Sunrise Trail (Scottsdale, Arizona) 20-Mar-2018

Sunrise Peak McDowell Sonoran Preserve Scottsdale Arizona

As we say in Oregon: When the going gets wet, the dry go to Arizona. And so it was that we found ourselves in Phoenix and Tucson for a week, visiting some old friends and doing six local hikes. The weather pretty much cooperated the whole time, with sunshine, mild air temperatures (mid 70ºFs to low 80ºFs), and only artistic clouds. There was a potent, cholla-hurling windstorm with clouds one afternoon but that was it for weather drama. We chose hikes that covered habitats fron saguaros to oaks to pines, at altitudes between 1,500 and 8,000 feet. Cacti spines were dodged, no snakes were startled (or startled us), and a good time was had by all. Now that there are direct flights between home and Phoenix, we may have to do some more hiking down there…

Our second hike was the Sunrise Peak Trail in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. We ended-up there because The LovedOne’s knee was acting up and we didn’t feel comfortable committing to a longer hike. The straight out-and-back trail to Sunrise Peak is short (4.4 miles round-trip) but steep (1,100 feet of elevation gain) and immensely popular. It had been a long time since we’d seen this many people on any trail, particularly on a weekday. But then there are 1.6+ million people in Phoenix, so some of them undoubtedly had the day off. As feared, The LovedOne only made it to the “Scenic Viewpoint” (about 1.3 miles in) before her knee started protesting mightily. So she descended while I made a quick trip to the summit and back. Good views from up there but not a hike for those craving solitude.

Sunrise Peak McDowell Sonoran Preserve Scottsdale Arizona
The trailhead parking lot was full (we parked in the overflow lot)
Sunrise Peak McDowell Sonoran Preserve Scottsdale Arizona
Up the trail
Sunrise Peak McDowell Sonoran Preserve Scottsdale Arizona
Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) blossoms
Sunrise Peak McDowell Sonoran Preserve Scottsdale Arizona
The knee lasted as far as the Scenic Viewpoint
Sunrise Peak McDowell Sonoran Preserve Scottsdale Arizona
Looking south from the summit
Sunrise Peak McDowell Sonoran Preserve Scottsdale Arizona
Weaver’s Needle (arrow) from the summit
Sunrise Peak McDowell Sonoran Preserve Scottsdale Arizona
Scottsdale (foreground) and Phoenix (distance) from the summit
Sunrise Peak McDowell Sonoran Preserve Scottsdale Arizona
My straight shot to the summit and back

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