alternately, you can take the Three Trails Hike, which is a 3-mile walk with a 300-foot elevation gain.
Kovach Family Nature Trail
The Kovach Family Nature Trail is a moderately-trafficked 0.5 mile loop that’s completely ADA accessible. You’ll learn a lot along the way, too – there are plaques describing the relationship between the desert and its inhabitants (including humans) at regular intervals along the trail. You can bring strollers and stop to hang out on any of the three stone benches on the paved, smooth pathway.
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RE/MAX Fine Properties
21000 N. Pima Rd., #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
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