Hiking Pinnacle Peak Trail in Scottsdale
Scottsdale is a booming town located right outside of Phoenix, Arizona. This is a unique area because of its location in a desert climate. You will see cactuses everywhere and I personally love that. There are plenty of hikes to do in this area that range in difficulty from easy to hard. Pinnacle Peak trail is one of those easier hikes in my opinion and a great starting point when looking for things to do in the area.
While hiking the Pinnacle peak trail in Scottsdale, you will be able to get it all with minimal effort. It is a decent length of a hike but only a small fraction of it is steep. There are great views from multiple sections of the hike that will showcase some of the amazing golf courses this place has to offer.
Where is the Pinnacle Peak hike?
Located slightly Northeast of downtown Scottsdale, the parking lot is only a 30-minute drive away. This makes it an easy day trip and something that will only take up part of your day. Hiking the Pinnacle peak trail can be very easy for some but depending on what time of the year you do it, the heat can be a factor.
How Long Does It Take to Hike Pinnacle Peak?
This greatly depends on your level of fitness and the time of year you hike. The average time to complete this out & back trail is around 2 hours. The heat can play a huge factor in this as well as hiking Pinnacle peak in the summer is not recommended.
Phoenix to Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale
Downtown Phoenix has a lot to offer like plenty of restaurants and big events like watching an MLB game at the Arizona Diamondbacks stadium. If you are staying here then I will give the detailed directions to Pinnacle Peak below.
Directions to Pinnacle Peak Trailhead
From downtown Phoenix, you will want to make your way to AZ-51. From here merge North for the next 20 miles. Depending on traffic, this will take you around 19 minutes.
You will then take exit 35 to merge east on AZ-101. After this, hit N Pima Rd heading north and then take a right on E Happy Valley Rd. Take a left on N Alma School Rd and the parking lot will be right before a gated community.
Best Places to Stay in Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale, as well as the Phoenix area, has really grown in popularity over the last handful of years. This is also becoming a hotspot for vacations and bachelorette parties. I loved it here and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed either.
- Fairmount Scottsdale Princess: If you’re looking for a romantic getaway with your loved one, this is the place for you.
- Holiday Inn Express: This is your traditional hotel at a good price. Breakfast is included.
- Scottsdale Plaza Resort & Villas: If you want a mixture of decently priced and a resort, then this is the top place.
Best Time of the Year to Visit Scottsdale Arizona
The best time to visit Scottsdale and the surrounding areas of Phoenix in Arizona is either in the Spring or Fall months. This is when the temperatures are much cooler. If you were to go in the summer, then you could see temps get as high as 120 degrees.
If you want to enjoy your vacation then I suggest going in October. That has been my favorite month of my time living here.
My Suggested Hiking Gear
Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear that I bring with me everywhere. Everything below is something I currently use and never leave my house without.
- KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots: I finally upgraded my hiking boots in 2022 and these are fantastic. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable.
- Petzl Tikka Headlamp: A headlamp for hiking is a must if you’re like me and love sunrise hikes. This is a great price for a quality headlamp and also has a good red light to not disturb others in the morning.
- Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: I originally got these as a present but I had to buy more because these are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever tried on.
- Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: You will never have to rebuy plastic water bottles. This is the best water filtering device on the market. It is excellent for hikers and travelers alike.
Pinnacle Peak Hike Details
- Distance: This hike is around a 4-mile out & back trail. This varies slightly depending on if you do the entire hike or not.
- Duration: On average it will take people 2 – 2.5 hours to finish. This depends on fitness level and the time of the year.
- Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate because of the length, slight elevation gain, and potential heat.
- Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 1,033 feet.
- Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
If you want to read more about this hike as well as reviews, then check it out on Alltrails.
My Experience Hiking Pinnacle Peak Trail in Scottsdale, AZ
This was the first hike that we did when we arrived in Scottsdale. It is a great beginner hike to the area, especially if you’re gearing up for a hike like Camelback Mountain.
These hikes will help you get prepared for multiple trails in Sedona such as Devil’s Bridge and Cathedral Rock.
Below I will go over my experience of hiking the Pinnacle Peak trail in Scottsdale, AZ.
Arriving at the Pinnacle Peak parking lot
When we first arrived, I thought you weren’t going to be able to do the hike. There is a gated community right at the trailhead. I thought you we had to go through the gate but the parking lot is on your left.
It was a very hot September day and there were signs warning people to be careful in the heat. There isn’t much cover if any at all on the entire trail, so do what you can.
How difficult is the Pinnacle Peak Trail
Overall, I would rate this hike as moderate for most and easy for a handful of hikers. There isn’t a long stretch of elevation gain while we were walking. At first, I thought we were hiking up to Pinnacle Peak but instead, we were hiking around it.
The trail is very well marked and kept up with. The trail is long but only with some gradual steep sections.
Around the 1/2 mile marker, you will see start to see good views of the surrounding area and community.
Strenuous Beyond This Point
About halfway through the hike, there is a sign that says “Strenuous beyond this point”. The way the sign is facing, made it seem like the area coming up was going to be difficult but it wasn’t at all. Mainly downhill.
On the way back up during this part, it became a little strenuous but this section doesn’t last very long.
Overall this hike is a very nice walk and I can only imagine it is better if we came a month later with less heat.
Pinnacle Peak Wildlife
Depending on the time of year you go, you will have the chance to see plenty of wildlife. We saw many lizards and birds as we hiked the trail.
I was keeping my eye out for some scorpions but I have yet to see any in Arizona so far.
There have been many reports of people seeing rattlesnakes along many hikes in Scottsdale but I have not seen any of those as well.
Other Activities to do in Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale has blown up in tourism over the last handful of years. It is currently ranked as a top destination in the country for bachelorette parties. With that being said, there is still something in the area for everyone. If I’m not hiking, then the hot air balloon flight with champagne would be a top choice of mine. Below are some highly ranked activities in the area of Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Final Thoughts About Hiking Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale, AZ
If you are looking for something challenging, then this might not be for you. With that being said, I believe everyone would thoroughly enjoy this hike because of the natural beauty of the surrounding area. Use this hike as a warm-up for all the other trails in the area and beyond.
Thank you for reading my guide about hiking Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale, AZ. I hope this information will help you plan your trip to this area.