Phoenix’s desert preserves are a great place to spend quality time with your dog, especially with our gorgeous winter, spring and fall weather.
See our short list of dog-friendly mountains & natural parks for an outdoor foray with your best buddy! While hiking implies more strenuous activity than your routine dog walks, many mountain trails are abundantly traveled and level enough to accommodate an easy experience for both of you; with the added beauty of desert vegetation for a fun change of pace.
Park rules require DOGS BE LEASHED AT ALL TIMES – and it’s safer as an unleashed dog can inadvertently end up nose to nose with cactus needles or wildlife.
OTHER TIPS FOR HAPPY TAILS ON THE TRAILS:
Be sure to hike during cooler weather as Arizona summers can be brutal, especially for dogs. Always carry plenty of water for both of you! Good rule of thumb: carry at least 18 oz. of water for every hour walked.
Pick up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
Hike early in the day when shade is more prevalent. Feel the ground with your hand; if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. Consider a shorter hike to avoid overexertion or exhaustion.
5700 N. Echo Canyon, Phoenix
This famous landmark has a rich history and is a popular attraction for both local and visiting outdoor enthusiasts. As a result, parking can be a challenge, so please visit the website for helpful tips. Additional web information includes the various trails (4) available on Camelback Mountain. *NOTE: dogs are not permitted on the Echo Canyon Summit Trail. Dogs ARE allowed on the Cholla Trail.
SHAW BUTTE/NORTH MOUNTAIN
12950 N. 7th St (Shaw Butte) & 10600 N. 7th St, (North Mountain), Phoenix
North Mountain and Shaw Butte are “twin peaks” of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. This expansive terrain has a little something to offer all levels of hikers – on 2 and 4 legs . You may encounter natural hazards, including rocky trails or an occasional rattler, so be careful if things get ruff!
LOOKOUT & SHADOW MOUNTAIN
15800 N. 16th St, Phoenix
These mountains are smaller than the North Mountain area, yet located nearby. Lookout Mountain offers spectacular views with fewer crowds….consider this hike as a better option for senior dogs.
10919 S. Central Ave, Phoenix
South Mountain Park is the largest municipal park in the U.S, comprised of 51 miles of trails and home to thousands of petroglyphs from the Hohokam culture. In the spirit of our ancient, tribal elders: “Take Nothing but Memories, leave Nothing but Footprints”…(or paw prints).
51st Ave & Deem Hills Pkwy, Phoenix
The Deem Hills are composed of ancient Precambrian granite and volcanic rocks, dating back 2 billion years. The Deem Hills Circumference Trail is almost 6 miles long and provides wonderful views of Phoenix. A new trail “Basalt” is the shorter and less strenuous than “Ridgeline“, while “Water Tank” road is the easiest.
625 N. Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix
Papago Park has a plethora of easy hiking trails, nestled among the sandstone buttes of the Sonoran Desert. Papago Park is a natural wonder only minutes from the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden.
RIO SALADO HABITAT RESTORATION AREA
2439 S. Central Ave, Phoenix
This is an environmental restoration project of the Salt River. At the heart of the project is the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audobon Center; a 600 acre park home to ponds, river channels, 200 species of birds and other natural wildlife.
Leashed dogs are welcome provided y’all stick to the paved trails and avoid the temptation to “skip rocks” along the pond waters.
18333 N. Thompson Peak Rd, Scottsdale, AZ, 85255
The Gateway Trailhead, nestled within Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve, is the access point to 7 major trail heads that connect to more than 200 miles of hiking paths. It’s very kid-friendly with children’s games and activities along the Bajada Nature Trail. Kids and dogs of all ages are able to explore the Gateway Loop and interior trails, surrounded by stunning geography with public amenities at the entrance.
LOST DOG WASH
12601 N. 124th Street, Scottsdale, 85259
Lost Dog Wash Trailhead is one of the major access points for the Preserve. This award winning trail head provides extensive vehicle and equestrian parking along with a gathering area and other amenities. Lost Dog Wash Trailhead offers somewhat shorter and easier trails that wander around and across a natural desert wash.
23015 N 128th St, Scottsdale, AZ, 85255
Tom’s Thumb was the first trail head on the north side of the McDowell Mountains, with access to many important features such as Tom’s Thumb, Windgate Overlook, Gardener’s Wall, Sven Slab, Mesquite Canyon and the Windmill Trail. Please note: there is NO WATER available at the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead.
BROWN’S RANCH TRAILHEAD
30301 N Alma School Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ, 85262
This trail head features interpretive exhibits about the human history of the Preserve and serves as the major access point to the vast network of trails in the area. It provides access to such unique destinations as Granite Mountain, Cholla Mountain, Brown’s Mountain, Balanced Rock and Cathedral Rock.
12101 N. 145th Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85259
The Sunrise Trail pushes steeply above the residential trail head area into the lower canyon, where grades moderate through 1.0 miles. Switchbacks and a steady hike up prove to be an excellent cardio workout.
Happy “Trails” to you and your sidekicks!
photo attribution: Yuriy Bogdanov on unsplash.com