Dog-Friendly Hikes in Phoenix and Scottsdale

August 29, 2023

Phoenix and Scottsdale in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area are the perfect paradise for pet parents looking to explore the great outdoors with their four-legged friends. Not only do these regions offer breathtaking views of the Sonoran desert, they also boast an abundance of dog friendly hikes that guarantee an exciting day out. For those with an adventurous spirit, we've put together a guide to some of the best hikes in Phoenix and Scottsdale that are both pet-friendly and awesome!

Dog-Friendly Hikes in Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is home to some of the most beautiful and exhilarating dog friendly trails in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area. There are plenty of opportunities for pet parents and their pups to explore the area's stunning trails together. Here are the top dog friendly hiking trails in Phoenix listed in alphabetical order.

A couple jogging with their dog in the desert.

Beverly Canyon Trail

  • Address: S. 46th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85044
  • Type of Hike: 2.4 miles out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 298 ft.
  • Leash Required: Off-leash dogs permitted in some areas
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate

The Beverly Canyon Trail is a moderate, 2.4-mile route located in the South Mountain Park and Preserve in Phoenix. It's a great way to enjoy some dog friendly hiking with your pup while taking in the stunning views of the desert. The trail is quite rocky and takes around an hour to complete. Some areas allow off-leash dogs, so your pup can enjoy a little freedom. The best times to visit this trail are sunrise and sunset as temperatures tend to get quite hot during the day. There’s no shade or water available on this hike, so make sure you bring plenty of water for both you and your pup!

Butler's Pass Trail

  • Address: 1534 E. South Fork Drive, Phoenix, AZ 85048
  • Type of Hike: 1.2-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 150 ft.
  • Leash Required: Off-leash dogs permitted in some areas
  • Hike Difficulty: Easy

Nestled in the Foothills area of Phoenix, Butler's Pass Trail is a treat for both dogs and pet parents alike. This is one of the easy hikes in Phoenix that promises panoramic views of the desert. Even in the hot Arizona sun, the journey is rewarding! Though the trail welcomes all dogs, the narrow path is more suitable for smaller pups. As with many Phoenix hiking trails, early morning or late afternoon visits are ideal, especially during the hotter months. 

Make sure you're carrying enough water and snacks — and perhaps a first-aid kit, just in case. This trail is also popular among birdwatchers, so don't forget your binoculars if you're inclined towards some avian observation.

Charles M. Christiansen Trail Loop

  • Address: 11646 North 22nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85028
  • Type of Hike: 1.7-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 288 ft.
  • Leash Required: Off-leash dogs permitted in some areas
  • Hike Difficulty: Easy

This 1.7-mile loop is one of the best hikes near Phoenix for those looking to enjoy a short jaunt with their dog. Although an easy hike with a modest elevation gain, it promises a scenic journey filled with stunning views, wildflowers, and occasional wildlife sightings. The trail is not only frequented by hikers, but also by mountain bikers and runners, which means it can get busy, so aim for the quieter times of the day for a more peaceful experience. Pups and their parents should be prepared: the trail is rocky and offers little to no shade, so bring water and sun protection! An average trek here takes about 45 minutes, but with the beauty it offers, you might want to explore a little longer.

A woman with a pink hat going hiking with her Poodle mix.

Corona de Loma Trail

  • Address: Warpaint North, Phoenix, AZ 85042
  • Type of Hike: 6.4 miles out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,305 ft.
  • Leash Required: Off-leash dogs permitted in some areas
  • Hike Difficulty: Challenging

The Corona de Loma Trail is a bit of a tough one. It's 6.4 miles out-and-back, with a steep elevation of 1,305 feet. At first, it starts off flat and easy, but don't be fooled. It quickly becomes a steep hike, and even if you're used to hiking around Phoenix, this one will test you. At some points, the hike might feel more like climbing than walking! But all that hard work pays off with some beautiful views.

If you're into bird watching, this is a fantastic spot to do so. Plus, there are certain areas that allow off-leash dogs. It's best to hike this trail from September to June. But a word to the wise: the trail is mostly unshaded, so it gets very sunny.

Deem Hills East Trail

  • Address: 27500 N. 39th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85083
  • Type of Hike: 3.6-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 534 ft.
  • Leash Required: Off-leash dogs permitted in some areas
  • Hike Difficulty: Challenging

Deem Hills East Trail offers a slightly rocky pathway through the Phoenix landscape. As a handful of Phoenix hikes go, this one can also be slightly challenging. But your pup will love the stimulation it offers, from the smell of wildflowers to delightful rock formations. Some notable points: the trail can be a tad confusing, so it's wise to keep an eye on the map. It's mostly exposed, meaning there's little shade. There can be snakes and scorpions, so be alert. Additionally, the trail conditions can vary; if it has rained recently, expect some muddy patches. Despite these challenges, the breathtaking scenery and moments of quiet make it well worth the effort for you and your furry friend. It's the perfect bonding experience!

