Hiking in Pinnacle Peak Park
Discover the beauty and secrets of the desert landscape on the trail at Pinnacle Peak near Scottsdale, Arizona.
Hiking Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale, Arizona, is as close as I’ve ever gotten to entering a real-world cartoon landscape: The cacti were multi-armed monsters; the boulders defied gravity, perched on pinnacles at crazy tilts; and as the sun came up, the desert blazed with crimson, ginger and putty. Everything seemed so exaggerated and peculiar, at least to my lake-and-pine-forest Canadian sensibility. From the highest point of the trail, my companions and I caught our breath and surveyed the valley below. We saw protected desert with a forest of cacti, a golf course and some houses, and in the distance the undulating hazy-blue silhouette of iconic Camelback Mountain.
The trailhead of Pinnacle Peak Park is a 10-minute walk from Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. It’s a moderately challenging 2.8-kilometre track that takes about 90-minutes roundtrip. Along the way, markers flag some of the flora of the Sonoran Desert. Banana yucca. Desert ironwood. Succulent ocotillo.
Things we learned:
• Cholla cactus bites (sort of).
• Snakes don’t come out when it’s cold.
• Saguaro cactus starts its life sheltered under the leaves of other plants.
• The Concierge was right to insist we take an extra bottle of water despite the cool morning.
The trail is free and the Concierge can provide a map. But you might want to sign up for one of the new Desert Preservation hikes. Working with the city of Scottsdale, Four Seasons can arrange a two-hour hike with a park interpreter. When you’re done, you’ll plant a cactus in the park—a baby saguaro, perhaps, or a prickly pear.
It’ll be your small contribution in helping this bizarre and fascinating landscape stay surreal.
For information, contact the Resort Concierge.