Ask most visitors to Scottsdale what they liked best about Scottsdale and invariably most will say this resort or that resort, or this restaurant or that restaurant, or tennis here or golf there. While I am assured that they had a delightful time, if they didn't venture into the high Sonoran desert of North Scottsdale, they missed some of the most beautiful scenery and landscapes in the State of Arizona. Many Scottsdale visitors have never been north of Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. They have never seen the beauty of the high Sonoran desert that predominates in North Scottsdale.
As you head north on Scottsdale Rd. at Frank Lloyd Wright be sure not to miss the Frank Lloyd Wright Spire. You can't miss it on the south east corner. As you continue north you gain elevation and you enter into the rugged high Sonoran Desert of North Scottsdale. Don't be misled by the austere desert environment. Wise city planning has hidden some of Scottsdale's finest residences, shopping and dining experiences behind dense vegetation that makes them virtually invisible from the road. North of Happy Valley Rd., watch for signs identifying the desert trees and plants.
The Boulders that you see in the picture above are located at the intersection of Scottsdale Rd. and The Carefree Highway. Terravita, the upscale Del Webb golf and tennis community is on your left just before you reach the intersection of Scottsdalel Rd. and The Carefree Highway. The el Pedregal Marketplace, which offers upscale shopping and dining experiences, will be next on your right. Just past the intersection of Scottsdale and the Carefree Highway, Scottsdale Rd. becomes Tom Darlington and you won't be able to miss The Boulders, The Boulders Resort and a The Golden Door Spa.
As you continue north past the Boulders on Tom Darlington, Black Mountain rises dramatically on your left. You can see upscale homes hanging to the steep slopes on Black Mountain. As you head a little further north, on the right, you will come to the Town of Carefree with it's quaint shops, restaurants and eclectic streets named Easy St., Tranquil Way and Ho Hum. Stop and take a walk around town. Don't miss the Carefree Sundial which is the third largest sundial in the Western Hemisphere. The motto of Carefree is "Home of Cowboys and Caviar, Where the Old West Meets the New." A very apt description for this upscale and still casual desert town.
At the intersection of Tom Darlington and Cave Creek Rd. you can turn left into the eclectic, rough and tumble, little town of Cave Creek with it's bevy of shops and restaurants. Be prepared for tough dining decisions as the town host some of the best casual dining in a rustic environment at Harold's Cave Creek Corral, my wife's favorite chicken at The Horney Toad, our favorite go to place for romantic diners, The Tonto Bar And Grill and highly rated fine dining at Binkley's. I would be remiss in not mentioning one of my favorite burgers at The Hideaway. Don't be intimidated by the bikers. Four wheelers are welcome. If you need more choices here is a great resource for you, The Cave Creek Dining review.
From the intersection of Tom Darlington and Cave Creek Rd. turn right on Cave Creek to continue your scenic tour. Turn right and go South on Pima Rd. to enjoy the Saguaros, Cholla's, wide open spaces and mountain views. The area on the right as you head south was decimated by a fire over ten years ago. The thick vegetation and recovered Sequoia's attest to the resiliency of the desert habitat. You can turn right on Happy Valley Rd. to be taken back to Scottsdale Rd. where you would make a left turn to head south on Scottsdale Rd. for a quick return to urban Scottsdale.
If you continue south on Pima Rd. you can turn East on Dynamite to start the Pinnacle Peak loop which loops around the Southwestern landmark of Pinnacle Peak. Pinnacle Peak will be obvious on your right as Dynamite Rd. climbs higher and pass through the upscale residences among the boulders and Troon North Golf Resort. A quick right turn on Alma School Rd. will take you through the old desert Stage Coach stop of Reata Pass. Just south of the town watch for.....Read More About the Boulders Scenic Drive