Looking for a place to visit and learn about the beauty and history of the Sonoran Desert? Then look no further than Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a place where you can hike, ride horseback or pedal a trail bike.
Today, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve maintains an area of over 30,000 acres. It is protected from future development and provides residents and visitors a unique recreation area unlike any in the world.
The group of parks is accessible through eleven trailheads and 135 miles of trails. The trails which provide for non-motorized public use allow walking or hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, bird watching, photography or simply learning about nature.
The Preserve is home to over 25 different mammals ranging from mule deer and javelina to coyotes, bobcats and even mountain lions.
There are more than 35 species of reptile and amphibian life, such as rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, king snakes, desert tortoises and more.
Birds abound within the preserve with over 128 identified types, such as roadrunners, Gambel’s quail, cactus wrens, cardinals, mourning doves, Harris’s hawks, prairie falcons, vultures, and great horned owls.
Native Cacti, such as the mighty saguaro, cholla, green and red prickly pear, golden barrel and hedgehog thrive within the park. Trees such as acacia, mesquite, ironwood, and palo verde trees provide a home for the birds.
It is a place where humans can observe and enjoy mountain peaks that soar to 4,000 feet.
You can travel along deep canyons and wind-swept passes, marvel at distinctive boulder outcroppings, and photograph red and gray weathered granite mountains and quartz hills.
Look closely and you will find a host of Archaeological sites with petroglyphs, projectile points, pottery sherds and other evidence of ancient peoples that came before the farmers and ranchers.
All of this under an umbrella of majestic blue skies.
Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve is another of Scottsdale’s not so hidden treasures.