Desert Tortoise Trail

  • Address: Hawks Nest Trailhead, Hawk's Nest Trail, Phoenix, AZ 85085
  • Type of Hike: 2.8-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 360 ft.
  • Leash Required: Off-leash dogs permitted in some areas
  • Hike Difficulty: Challenging

The Desert Tortoise Trail in Phoenix is one of the better dog friendly hikes if you're up for a little challenge. The climbing starts right from the parking lot and after that, there are a variety of up and down sections. When you hit a fork in the trail, going left means you'll tackle the steepest part first, while going right means you'll hit it later. Halfway through, it's mostly flat until you link up with the Dixie Loop to head back.

Keep in mind there are prickly Cholla cacti close to the trail, and sometimes their bits — called "pears" — fall off and lie right in the path, so keep your pup close and watch your step. What’s more, there isn't much shade, so consider the weather and pack some sunscreen.

Old Man Corona Loop

  • Address: Corona de Loma Trail, Warpaint North, Phoenix, AZ 85042
  • Type of Hike: 6.4-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 1,430 ft.
  • Leash Required: Off-leash dogs permitted in some areas
  • Hike Difficulty: Challenging

The Old Man Corona Loop is one of the more breathtaking Phoenix hiking trails, promising an invigorating experience for both you and your pup. With a total of 6.4 miles to cover, it's a moderately challenging trail that's well worth the effort — particularly if you're seeking solitude. Depending on your pace, it might take around three and a half hours.

Most hikers advise going counterclockwise on this trail, which offers a slightly easier ascent. While it's a dog-friendly trail, ensuring that your pup is close to you is important due to the rocky terrain and the potential for encounters with wildlife. Be on the lookout for tarantula hawks, as they're known to frequent this trail.

A small dog leading the way on a hike.

Pima East Loop

  • Address: Maricopa Trail, Phoenix, AZ 85042
  • Type of Hike: 2.3-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 291 ft.
  • Leash Required: Off-leash in some areas
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate

Compared to some of the other hiking trails for dogs in Phoenix, this is a shorter trek, averaging about an hour for completion. Despite its relative ease, the trail offers moments of challenge, with some visitors suggesting it feels a tad more strenuous than expected.

The best months to visit are from October to April. As you navigate the trail, be ready for sections of rocky terrain, breathtaking views, and a mostly shadeless pathway. There are lots of opportunities for wildlife sightings: Gambel's quail and other desert creatures are common, especially during sunrise. Just make sure you keep your dog close and on a leash. Off-leash dogs are allowed in some areas, but it's always best to keep them from wandering too far so they don’t disturb the fauna.

Shaw Butte Loop

  • Address: Shaw Butte Trailhead, 12898 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85022
  • Type of Hike: 4.5-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 931 ft.
  • Leash Required: Off-leash dogs permitted in some areas
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate

With an average completion time of two and a quarter hours, this loop is regarded as one of the moderate hiking trails in Phoenix. It's a hotspot for bird-watching, hiking, and running, which means you'll likely meet fellow nature aficionados on your journey. Birding enthusiasts in particular will find this trail rewarding.

The loop is open throughout the year and is always a delight to visit. Just be prepared that sections can be a bit rugged — there are some steep inclines, especially when you take the counter-clockwise route. Dog owners are welcome to bring their pets along, but it's important to remember that when temperatures are greater than 100°F, dogs are not allowed on this or any other trails in Phoenix.

South Mountain Hill Loop

  • Address: Corona de Loma Trail, Warpaint North, Phoenix, AZ 85042
  • Type of Hike: 1.7-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 357 ft.
  • Leash Required: Off-leash dogs permitted in some areas
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate

The South Mountain Hill Loop is one of the best hikes Phoenix has to offer if you’re setting off with the whole family. It’s both kid and pup-friendly, boasting picturesque views, especially at the summit, where hikers can catch a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding landscape.

Given its popularity, early morning or late afternoon hikes might provide a more peaceful experience. During your hike, be prepared for a mix of ground conditions, from leaf-strewn paths to rocky terrain. And if you're planning an evening trek, do take note of the sunset times to ensure you're not caught out in the dark.

