Looking for fun things to do outdoors in Scottsdale?

May is the ideal month to hike in Scottsdale. Pink, yellow and purple wildflowers and flowering cactus abound. Did you know scientific studies show that those who take time to interact with nature have a higher quality of life? Arizonans love to head out, especially this time of year, to hike and bike their beautiful state.

One of the most spectacular Scottsdale hiking and biking destinations is The McDowell Sonoran Preserve  stretched across 14,000 scenic acres in north Scottsdale. There are several entry points to this wonderful walking and bicycling trail, but most folks flock to the trailhead at 104th Street and McDowell Mountain Ranch Road. It’s easy to spot…you’ll see a paved lot just east of Desert Canyon Elementary School.

Most hikers enjoy spotting wildlife. If you’re lucky, you may see a gecko lizard, squirrels, deer, or a desert tortoise. Four desert trees spot the desert landscape: Paloverde, mesquite, acacia, and ironwood. And visitors especially enjoy seeing the towering saguaro cacti, prevalent in The McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Here are some important Arizona tips for hiking Arizona trails:

Wear good hiking shoes, ideally with ankle support

Wear sunscreen

Wear a sunhat

Bring plenty of water

Leave time to return before dusk

Check to see that your car has a sound battery, hoses, spare tire, spare fan belts, and sufficient gas. Always have extra radiator water.

Keep a lookout above – to the sky for a storm. Flash flooding can occur in a wash area

If you’re at it alone, let someone know where you’re hiking, when you began, and when you’re expected back.

If you have questions, members of the City of Scottsdale’s Outdoor Recreation Division can be reached at (480) 312-7957, or visit the official McDowell Mountains Hiking Web site www.maricopa.gov/parks/mcdowell