Hiking Pinnacle Peak Park

In all the years I've been going to Arizona, I never once went hiking. Our trips were always all about baseball. Oh and that one year we went to the dog races. But that story is for another day. This was my first trip to Arizona with the Pacific Northwest relatives, who are avid hikers. I am not a hiker but I wanted to try it! So my Aunty Delta and I scoured a list of popular hikes and settled on Pinnacle Peak Park in Scottsdale.

Now one of my biggest fears is being stuck in the middle of nowhere on a ledge with no one else around. But my aunt had hiked this trail before and promised me that it wasn't a difficult hike, and it was well populated.

We drove to North Scottsdale and could see Pinnacle Peak from the freeway. While my aunt had hiked it before, she didn't quite remember the exact way to get to the trailhead so we used Google Maps. Sadly Google Maps failed and led us to a gated community at the base of the mountain. We drove around for about 20-min until we found the road that took us to the start of the trail.

{Note: If you're planning on hiking this trail, from Pima Rd, drive up Dynamite Blvd toward the mountain. You'll eventually see signs that will direct you to the parking lot where the trail begins.}

Just before the parking lot, a mini “ghost town” of shops and cafes greeted us.
Just before the parking lot, a mini “ghost town” of shops and cafes greeted us.

When we finally arrived, I looked up and felt a little overwhelmed. We were about to climb to the top!

Pinnacle Peak Park
Pinnacle Peak Park

As we started, I noticed how really well cared for the trail was. The dirt was smooth and very runner-friendly. I assumed it was a popular running trail when I saw this sign:

Pinnacle Peak Park
Pinnacle Peak Park

So we ran off and on in the beginning of the hike:

Pinnacle Peak Park
Pinnacle Peak Park
I can't believe I got a photo of BOTH of my aunt's feet OFF the ground!
I can't believe I got a photo of BOTH of my aunt's feet OFF the ground!

As we climbed, we were treated to stunning views of the valley...

View from Pinnacle Peak
View from Pinnacle Peak

...and the trail became less runnable (for me) ...

Pinnacle Peak Park
Pinnacle Peak Park

...although there was one girl who passed us THREE times running at full speed. She was my hero that day.

Once we reached the summit...

Pinnacle Peak
Pinnacle Peak

...we headed back down on the other side of the mountain. It was longer and more challenging with more steps and turns.

We reached the end of the trail in a little under an hour. Not bad considering we took our time and stopped for water/shade breaks and photo ops along the way.

The end of Pinnacle Peak trail
The end of Pinnacle Peak trail

Now that I knew what the entire trail was like, I wasn't looking forward to heading back and doing it all over again. But the views and foliage were stunning and worth it!

A cactus garden!
A cactus garden!

By now it was later in the day and the sun was out in full force. I could feel the rays beating down on me. We took a lot more water breaks and this time, celebrated when we reached the summit again!

We finished the 3.57-mile hike in 1 hr and 49 min. I wore my Garmin so I could see what the elevation was like and to get a snapshot of the trail

Garmin map of Pinnacle Peak Park hike
Garmin map of Pinnacle Peak Park hike
Garmin data of Pinnacle Peak Park elevation
Garmin data of Pinnacle Peak Park elevation

I was so glad we picked this hike. It is a very doable hike for just about anyone. The trail is well cared for, and populated enough where I never felt isolated. There is also an office at the start of the trailhead with restrooms and water fountains. I plan on hiking this again on future visits!

So now that I'm into hiking (it's such a great cross-training activity!), any favorite hikes to recommend?