Plan Your Visit

Know Before You Go

The Preserve has well-marked trails for your enjoyment.

Water, hat, and good shoes this hiker came prepared.

Know Before You Go

Hiking in the desert is fun when you follow a few desert tips. To ensure an enjoyable, safe, desert hiking experience that you will remember for a lifetime, please get to know the McDowell Sonoran Preserve before your visit.

  • The Preserve contains over 180 miles of trails. Learn trail distances and difficulty, major trail intersections, and Preserve access points. It's a great idea to grab one of our maps.  The trail maps for the three regions are available at the trailheads. 
  • While in the Preserve you will see numbered trail markers that, in case of an emergency, can help rescuers find you.
  • Please wear appropriate shoes-- many of our mountain area trails are uneven and rocky.
  • Wear a hat and sunblock. The desert sun can be intense, even in winter.
  • Bring WATER! The desert environment is very dry and hot.  Don't let yourself become dehydrated.
  • If you are hiking alone, make sure someone knows where you may be going. 
  • Take a working cell phone.  Cell phone access is available on most of the Preserve. You may, however, have to walk to a higher elevation to get a cell.
  • Dogs on leashes are welcome in the Preserve. Take dog waste-removal bags with you; they are provided at most trailheads.  Don't forget to take water for your dog as well.