McDowell Mountain RP – Feb 2017

The real story about McDowell Mountain Regional Park is the beauty. Yes, there are a boatload of things to do here, miles and miles of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback trails. Since the park borders Scottsdale and is only 20 miles north of Phoenix, there are tons of other activities you can partake in. But again, the key to this park is the beauty.

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I know I have posted about McDowell previously in 2015 and 2016, but this place deserves the mention. The campground is terrific, has water and electricity, and most sites have fabulous views.

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We had our share of wildlife as well. Right within the campground, in fact, right within our site, we saw a pack of coyotes out looking for a little mid-day snack.

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We hiked and biked a number of times during our stay. From the campground we hiked a 7.1 mile hike on the Scenic Trail, which was just that. By the way, there are a slew of trails that can be accessed right from the campground.

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Views from the Scenic Trail

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We also hiked the Bluff Trail, which was for us a 5.5 mile hike, which as you hike up you are facing into the McDowell Mountain Range, and behind you, on the other side of the Rio Verde basin you look into the mountains of the Tonto National Forest.

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Views from the Bluff Trail

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On another day I grabbed my bike and camera gear because there was work being done on the Tom’s Thumb Trail – the trail was actually closed because they were using a helicopter to ferry in boulders to shore up the trail. McDowell shares a border with the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve on the Rock Knob Trail, and the views up there are spectacular as well.

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Rock Knob Trail

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But I mentioned beauty. We had spectacular sunsets, beautiful rainbows, and just stunning views.

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While we were here we had two days of rain. Yes, rain! One night it rained steadily all night, and we were under a flash flood warning. We saw no flash floods, but I was amazed to see that much rain fall in the desert. The valley in some places looks so lush you could mistake it for a golf course.

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I mentioned this park is located close to Scottsdale and Phoenix, and we did go out, on the suggestion of some new Airstream friends we met here, and visited the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). I will post separately about that, but suffice it to say you want to go there! Stay tuned!

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