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Hiking Pinnacle Peak Trail in Scottsdale – Does It Worth It?

pinnacle peak mountain scottsdale

Hiking Lenght: 3.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 2,889 feet

Hiking Time: < 2 hours

When we arrived in Phoenix, Arizona, to research what trails we wanted to recommend, one of the first places our team set out to hike was near Scottsdale (about 45 minutes from Phoenix).

We’d heard good things from the locals about the area and wanted to try the Pinnacle Peak Trail based on several recommendations.

As we typically do when we visit a new area, we decided to start with a moderate hike to build our enthusiasm and put us in the right mindset for the rest of the trip.

Our visit to Pinnacle Peak Mountain did not disappoint. 

Please note, when researching this area online, do not confuse Pinnacle Peak Trail in Arizona with the Pinnacle Peak located in Mount Ranier National Park in Washington State. 

Here we share everything we experienced on this popular trail and give you tips to help you enjoy it during your own visit. 

Good workout this morning! Pretty strenuous hills, definitely walk with water. Earlier morning would probably be better when it’s not as hot.

Meagan Anderson, Pro Hiker

Where is Pinnacle Peak Trail? 

pinnacle peak mountain starting point

You’ll find the Pinnacle Peak Trail within the Pinnacle Peak Park in Scottsdale, Arizona. From Phoenix, you must get there by car. No options exist for public transportation. 

Take the I-10 East to AZ-51 and AZ-101 to Scottsdale. Take Exit 36 for Princess Drive/Pima Road.

Continue down N Pima Road until you reach E Jomax Road. Turn right on E Jomax Road, and you will see the entrance to the park. 

The address for Pinnacle Peak Park is 26802 N.102nd Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85262.

Pinnacle Peak Trailhead 

You will find the Pinnacle Peak Trailhead in the large paved parking area once you arrive at Pinnacle Peak Park. 

A trailhead office there provides a variety of informational materials about the area, including recently seen wildlife.

The trailhead also has restrooms, drinking fountains, and four shaded picnic tables. The start of the trail is well-marked with a sign.  

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Hike?

Expect the trail to take you an average of 1.5 to 2.0 hours. Always consider your physical fitness and that you might move at a slower pace during the heat of summer.

Hikers who prefer to stop and rest along the way should allow more time as well. 

Trail Description 

This moderately challenging 3.5-mile out-and-back trail will take you on a vigorous up and down climb to an elevation of 2889 feet before continuing with more up and down distance to the trail’s end.

Although you do not actually reach the summit of Pinnacle Peak Mountain, you’ll see impressive views at that high elevation point. 

Note before you head there that you cannot bring dogs on this trail and that biking is also not allowed. 

We visited on a Saturday mid-morning, and the parking lot already had a lot of cars, although we did find a spot without too much trouble.

Pinnacle Peak View
Pinnacle Peak View – Courtesy of Al_HikesAZ @ Flickr

Recently, the park earmarked some funds to expand the parking lot from its existing 85 to 300 spaces, so visitors should not experience any issues in the near future. 

We filled our water bottles at the trailhead and set out on the trail. The path was smooth and well-marked, and we encountered numerous people going in either direction, including some joggers and trail runners. 

Even though this trail is not exactly considered a wilderness trail (several expensive gated neighborhoods surround the area), the scenery along the way makes you forget that fact.

You’ll soon find yourself looking around for all kinds of wildlife. 

We admired the giant saguaro cacti along the way and caught sight of a Whiptail lizard and some beautiful birds. Visitors can come across many different types of wildlife at any given time here. 

Possible sightings include, but are not limited to, gamble quail, antelope, road runners, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, and mule deer.

pinnacle peak in scottsdale, arizona
Courtesy of Andy Blackledge @ Flickr

In addition, you may encounter rattlesnakes, especially during the summer months.   

You will reach the trail’s highest elevation just before the 0.75-mile mark (less than halfway through the hike). Here, we took in the beautiful view of the desert, mountains, and Scottsdale area.

You’ll see many of the area’s golf courses and exquisite houses down below. 

Some hikers head back from this point, but we continued the rest of the way, which takes you another mile and a bit further west on the backside of the mountain.  

At the end of the 1.75 miles, the trail dead-ends with a fence indicating that you cannot go any further. The hike back to the parking lot was equally as scenic, providing a different perspective of the view. 

We all agreed it was a great start to hiking in Phoenix, Arizona, and we couldn’t wait to do more. 

More hikes nearby:

When is the Best Time to Hike It?

Although you can hike the trail all year long, the best time to hike it is in the early spring or late fall. During the summer months, temperatures can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If hiking in the summer, plan your hike as early in the day as possible. 

Our Recommendations

Here are some recommendations to make your Pinnacle Peak hike as smooth as possible. 

  • Bring enough water—park officials recommend at least a quart of water per person to make the hike. 
  • Wear good hiking shoes—you do not need particular shoes for this hike, but we do recommend boots or shoes with good tread to help prevent slips and falls, especially if the rocks are wet from the rain. Consider reading our guide about flat feet hiking shoes with arch support to see some selections that we’ve tried and tested ourselves. 
  • If you didn’t bring enough food for the hike, consider stopping at one of the many restaurants in the Pinnacle area.
  • An access trail for the actual peak of Pinnacle Peak Mountain exists at the end of the Pinnacle Peak hiking trail. However, it is a technical rock climbing trail, and only experienced rock climbers are allowed.

    Hikers cannot continue on this part of the trail. You must contact the park office for permission if you meet these requirements.


Is a Parking Pass Needed?

No, you do not need a special pass to park in the Pinnacle Peak Park parking area. 

How Hard Is Pinnacle Peak?

The Pinnacle Peak hiking trail is moderately difficult for most hikers, although some may consider it more challenging. However, it is less challenging than Camelback Mountain or Piestewa Peak. 

What Is There to Do in Pinnacle Peak Park? 

Aside from the hike, you can participate in various other activities at the park, including full moon hikes, astronomy evenings, and wildlife programs.

How Tall is Pinnacle Peak, Arizona? 

The granite summit of Pinnacle Peak Mountain in Arizona is 2,889 feet high. However, the highest point that hikers can reach on the Pinnacle Peak trail is 2889 feet in elevation.