In the heart of the lush Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale, Arizona is a vibrant cosmopolitan city steeped in history and teeming with endless possibilities for outdoor adventure.

If you have never been to the area before, you may be surprised to learn that unlike most deserts, the Sonoran is a verdant oasis bursting with wildlife and vegetation year-round. Beyond its unique ecology, the desert holds a wealth of human history, including prehistoric ruins, Native American cultural sites and plenty of Western legends and lore.

Today, visitors can celebrate this rich heritage by walking in the footsteps of the great Hohokam Indians, experiencing the land as the cowboys did, and losing themselves in the natural splendor that has enchanted mankind for hundreds of years.

Start your adventure by heading out on some of the area’s most popular mountain biking, hiking and backpacking trails in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Wander along miles of paths while enjoying spectacular scenic vistas and an up-close-and-personal look at the desert’s exotic flora and fauna. Camelback Mountain is another popular hiking hotspot in the Valley of the Sun. Whether you discover this landmark at your own pace, or let a guide lead the way, this masterpiece of sandstone and granite is a great workout and one of the area’s do-not-miss destinations.

Way beyond the limits of sparkling resort pools, get out and discover the Sonoran Desert’s lakes, streams, and rivers. The sublime contrast of Arizona’s year-round warmth to the invigorating coolness of the coursing rivers make for the ideal environment to be spirited away on a brand new adventure. Surrounded by 360 degrees of spectacular scenic sights, you’ll enjoy some of the best rafting, fishing, kayaking and canoeing in the country.

What better way to appreciate the enormity of the desert than to take in the sights from a bird’s eye view? Climb aboard a hot air balloon and experience a tranquil and enthralling journey, or kick things up a notch and buckle up for a power chute ride or go rock climbing on local favorites like Tom’s Thumb and Pinnacle Peak.

Give your weary feet a break, and explore the outback in style! Imagine an action-packed day whipping around the desert in the back of a Jeep, on an electric bike, or on top of a rumbling ATV. With the warm desert air running through your hair, sit back and listen as one of Scottsdale’s animated guides tells you captivating tales of the Old West.

For the ultimate Western adventure, get in touch with your inner cowboy at the Arizona Cowboy College. This authentic working cattle ranch offers an unbelievable first-hand opportunity to learn the ropes of horsemanship and experience a four-day cattle drive in the rugged and untamed wilderness.
For help planning your adventure to Scottsdale, visit the website and check out a list of Scottdale’s adventure tour operators.