I will begrudgingly admit that I didn’t think Arizona was going to be very cool. Call me closed-minded, but for some reason my expectations weren’t that high. Turns out I was in for a big surprise: I loved it!!
Between landscapes that look like the moon and the pervasive old-western heritage, a tourist in Scottsdale is pretty much a regular ol’ space cowboy. (cue Steve Miller)
During my time in Scottsdale I went on two amazing hikes and explored the Old Town neighborhood!
Toms Thumb (pictured above):
Toms’ Thumb is an incredible desert mountain that seems to pop up out of nowhere. It’s a 6.3 mile out-and-back trail. It’s a steep hike up, but the views are worth it! Standing at the top made me think about the geography of the Western United States and how the pioneers managed to wander through it. Hiking in AZ during the winter is COLD in the morning. It’s a good idea to wait until it warms up a little bit towards mid-morning.
Go John Trail at Cave Creek Regional Park
This hike was my first experience getting up close to big cacti. They’re soo weeeird!!! I wanted to put little googly eyes and lips on them so that it looks like they’re waving at you as you hike through the canyon. This hike is a 5.7 mile loop near Cave Creek with rolling ups and downs. It was definitely my favorite of the two hikes!
Old Town Scottsdale
Walking around Old Town Scottsdale feels a bit like walking around a theme park. The stores mostly consist of cowboy boots, southwestern knick-knacks, and Mexican food. (Fantastic Mexican food, I might add!). My family and I had a beautiful lunch at a restaurant called The Mission. I highly recommend it :)
Now that I have family in this area, I can’t wait to go back and visit! Please leave a comment below if you’ve explored Scottsdale, AZ and have any more recommendations!