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North Loop-McDowell Mountain Park

Four peaks as seen from the North Loop trail
Old Saguaro on the North Loop trail
Hiker on the North Loop trail
North Loop trail
North Loop trail
Map: North Loop trail
Elevation plot: North Loop trail


How to Get There
This hike is located Phoenix, AZ.

In the Phoenix area, take state HWY-87 towards Payson. Turn left onto Shea Blvd into Fountain Hills. From Shea Blvd turn right onto Fountain Hills Blvd. This will turn into McDowell Mountain Road. Make a left at the signed entrance to McDowell Mountain Park. After paying your $5 (as of Feb-2007) continue on the main park road (McDowell Mountain Park Drive) about 5 miles, following the signs for the North Loop Trailhead. You will turn left at Asher View Drive and park in the Palo Verde Picnic area.
fountain hills
Phoenix Area and Central Arizona

Hike details

2.90 [Miles] Total
Hike Distance- Details
About 2.9 miles for the loop.
0.80 [Hours]
It took me 50 minutes to complete the loop.
Elevation Change
70 Total gain/loss [Feet]
Elevation Details
Not much. We estimated about 70 ft elevation change.
Hike Trail Type


Best Season
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • October
  • November
  • December
Worst Season
  • July
  • August
Date Hike completed
April 22, 2013


Solitude Details
Surprisingly excellent. I didn't see another hiker on a lovely sunny winter day.


Difficulty Rating
difficulty detail
The best part about this hike is it's proximity to the Phoenix area. This trail is Easy.


Be Aware of
$5 fee to enter McDowell Mountain Regional Park (as of Feb-2007)

Hike the North Loop in McDowell Mountain Park near Phoenix, Arizona.

From the well signed trailhead, walk about 200 yards to the intersection that starts the loop. It doesn't matter which way you go, as there is little elevation change on this well defined trail. We went counter-clockwise, so this write up describes that. There are plenty of healthy Saguaros here, along with all your other favorite Sonoran desert cacti.

Stay left at the first signed trail junction (JCT 1L on the map) with the Verde trail. Stay left again at the second signed trail junction (JCT 2L on the map) with the Chuparosa trail.

This is a nice hike for it's proximity to the Phoenix area, as well as it's solitude. On a lovely, Sunday winter day in February I had this hike all to  myself. My solitude experience may not be typical. This is a quiet place to enjoy an all too brief stroll in the desert. The North Loop trail would be a good place for beginning hikers and out of town visitors.


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