Sunrise Peak is a lesser summit of the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale, Arizona. However, it features an excellent trail to its top, with beautiful Sonoran Desert flora such as the saguaro and cholla cactus, ocotillo, palo verde and spotty scrub grasses, and lovely views from the summit. The one-way hike is just under 2 miles with about 1,140 feet of net gain (about 1,250 when the ups and downs are accounted for). It's a popular "locals" peak used for training. Although homes abut the range in places, the hike has a nice wilderness feel to it.
Sunrise Peak as seen from the trailhead.
The trailhead is at the end of Via Linda Drive in east Scottsdale, not far from the Fountain Hills city limits. From the Loop-101 freeway in Scottsdale, take Shea Boulevard east about 2.5 miles to Via Linda. Go left and follow Via Linda north and east about 6 miles to its end at some gates leading to a development. A trailhead is immediately to the left, with room for about 20 vehicles. Overflow parking is a quarter-mile south on the right. Navigation is very easy.
Beautiful Sonoran Desert scenery.
None. The trailhead is closed at night, and hikers discouraged to hike at night due to the proximity to some homes.
No camping here.
Looking down from the high saddle.
External LinksTrip Report (www.surgent.net)
McDowell Mountains Regional Park
Panorama looking east.
The Hiking Route
Follow the trail northeast into a canyon, and stay on the trail as it slowly rises above the canyon floor. Sunrise Peak's summit is directly ahead of you, rising above the headwall.
After 1.2 miles, the trail achieves a scenic overlook. The summit is another 0.8 miles farther on. You'll come to a saddle just right of the summit, and from here, follow a side trail to the top.
The hiking is easy and fun, and good enough for a good workout. This is a good peak to hike if in town for business and you don't have a whole lot of time. Fast hikers take about 90 minutes round trip. Two hours is common for most people.
The views are fantastic. Four Peaks in the Mazatzal Range is seen northwest, and the jumble of peaks in the Goldfield, Usery and Superstition Mountains rise east. Weaver's Needle may be seen just left of the Superstition massif.
People hike the peak all year, but in summer, the heat can be oppressive. If you still are motivated, get a very early start, take lots of water, and monitor yourself. Despite being within Scottsdale city limits, I found that my cell phone had no reception for long segments of the hike.
Panorama looking north, with Thompson, McDowell and East End.