Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,502.00 ft (457.81 m)
Trail type
6.10 mi (9.82 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Nestled in the heart of the picturesque McDowell Sonoran Preserve, the Sunrise Trail starts from the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead in Scottsdale, Arizona, and offers enchanting views of the mountains. This hike provides a scenic challenge as the trail climbs over 1,500 feet to the summit. This trail is a wonderful chance to get to explore the preserve. 

The hike begins at the well-maintained Lost Dog Wash Trailhead, where ample parking and clean restroom facilities set the tone for the trail. The Sunrise Trail begins with a gradual ascent, providing hikers with a diverse range of desert flora and fauna along the way.

Once hikers leave the trailhead, they will follow along the Lost Dog Wash until the first junction at 0.2 miles and then take a right to the Sunrise Trail.  Hikers will continue to follow the signs to the Sunrise Summit. 

The well-defined path, maintained by the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, showcases the delicate balance of nature in the Sonoran Desert. Unique cacti, including saguaros and chollas, line the trail, and the occasional sightings of wildlife, such as jackrabbits and desert birds, add to the allure of the hike.

The last tenth of a mile to the summit is the steepest part of the trail and hikers will need to ensure their footing as they make the final approach.  Once hikers reach the summit, they will be greeted with a 360-degree view showcasing the sprawling beauty of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

For hikers wanting a memorable experience they should set off to see the sunrise. Early risers are in for a treat as the trail lives up to its promise, offering breathtaking views of the sunrise against the rugged McDowell Mountains. The soft hues of pink and orange illuminate the desert landscape, casting long shadows and creating a magical ambiance that words can hardly capture.


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Views of the McDowell Mountains.


Crowded. No Shade.

Trailhead Elevation

1,741.00 ft (530.66 m)

Highest point

3,052.00 ft (930.25 m)


Potable water
Flushing toilets
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

McDowell Mountain Regional Park
Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona


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