Hiking the Trail
The architect Frank Lloyd Wright built his winter home in the Scottsdale area on a property now adjacent to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Hikers aren’t actually close enough to enter Taliesin West at the Taliesin overlook (and entry into the Taliesin West estate is on the other side on Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd and Cactus Rd.), but the spot offers some magnificent views towards Frank Lloyd Wright’s well chosen location and over the valley to the west.
The trail is a perfect choice for hikers wanting a little more distance without adding too much uphill effort. Take the gently rolling Lost Dog Wash trail to the north, passing a turnoff for the Ringtail trail on the right. When the path meets the Old Jeep Trail, keep left to stay on the Lost Dog Wash trail, and continue north-westward until you meet the short Taliesin Overlook spur on your left. A short walk from there takes you to the views. To get back to the trailhead parking lot, reverse your steps exactly.
For an overview of the Preserve and location of all trailheads, see the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Trailhead Map.
Trail Statistics and GPS
|Total Distance||4 miles|
|Configuration||Out and back|
|Elevation at Trailhead||1755 feet|
|Highest Elevation||2083 feet|
|Total Elevation Gain||357 feet|
|Trail and Trail Surface||Well maintained and signed, wide trail, dirt, loose and embedded rock, occasional unevenness|
|Facilities||Water, restrooms, shade pavilion, map, parking, horse trailer parking|
|Location of Trailhead||12601 N. 124th Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85259|
|GPS Coordinates Files: click to download||GPX KML GeoJSON|
Most of the trails starting from the Lost Dog Wash area are fairly gently undulating. However, there are a few more strenuous hikes in terms of elevation gain starting from that trailhead, and if you aren’t careful about your trail navigation, you could end up hiking a harder trail or longer distance than originally planned.
With that in mind, always be prepared when hiking in the desert. Be aware that even in cooler temperatures, dehydration can occur. For a full discussion, read hiking safely in the desert – but here are a few quick tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:
- Bring plenty of water. As a rule of thumb, take one liter per anticipated hour of hiking.
- Assess the trail you will be attempting to hike, and have a general idea of where you’re going. Grab a map online or at the trailhead (if available – usually they are at Lost Dog Wash), or use your GPS device.
- Hike with a friend or group. There are many hiking groups in the greater Phoenix area – including Early Rise Hikers!
- If you are hiking on your own, let someone know where you’ve gone, and take a cell phone.
- During the warmer months, hike during the cooler hours of the day to avoid dehydration and heatstroke.
- Stay on the trail. This is the best way to avoid encountering snakes.
- When encountering any animal, give the animal space. Do not attempt a wildlife selfie!
The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy is a fount of information on all aspects of the Preserve. You can access static information on their website as well as find out about events and volunteer education sessions. The Conservancy also announces discovery hikes, wellness hikes, and education sessions held at the Mustang Library on the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Meetup site.