Scottsdale, AZ

Fun activities to enjoy the Sonoran Desert experience

Alistair Dominguez

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SCOTTSDALE, AZ - The beautiful Scottsdale's Sonoran Desert environment sets it apart from any other major American metropolis. What makes it better are the great hiking routes, mountains, and abundant desert experiences. Here are some activities in the Sonoran Desert that are sure to satisfy.

Hike the trails

The trail offers an accessible paved pathway on the west side and an educational nature trail on the east side. Check out the park's renowned Hole-in-the-Rock viewpoint if you are up for a quick half-mile trek, or go to the ADA-accessible Kovach Family Nature Trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. You may learn about Sonoran Desert plants and wildlife there.

Aside from McDowell Sonoran Preserve, the area offers other hike spots, including Pinnacle Peak Park, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, and Camelback Mountain.

Off-road desert adventures

Hiking is not the only way to explore the Sonoran Desert. At Jeep and Hummer, swap two legs for four wheels on an exciting off-road UTV adventure, where guides lead the charge through the harsh environment while offering intriguing facts about the Sonoran Desert's sensitive ecology, geology, and cultural history as you go. 

Going up in a hot air balloon

Enjoy a hot-air balloon ride over the Sonoran Desert. This moderate ride allows you to marvel at broad panoramic views as well as take a glimpse of animals and natural plants. The trip offers celebration at the end of the ride, including champagne toast and catered breakfast in the desert.

Desert water recreation

The Lower Salt River, which runs through the city's eastern outskirts, is a popular spot for all-season activities, including stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and rafting. You may be lucky enough to see a herd of beautiful wild horses that call the region home. Red-tailed hawks, coyotes, javelina, and eagles are also some of the other animals you could see around lakes and rivers.

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