Sonoran Desert Loop

  • Address: Maricopa County, Phoenix, AZ
  • Type of Hike: 13.9-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 1,620 ft.
  • Leash Required: Off-leash dogs permitted in some areas
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate

Of all the hiking trails in Phoenix, this popular spot offers the most immersive experience in the Sonoran Desert. With breathtaking views and vivid wildflowers, the trail really showcases the unique beauty of this region. The popularity of the trail means that you and your pup might cross paths with mountain bikers. So, keep your dog close and watch out for cyclists!

Given the lack of shade and the often intense desert heat, early morning hikes are recommended, especially during the warmer months. September through April are considered the prime times to visit the Sonoran Desert Loop.

A woman walking up a switchback with her dog.

Two Bit Peak Trail

  • Address: 9200 N. 40th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85028
  • Type of Hike: 2.6 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 879 ft.
  • Leash Required: Off-leash dogs permitted in some areas
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate

When it comes to hiking trails for dogs, many find this out-and-back trail's rocky inclines and switchbacks quite demanding. The hike usually takes an average of an hour and three quarters to complete, so it's a good workout for you and your pup. Thanks to its popularity, expect to see fellow hikers (and their pups) exploring the trail alongside you. Just keep in mind that the trail's slightly challenging terrain might not be ideal for less active dogs.

It's best to set off early, especially during the summer months. At 7:00 am in early July, most of the ascent remains shaded, making the climb more pleasant. Also, watch out for the distinctive blister beetles during the spring season. They excrete a toxin akin to poison ivy which can be harmful to your pet.

Young Man Trail

  • Address: Desert Classic Trail, Phoenix, AZ 85042
  • Type of Hike: 4.3-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 1,056 ft.
  • Leash Required: Off-leash dogs permitted in some areas
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate

The Young Man Trail offers one of the dog friendly hikes in Phoenix that challenges and rewards dogs and humans in equal measure. Just prepare for sections that will get your heart racing! While the initial stretches are flat, the trail quickly takes an uphill turn, making it a good workout. Don't be surprised if you cross paths with mountain bikers and runners, so keep your pup close. You might spot quails, roadrunners, and even the occasional coyote if you're lucky. However, be cautious — some hikers have also reported encounters with rattlesnakes.

The lack of clear signage can be a little confusing, especially for newcomers. As a result, veterans of the trail advise downloading a map or using an app for navigation to avoid getting lost.

Dog-Friendly Hikes in Scottsdale, Arizona

Nestled adjacent to Phoenix, Scottsdale is sometimes thought of as the desert's more upscale and polished neighbor. Known for its luxury resorts, vibrant art scene, and iconic Western flair, Scottsdale also has some stunningly scenic trails that both humans and their canine companions can enjoy together! We’ve put together a list of some of the more dog friendly hikes near Scottsdale so you and your pup can enjoy an active day out.

A woman in workout gear walking with her dog in the desert beside cacti.

Gateway Trailhead

  • Address: 18333 N. Thompson Peak Parkway, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
  • 11.6 miles out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 2,329 ft.
  • Leash Required: Yes
  • Hike Difficulty: Challenging

This ambitious 11.6-mile trail promises an exciting trek for both seasoned hikers and their dogs. Following the Desert Park Trail, you can find an unnamed connector around mile 2.5, which links you to the renowned Tom's Thumb Trail. From there, you can hike towards the upper ridgeline until you reach the Lookout — a viewpoint that's a photographer's dream.

Your pup will enjoy the sights and sounds of the rich flora and fauna, with wildflowers dotting the trail and birds overhead. Just come prepared: this Scottdale hike demands appropriate footwear. Also, make sure you stay hydrated and check on your pet closely.

Indian Spring Wash Trail

  • Address: Arizona's 1st Congressional District, AZ
  • 12.0 miles out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 2,066 ft.
  • Leash Required: Off-leash dogs permitted in some areas
  • Hike Difficulty: Challenging

This Scottsdale hike is a lesser-trafficked gem. Best suited for more seasoned hikers and fitter dogs, the trail provides a peaceful experience away from the crowds. As you hike the wide gravel path leading to the Indian Spring Wash, be prepared to occasionally trek on soft sand, which adds to the trail's challenge!

While exploring with your pup, you'll be treated to distant views of majestic mountains including the stunning Four Peaks. The trail is full of wildflowers — a great opportunity to capture some stunning photographs with your pup. A word to the wise: the parking lot has been reported as closed. Hikers often have to park alongside the road before starting their hike, so watch out for passing traffic.

