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Pinnacle Peak

Pinnacle Peak is a prominent landmark in North Scottsdale. The city park consists of approximately 150 acres and wraps around two mountains. The hike is 1.75 miles each way — 3.5 miles roundtrip. The most challenging parts are the steep hills and switchbacks at the beginning and end of the trail. The number of ups and downs in the trail are sure to provide a good workout. For those who want to enjoy the views and the scenery, Grandview Point and Owl's Rest (about 1 mile in) make excellent turn around points.

The trail is one of the better ones in the Phoenix area. A lot of work has gone into making this a nice, well-maintained trail. In addition to hiking or jogging, the park offers some excellent displays and rock-climbing activities.

The trail begins a slow climb and then ascends some switchbacks before leveling out and heading northwest. The trail then makes a 180 degree turn as it curves around the north face of Pinnacle Peak before reaching Grandview lookout. The trail reaches its highest point (2,889 ft.) shortly after leaving Grandview Lookout, and then descends to Owl's Rest, a scenic lookout on the east side of Pinnacle Peak. Owls' Rest is 0.9 of a mile from the start of the trailhead and is an excellent turn-around point. The view from Owl's nest is definitely worth the hike. After Owl's rest, the trail descends a series of switchbacks before reaching a saddle between the two mountains.

The trail then proceeds to climb the second mountain, and soon reaches its second crest at 2,725 ft., and then levels out before beginning its final descent. The steepest part of the ascent/descent is located here, so just remember you will have to climb back up the hill after the descent. Some people don't consider the non-spectacular view and ho-hum trail ending point worth the climb back up these last switchbacks. The trail drops 400 ft in a short distance to the end of the trail at the park boundaries on Jomax. Hikers should return the way they came, since Parking and street access is not permitted through the private properties surrounding the Pinnacle Peak Park. The highest point on the trail is 2,889 ft. The lowest point on the trail is 2,366 ft.

The park has a visitor's center and nicely posted interpretive signs along the trail assist in identifying plants and landmarks in the area. The park closes at dusk. The City of Scottsdale and others have done an excellent job in preserving natural spaces and showing off some of the best that the desert has to offer. You can find Scottsdale's Pinnacle Peak website here.

Climate: Keep in mind this is the Sonoran Desert. Temperatures easily exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit (or 43 degrees Celsius) in the summer, so only very early morning would be advisable in the summer, although it can still be quite hot at 5:00 am. The best time for this hike is in the fall, winter, and spring months. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, and other animals are active. Watch for lightning storms. It is highly recommended that hikers carry sufficient water.

Location: 26802 N. 102nd Way (North Scottsdale) The trail is well used. Facilities in the area include electricity, restrooms, tables, and parking spaces.


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