holbert trail to dobbins lookout phoenix

The best sunset spot in Phoenix is located in the South Mountain Park and Preserve. This is a very accessible spot as you can either hike to this location or drive. As an adventurer myself, I will always suggest taking the road less traveled. In this case, that is the trail leading up to the fantastic views. Hiking the Holbert trail to Dobbins Lookout is something the whole family can do and thoroughly enjoy. It is a great way to cap off the trip to this part of Arizona.

In this guide, I will go over the details you need to tackle Holbert Trail on your own and what it looks like to view Phoenix from Dobbins Lookout.

holbert trail to dobbins lookout phoenix

Where is Dobbins Lookout Located?

Located just south of Downtown Phoenix in the South Mountain Park is Dobbins Lookout. Depending on traffic, this is around a 30 to 35-minute drive to the lookout. If you are driving to the trailhead to Holbert trail instead, then that is only a 20-minute drive.

This trail can be very easy for some but depending on the time of year that you do this hike, the heat can be a factor.

How Long Does it Take to Hike the Holbert Trail to Dobbins Lookout?

For the average hiker, it will take a little over 2 hours to do this hike in its entirety. It is an out & back trail that starts off very flat and as you get closer to Dobbins lookout, the elevation climbs. Take your time as it isn’t too long of a hike and enjoying it is the most important part.

We were in a rush the make it for sunset, so we didn’t give ourselves enough time to take in our surroundings. This is a beautiful area, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to take it all in.

holbert trail phoenix

Phoenix to Holbert Trail

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 Piestewa Peak Trailhead below.

Directions to Holbert Trail

Head South on S 7th Ave for 5 miles until you reach W Baseline Rd. Take a left here then take a right on S Central Ave.

Stay on here for a couple of miles as you head into the park. Take a left S Phoenix Mountain Park and follow signs to the Holbert Trailhead.

holbert trail dobbins lookout phoenix

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.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Scottsdale

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.

Other Hikes in Phoenix You’d Love:

holbert trail to dobbins lookout phoenix

Holbert Trail to Dobbins Lookout 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 hours to finish. This depends on your fitness level and the time of the year as well as which trail you take.
  • 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 997 feet.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.

If you want more information on this hike as well as to read reviews then check out Alltrails.

My Suggested Hiking Gear

Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear I bring 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.

My Experience Hiking Holbert Trail to Dobbins Lookout

My favorite time to hike, especially to the top of a lookout, is either sunrise or sunset. We had been in Arizona for around 6 weeks now and still haven’t seen either. After those 6 weeks, enough was enough. We researched good sunset spots in Phoenix and we finally found Dobbins Lookout.

We wanted to hike this so we found Holbert Trail and decided to take this route up instead of driving. Doing this makes the sunset that much more magical.

Arriving at the Trailhead

I wasn’t sure what to expect but when we arrived at South Mountain Park, it was much bigger than we thought. There are many different hikes that you can do here but taking Holbert Trail to Dobbins Lookout is the most popular for sunset.

We arrived at a parking lot and the trailhead was literally right across from our parking spot. This was great. Getting right into the action.

holbert trail phoenix

The Sunset Mission on Holbert Trail

As I mentioned before, Holbert Trail starts out pretty flat for the most part. Around half a mile in, the elevation starts to increase but nothing major. Around 10% elevation grade increase.

We were in a rush because we chose last minute to do this hike for sunset. We weren’t even sure if we’d make it up in time. Unfortunately, that meant we would not get much time to take a break and enjoy the scenery.

With about half a mile to go until we reached the top, the elevation starts to pick up. You know when this part is as you have to take a slightly different trail upwards towards Dobbins Lookout. Overall still nothing too crazy but take your time if need be.

holbert trail to dobbins lookout phoenix
holbert trail

Dobbins Lookout Sunset

When we arrived at Dobbins Lookout people were shocked that we just hiked 2 miles up the mountain to reach there. The place was packed and plenty of cars filled the parking lot. We didn’t care that we could have driven up here. The hike was great and the weather was absolutely perfect on this day.

We had our celebratory candy bar at the top and watched the sunset. We’re so mesmerized by the sunset and the color of the sky that we almost leave too late before the park closes.

We still had another 2 miles back down to our parking lot. For the last 15 minutes of the hike on Holbert Trail we had to use our headlamps but overall was a very easy trail to complete.

holbert trail to dobbins lookout phoenix

Other Activities to do in Scottsdale, AZ

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 on Hiking Holbert Trail to Dobbins Lookout

The trail was in perfect condition as always and the weather was primed for a great hike. From every angle throughout the hike, we were getting great colors. The cactuses were putting on a photo shoot for us. Overall I really enjoyed taking Holbert Trail up to Dobbins lookout for sunset. I’d highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area. It is a really great cap to the trip.

Thank you for reading my guide on Holbert Trail to Dobbins Lookout! I hope this guide helps you plan your trip to the Phoenix area.

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