Pinnacle Peak: Relaxing walk or slightly sketchy climb

Not too short, not too long, not too easy, not too hard, good footing, great views, fantastic people watching and a unique place to grab a drink when you're done. That's Pinnacle Peak.

Depending on what you're doing Pinnacle Peak is either a 2,889 or 3,169 foot mountain located in Scottsdale, Arizona. The difference in height is because Pinncale Peak is....well....a peak and if you have the gear, knowledge and ability it's possible to rock climb to the very top.


Pinnacle Peak's trailhead is located in Pinnacle Peak Park. There you'll find plenty of parking and really great facilities. From the trailhead it's a 1/2 mile hike to the summit on a well maintained switch back trail.


A lot of people stop at the summit but if you keep going there's lots more to see. Numerous varieties of cacti, lots of tiny lizards, a couple of snakes and even coyotes and mountain lions have been spotted by hikers.

After the summit the trail dips behind the mountain for another 1.25 miles of relaxing walking.There's really no hard parts until you get to the last quarter mile or so. There the trail gets steeper and more "stairlike." Even that is manageable though and overall I'd say hiking the entire 3.5 mile out-and-back trail is at the difficult end of easy.

If you're feeling really adventurous Pinnacle Peak has 3 main rock climbing areas; Y-Crack, Pinnacle Peak and Cactus flower. Excellent granite routes come in both the sport and trad variety, but be warned, all are more than a little hard for the grade. More here.

Overall, there's really nothing awe inspiring about Pinnacle Peak. Yes, there's beautiful views; but the real beauty of this hike is it's simplicity. You just drive right up, start hiking and within minutes you're enjoying the outdoors on a nice peaceful hike. 

Directions. Pinnacle Peak is located at 26802 N 102nd Way in Scottsdale, Arizona. The drive takes about 45 minutes from Downtown Phoenix but it's nice. Trailhead hours can vary but usually open from sunrise to sunset.

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Oh....and about that drink. Just outside of Pinnacle Peak Park is Pinnacle Peak Patio and SteakhouseIt's a little pricey but a cool place with a great tradition of cutting off the tie of anyone who comes in looking too fancy.