10 Best Parks in Scottsdale
Whether you like clean, manicured public parks with plenty of recreation spaces, unique parks with family-friendly activities, like train rides, or rugged nature parks perfect for hiking, biking, and exploring—Scottsdale has the ideal park for you!
Read through this list of the best parks in Scottsdale to find the perfect place to soak up the sunshine during your desert vacation.
1. McDowell Mountain Ranch Park & Aquatic Center
If you’re looking for the best park to visit during the summer in Scottsdale, look no further than the McDowell Mountain Ranch Park & Aquatic Center.
This 35-acre park features tons of aquatic activities, like a 600-foot-long lazy river, an eight-lane lap pool, four diving boards, a large tube water slide, a splash pad for kids, and more. The park also has a skate park, soccer field, ball fields, and even shaded, grassy picnic areas.
2. Pinnacle Peak Park
Rather than the open green space that comes to mind for most parks, Pinnacle Peak Park allows visitors to encounter the rugged beauty of the desert.
This popular park is home to a few of Scottsdale’s most challenging hiking trails, including the Pinnacle Peak Trail, a two-mile hike with an elevation gain of nearly 1,300 feet. From the top, you can enjoy sweeping views of North Scottsdale!
Experienced rock climbers can also boulder at three designated rock climbing areas separate from the hiking trails at this desert park.
3. Chaparral Park and Community Center
Chaparral Park is one of Scottsdale’s largest public parks and most popular locations for running, walking, biking, and more.
Visitors will enjoy the park’s full basketball court, three soccer fields, two grass volleyball courts, sand volleyball courts, a multi-station exercise court, an off-leash dog park, and other amenities. You can even go boating or fishing at the ten-acre lake at the center of the park!
4. Xeriscape Garden
Looking for a more affordable alternative to the Desert Botanical Garden? If so, head to Xeriscape Garden—a local treasure along the eastern edge of Chaparral Park.
Here, you’ll find thousands of indigenous desert plants on display in a six-acre garden that includes a walking path for easy access. And the best part? It’s completely free!
5. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
If you’re searching for one of the best kid-friendly spots in Scottsdale, look no further than McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park—one of the city’s most popular public parks.
This family-oriented park includes train and carousel rides on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad and the Allan Herchell Vintage Carousel. You can also tour the Scottsdale Railroad Train Museum and Model Railroad Building or get ice cream and other treats from Hartley’s General Store.
6. McDowell Sonoran Preserve
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is one of Scottsdale’s best parks for those who enjoy hiking and mountain bike riding. This 30,000-acre desert preserve has over 100 miles of free trails.
This gorgeous preserve is a great place to soak up the desert’s natural beauty. Some of this park’s most popular places to hike include Tom’s Thumb Trailhead, Brown’s Ranch Trailhead, and Gateway Trailhead.
7. Civic Center Mall
If you love parks with a “livable city” feel, you’ll adore the Civic Center Mall, nestled in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale.
This spacious area is home to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and popular dining and nightlife establishments. Citywide events, like the Scottsdale Arts Festival, take place in this open space each year.
8. Scottsdale Sports Complex
The Scottsdale Sports Complex is one of the city’s top-rated sports facilities to accommodate tournament-level playing conditions. It’s also one of the most popular public parks in the city—even for those who aren’t athletes!
Here, you’ll find ten fields, including four international-sized fields, well-lit basketball courts, and shaded play areas to accommodate regional tournament play. However, you don’t have to be a sports lover to enjoy the state-of-the-art amenities at this public sports complex.
9. George “Doc” Cavalliere Park
The George Cavalliere Park is one of the newest Scottsdale parks that seamlessly blends urban elegance with the desert landscape.
You can find a short hiking trail, basketball courts, covered picnic tables, and more. If you’re lucky, you’ll also be able to spot local wildlife, like quail, lizards, and cottontail rabbits, while you’re here. It’s also a great place to see the wildflowers that bloom during the spring!
10. El Dorado Park
As one of the largest municipal parks in Scottsdale, El Dorado Park offers a little bit of everything, with plenty of green space, two lakes, drop-in picnic areas, and plenty of recreational space.
You can organize a team to play on the three lighted softball fields or lighted sand volleyball court, or simply hang out at the swimming pool or skate park. Children will enjoy the shaded playground with rock climbing, swings, and more fun add-ons. You can also reserve a ramada at the park to host birthday parties and other events.
Find the Perfect Place to Stay for Your Scottsdale Vacation
Planning an upcoming vacation to Scottsdale? When you’re not exploring the city’s parks, come back to a spacious, luxurious vacation rental with a resort-style backyard.
Many of our vacation rentals come with fun backyard amenities, like heated swimming pools, basketball courts, mini-golf courses, ping-pong tables, and more, so you can enjoy a miniature park all to yourself!
Browse our selection of vacation rentals to find the perfect fit for your Scottsdale getaway.