Bajada Nature Trail (pronounced "buh-hah-duh") is a wonderful half-mile interpretive loop close to the Sabina Recreation Visitor Center in McDowell Sonoran Preserve. With no elevation gain, plenty of signage to help you identify all of the desert flora, and ADA accessibility, this is an excellent hike for anyone. Wildflowers bloom seasonally, but many desert plants are lively year round.
Bajada Nature Trail is also an excellent place to birdwatch. Cactus wren, hummingbirds, and gila woodpeckers are everywhere in the preserve, but you may even be lucky enough to spot turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, greater roadrunners, and much more. Keep your eyes open and feet light! Lizards and snakes can be seen, too.
The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy works with the City of Scottsdale to protect the preserve for daily use today and for future generations. There are over 182 miles of trails to bike and hike in over 30,580 acres. Six hundred and fifty volunteers work hard year round to make sure this preserve stays protected, informative and family friendly. Weekly events offer opportunities for visitors to learn more about the preserve and all of their desert surroundings.
The conservancy was started as a grassroots organization in 1991 and has continued to grow ever since. All of its funding comes from donors. Although it's located in an urban setting, the science-based stewardship has done an incredible job at immersing you in nature just minutes from town. They even offer narrated hikes, bike tours, and equestrian outings. This area is definitely worth a spontaneous day trip, or you can plan ahead and take an equestrian tour!