Wildflowers of different colors in the desert.

Javelina Trail

  • Address: 7900 S. 46th Street Phoenix, AZ 85044
  • 5.8 miles out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 856 ft.
  • Leash Required: Yes
  • Hike Difficulty: Challenging

If you’re hiking in Scottsdale with your pup, this trail is ideal for a rewarding adventure. This is a busy route — it's a favorite spot for horseback riding, mountain biking, walking, and running. Your pup will have plenty to see and do, but you have to make sure to keep them on their leash at all times. Some hikers have mentioned encountering a few confusing trail markers, so having a map or navigation tool can be helpful. There are lots of scorpions on this trail, so be sure to keep an eye out and make sure your pup isn't stepping into any danger!

Although the trail is accessible year-round, the ideal time for a visit is between October and March. Parking can also be a bit of a challenge as the lot has limited spaces, so arriving early or planning for a weekday visit might save you some time.

Lost Dog Wash Trailhead

  • Address: Lost Dog Wash Trailhead, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
  • Type of Hike: 4.1-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 501 ft.
  • Leash Required: Yes
  • Hike Difficulty: Challenging

Rated as moderately challenging, this Scottdale hike takes around an hour and three quarters on average to complete. It sees a fair amount of activity, being a hotspot for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. As such, you can expect to bump into other outdoor enthusiasts on your journey.

This well-maintained trail has some climbs which are manageable but not overly taxing. Just keep in mind it may be too difficult for older dogs. While the trail is accessible throughout the year, the most ideal months for a visit are between September and April. Remember that during the warmer months, this trail can get a bit buggy with gnats and flies! Be sure to also keep an eye out for snakes.

A leashed dog closing its eyes in the bright sun of the desert.

Marcus Landslide Trail

  • Address: 23015 N. 128th Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
  • Type of Hike: 3.8 miles out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 505 ft.
  • Leash Required: Yes
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate

The Marcus Landslide trail is popular for birding, hiking, mountain biking, and even rock climbing. Your pup will love the variety of smells and sights they'll encounter here! As you navigate, interpretive signs narrate the story of a significant landslide from about 500,000 years ago. The trail's terrain is mostly simple, except for the concluding loop that demands a bit of a climb. Make sure your dog can handle some steep inclines if you're aiming to do the full route!

The views are another standout, but keep an eye on the ground, too. The plant life and wildflowers are particularly vibrant between October and March! Be warned: while the trek is beautiful, it also brings a few pesky companions in the form of bugs. This means that visiting during the cooler months might be more enjoyable.

Sunrise Trail

  • Address: Water Fountain, N. 145th Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85259
  • Type of Hike: 4.9 miles point-to-point
  • Elevation Gain: 1,128 ft.
  • Leash Required: Yes
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate

The Sunrise Trail is one of the many dog friendly trails near Fountain Hills, Arizona. This 4.9-mile point-to-point path is moderately challenging, requiring an average time of two and three quarter hours to navigate. Although it can get busy at times, there's still a good chance you and your dog will find some peace during the less bustling hours.

The ascent might test your fitness levels, but once you reach Sunrise Peak, you'll be rewarded with views of Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, and beyond. Just make sure your pup can handle the steep inclines and rocky terrain that comes with the route. And remember, if you're planning to complete the entire trail, make sure your transportation is sorted since the end of the trail is different from the starting point. Dogs are welcome but you have to keep them leashed for their safety and the safety of others.

Tom’s Thumb Trailhead

  • Address: 23015 N. 128th Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
  • Type of Hike: 4 miles out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,217 ft.
  • Leash Required: Yes
  • Hike Difficulty: Challenging

This four-mile out-and-back trail offers a more demanding dog friendly hiking experience, generally taking an average of two and a half hours to finish. It's best suited for experienced hikers and energetic pups. As you ascend, you'll get to enjoy stunning views of the southern McDowell Mountains and urban Phoenix. From wildflowers to unique rock formations, this trail is full of stimulating sights and smells for your dog to enjoy. But tread with caution, as the trail can be rocky with limited shade. What’s more, there's no water fountain at the trailhead. So, make sure you carry ample hydration, especially if you're hiking during hotter months. And remember to keep your pup on a leash!

Groom Your Pup After a Day of Hiking in Arizona

After a busy day of dog-friendly hiking in Arizona, your pup deserves a pampering session to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Don't let the desert dust linger! Book an appointment with Barkbus today and let our professional groomers give your dog the post-hike TLC they deserve.


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