Take Your Pick From Pinnacle’s Wide Range Of Casino Games – The beautiful Sonoran Desert in Scottsdale is known for its scenic nature walks, but if you’re an avid hiker looking to get your heart rate up and the scenery up, prepare to sweat. These challenging fitness walks offer a workout where more than just the scenery will take your breath away.
Before doing any of the hikes below, read the section on wilderness hiking safety and know your limits. These challenging trails are only for experienced hikers in good health.
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You’ll share the trail with other hikers on this local favorite, but it’s good company for about four miles of switchbacks, climbs, and iconic scenery dotted with saguaros and granite cliffs. Let your heart race as you reach the trail’s highest point at 2,889 feet and admire the pinnacle-shaped peak of the mountain in the distance. After going around the back, stop at the Grandview site for a panoramic view with markers of the surrounding formations, and continue along the easily accessible section for a glimpse of the distant Camel Mountain. As you approach the steep descent of the trail, remember that you will be returning the same way, and what goes down must come back! Despite the moderate difficulty, the trail can be extended by jogging or trail running, just remember to give way to hikers.
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Located in the pristine McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, this destination peak is the perfect two-hour hustle and bustle to get to the top. The trail begins in a beautiful valley of ocotillos and desert scrub before ending at a series of lookouts. Hikers can stop and catch their breath at the scenic 1.2-mile Sunrise View, then buckle up for 0.8 miles of twisty turns through a gorgeous saguaro forest (and don’t forget to look behind you at the rocky and rolling hills as you climb). The last stop before the summit is a large waterfall and a chance to enjoy the breeze before climbing a quarter of a mile to the summit for views in all directions.
If you like a challenge with a big scenic reward, the popular Tom’s Thumb Trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale is your choice for a photogenic and exciting climb. Take the switchbacks at the start of this 4-mile out-and-back trail and marvel at the height you gain above the expanse below. After reaching the spur, you can admire the views of the playful landscape of strange granite boulders. The trail is well-marked and easy to walk to the formation of the same name, a tall, jutting “thumb” of rock that’s perfect for photos. You might even see rock climbers on the Big Toe or the steep ridge of Gardener’s Wall nearby. Depending on how long you rest at the top, you can go up and down in two hours.
The summit is the goal of this grueling round trip, totaling 4.4 miles. The steep primitive trail begins with a gradual ascent above the Cave Creek Native Area, where saguaros, chollas, and ocotillos watch your march to the summit. After a hard struggle, you will find yourself at a point with a bird’s-eye view of the north. But there is more to come! Keep a close eye out for the American flag in the distance that marks the end of the trail, and be careful stepping on the shale rocks that make up the trail. While you’re taking a well-deserved rest, you’ll see many other Scottsdale features from the top, including Pinnacle Peak and Mount McDowell. Plan on 1 to 2 hours depending on your pace.
The sunny Sonoran desert is full of beauty and invites exploration, but even the most ardent and fit hiker must be aware of and prepare for the desert’s unique demands. Hydration is crucial, and for any of the above hikes where you can expect to be outside for around two hours, you’ll need at least a liter of water per person. A gallon is even better. Don’t hike when the temperature is above 90°F/32°C, and stay within your limits when planning challenging hikes. Always carry a fully charged mobile phone with you. Find out before you go with our summer hiking safety guide. The Pinnacles Volcanic Formation was formed approximately 23 million years ago. But only in January 2013, this area was designated a national park, becoming the youngest in the state of California. Pinnacles National Park gets its name from the tall dome-shaped rocks that appear to protrude from the ground. Located just east of the Salinas Valley, it’s the perfect place to enjoy natural wonders that still seem a little off the beaten path.
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On the east side you can find a quiet camp all year round. (The park has east and west entrances that are not connected.) Reserve a spot and bring gear or park your RV – RV spaces are available. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit, and many are surrounded by oak trees for shade and privacy. Fall asleep under the stars and wake up to birds singing and deer drinking from the nearby canal.
Score, plug and jump on one of Westside’s many routes. At this end of the park, the cliffs are higher, the routes are more difficult, and the smooth volcanic breccia is more flexible than normal granite, making it a better choice for experienced climbers. Beginners can book a trip with a group, such as Adventure Out, which offers weekend adventures for all skill levels.
California condors are the park’s signature birds. With a nine-foot wingspan and a completely bald head, these impressive creatures are hard to miss. Bring your binoculars and watch for these prehistoric scavengers, as well as nearly 200 different species, including vultures, hawks, golden eagles and peregrine falcons.
Continue on this accessible yet adventurous 1.5 mile hike. You’ll feel like Indiana Jones as you walk through two separate cave trails. Insider Tip: Bring a flashlight to navigate the rocky, unlit trails.
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This mile-long round-trip hike takes visitors up 377 feet to Bear Gulch Reservoir. Towering volcanic structures line the trail, which includes several easy-to-navigate caves. The convenient location and short distance make it a great choice for children.
California’s newest national park is home to cliffs, cliffs and cave formations formed by an ancient volcano. Earthquakes and earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault carried volcanic rocks from the eruption, actually 200 miles to the southeast, to their current home here in the Salinas Valley. Now, millions of years later, the place is a visual and physical wonder. Follow the torch beam as you explore the twisting caves. Crane your neck to watch climbers scale rocky peaks. Scan the skies for California condors and stroll among spring wildflowers. During the summer, temperatures can exceed 37°C during the day, but at night countless stars twinkle in the cool night sky.
Pinnacles National Park is divided into two sides, east and west, and it is impossible to drive through the park from one side to the other (although you can do it on foot, about 5 miles).
The west side can be accessed from Highway 101 near the town of Soledad. Head east on Highway 146 to the park entrance. There is a small tourist center, but no lodging or camping. The west gate remains open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. m. until 8:00 p.m. m. You can leave after 20:00. m., but you can’t drive in by car. The east entrance off Highway 25 about 30 miles south of Hollister is open 24/7. There are campgrounds, a visitor center, and a camping store.
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The Pinnacles Caves are not at all like the limestone caves found in many places in the United States. Technically, these are not caves at all. Over thousands of years, flowing water slowly eroded the deep, narrow chasms between the giant rocks of the Peak. Huge pieces of these rocks crumbled, broke off and fell into the abyss. Sometimes these rocks were too big to fit inside, so they got trapped, forming a “roof” and creating these rock tunnels known as scree caves.
The park has two sets of these caves open to visitors. The Balcony Caves on the west side of the park remain open year-round except during heavy winter rains (call ahead to check status). Bear Gulch Caves on the east side of the park are sometimes closed to protect Townsend’s long-eared bats, which live and raise their young (usually from mid-May to mid-July, when the caves are usually closed). Check the status in advance.
No matter where you want to explore, you won’t need caving skills, but bring your sense of adventure. Once inside, turn on your headlamp (or the light on your cell phone), then slip through narrow gaps, dive under ledges, and twist through narrow corridors. Listen and see if you notice your fellow visitors uttering the common refrain, “Wow, it’s dark in here.” Yes
The most exciting hike in the park is the hike to the High Peaks, a series of jagged peaks that can be seen for miles. The highest of the High Peaks is located at 2,
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