We might be a little biased, but we’ve always thought that the city of Scottsdale is surrounded by some of the most beautiful wilderness in all of America. Unfortunately, visitors often miss out on the stunning vistas, the unique wildlife and the gorgeous sunsets, and all because their Arizona vacation rentals are so cozy. Hey, we understand. That desert heat makes it hard to leave the AC behind. But our advice is to drink up the scenery when you vacation in AZ, because you just can’t get it back home. Start with these parks, all within shouting distance of the Phoenix metro area, to see what makes life in Scottsdale so extraordinary.city of scottsdale piestewa

  1. Piestewa Peak Recreation Area. Climbing Piestewa Peak itself is a bit of a workout – but if you want to give it a go, the summit trail is just 2.5 miles round-trip, and you’ll gain over a thousand feet in elevation. If a more relaxed hike is your thing, there are miles of other trails to explore. You can wander through the Sonoran Desert and check out the wildlife at your own pace, enjoying the awesome vistas. Oh, and it’s all less than 10 miles from downtown Phoenix.

  1. Thunderbird Conservation Park. Nature lovers won’t want to miss Thunderbird Conservation Park, which sits on almost 1,200 acres of pristine desert land on the outskirts of Glendale. Multiple trail options make it a great destination for recreational hikers or bikers, but there are also numerous picnic tables, bird-watching opportunities and scenic viewpoints. Thunderbird is jam-packed with animals, including jackrabbits, mule deer, bobcats, desert tortoises and roadrunners.

  1. McDowell Mountain Regional Park. One of the best spots for mountain biking is just to the east of the city of Scottsdale. McDowell Mountain Regional Park features over 50 miles of multi-use trail that you can access via bike, horseback or on foot, and three loops are designed expressly for competitive mountain biking. Hikers can view the McDowell Mountains and the Verde River from all sorts of vantage points, and if you like camping, you can do that too.

We have two important tips for enjoying any of the parks near the city of Scottsdale. First, make sure to bring plenty of extra water and to stay hydrated – it’s important, especially during the summer. Second, watch out for potentially dangerous wildlife, especially rattlesnakes. Don’t worry about leaving the safety of our Arizona vacation rentals, though – a walking stick should be enough to deal with any pesky critters. It’ll give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy the outdoors when you vacation in AZ!