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Ultimate Guide to the Best Views in Phoenix & Scottsdale, AZ

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A scenic view of Camelback Mountain in Arizona during sunset. The reddish-brown rock formations of the mountain are bathed in warm sunlight, casting long shadows. In the foreground, there are lush green trees and several white and beige houses with Mediterranean-style architecture. The contrast between the natural landscape and the residential area creates a picturesque and serene atmosphere.

Ultimate Guide to the Best Views in Phoenix & Scottsdale, AZ

Local Info | June 26, 2024 | SWSS Staff

Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, are a hidden haven for anyone seeking stunning landscapes and breathtaking vistas. From vibrant cityscapes to the majestic beauty of the Sonoran Desert, these cities offer some of the best desert views you’ll ever experience.

Whether you’re an avid photographer, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply someone who loves a good scenic drive and amazing views — we’ve got you covered below with the best views in Phoenix and Scottsdale!

Top Scenic Views in Phoenix 

Dobbins Lookout

A panoramic view of Dobbins Lookout in Phoenix, Arizona. The lookout is a rustic stone structure with several arched openings, situated on a rocky, elevated terrain. The area around the lookout is covered with sparse desert vegetation and rocky outcrops.

Perched on the top of South Mountain Preserve, Dobbins Lookout offers some of Arizona’s most beautiful views. As you drive up this winding desert road, the city gradually unfolds below you, creating a breathtaking mix of urban and natural landscapes.

The lookout itself is incredibly accessible by car, with parking available nearby. We recommend heading up around sunrise or sunset to see the Valley of the Sun at its best — bathed in rich orange and pink hues. A large golden compass inlaid into the rock points to specific, nearby destinations like the Superstition Mountains and other Scottsdale hotspots.

In addition, you can find several old Pueblo homes at South Mountain Preserve, including “Scorpio Gulch,” which is still well-intact on the mountainside, adding to this fantastic view.

Camelback Mountain

As the name suggests, Camelback Mountain is well known for resembling nonother than a camel’s hump and is a true icon in the city of Phoenix. It is a favorite desert landscape for photographers and hikers alike. It is often featured in local and national nature magazines for its various desert plants. 

Echo Canyon Trail, one of the best hikes in Scottsdale and Phoenix, snakes steeply up Camelback Mountain and boasts stunning 360-degree views. If you’re looking for a nice view and don’t mind a challenging hike, you can see the entire city and desert stretched out before you, bathed in a golden, sun-kissed glow. Remember to bring plenty of water, proper trail shoes, and a hat if you plan to hike — it can get rather hot midday.

Papago Park

A scenic view of Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona, during sunset. The park features distinctive red sandstone formations, prominently displayed against the colorful sky with hues of orange, yellow, and purple. In the foreground, lush greenery and tall palm trees surround a small body of water, reflecting the twilight sky. The landscape includes scattered lights from the park and nearby areas, adding a touch of urban life to the natural beauty.

Papago Park is a hidden oasis in the heart of Phoenix. It is particularly famous for its unique red rock formations and the iconic Hole-in-the-Rock viewpoint.

Families and photographers alike love Papago Park’s unique and sweeping views of the city and desert. The park itself is relatively flat, perfect for a day of leisure, and easily accessible by car. There is plenty of parking nearby, but we recommend arriving early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the crowds.

Papago Park is only twelve minutes from Downtown Phoenix and is near popular family-friendly attractions in Scottsdale and Phoenix, like the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden.

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Top Scenic Views in Scottsdale

Pinnacle Peak Park

Pinnacle Peak Park is a must if you’re looking for the best views in Scottsdale by car. The trailhead is easily accessible by car, and while the hike to the top is moderate to strenuous — the views are worth it! From the top of the summit, you’ll get a panoramic view of the Sonoran Desert, dotted with saguaro cacti and rugged mountains. 

We’d recommend viewing the peak either early morning or late afternoon as it offers the most dramatic lighting and the coolest temperatures. 

McDowell Sonoran Preserve

A breathtaking view of McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona, at sunrise. The sun rises over the horizon, casting a golden glow across the rugged landscape. The scene features a variety of cacti, including tall saguaros, and desert vegetation scattered among rocky hills and valleys. The sky is partly cloudy, with the sunlight filtering through, creating a dramatic and beautiful play of light and shadows. The vast expanse of the desert extends into the distance, with rolling hills and mountain ranges silhouetted against the dawn sky.

The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is an incredibly vast space that offers a variety of scenic viewpoints and some of the best outdoor activities in Scottsdale, from hiking to mountain biking.

All the trailheads at McDowell Sonoran Preserve are easily accessible by car, making it a great option to explore multiple trails in one day! We recommend seeing the breathtaking preserve in the spring when the wildflowers are in full bloom. This is one of the best things to do during spring break in Scottsdale!

Tom’s Thumb Trailhead

Tom’s Thumb Trailhead is known for its unique rock formations and dramatic, thumb-shaped granite peak, an iconic Scottsdale landmark.

Located in the McDowell Mountains, the trail is accessible by car and leads to a moderately challenging 4.0-mile hike through wildflowers and rock formations. In addition to the thumb-shaped landmark, you’ll also come across the popular “Mushroom Rock.”

Scenic Drives for Best Views

Apache Trail (AZ-88)

A scenic view along the Apache Trail (AZ-88) in Arizona, showcasing the rugged desert landscape. The foreground features a variety of desert vegetation, including tall saguaro cacti and shrubs, spread across rolling hills. In the middle distance, a serene lake winds through the mountainous terrain, surrounded by steep, rocky cliffs. The sky is partly cloudy, with dramatic clouds casting shadows over the landscape, enhancing the natural beauty of the scene. The mountainous backdrop provides a sense of vastness and ruggedness characteristic of the Arizona wilderness.

The Apache Trail offers some of the most spectacular views in Scottsdale. This historic route winds through the Superstition Mountains, providing breathtaking desert and canyon views. You’ll traverse Canyon Lake and Fish Creek Hill and see a remnant of the Old West — Tortilla Flat. This historic town has a population of only six people!

The trail is an age-old route that offers adventurers and sightseers alike an unforgettable experience filled with historic and natural beauty. 

Desert Foothills Scenic Drive

This drive boasts a serene escape through the foothills of the McDowell Mountains, showcasing the pristine beauty of Scottsdale’s desert valley floor. You can see a variety of fauna and flora, including saguaro cacti, palo verde trees, and (if you’re lucky) some desert wildlife. 

There are also informative signs that provide insight into the conservation efforts being made to preserve the gorgeous desert botanical garden.

Tips for Enjoying the Best Views in Scottsdale and Phoenix

  • Best Times to Visit — Early mornings and late afternoons boast cooler temperatures than midday, making them the perfect time to soak up the best views in Scottsdale.
  • Photography Tips — We recommend bringing a tripod for steady shots, especially during dawn and dusk. You can also use a wide-angle lens or a “panoramic view” on your smartphone to capture the true vastness of each desert landscape. 
  • Safety Tips — Bring plenty of water, apply sunscreen frequently, and always let someone know where you’ll be if you plan to hike. In addition, bring proper hiking gear, including adequate boots and sun protection.  

Soak Up the Desert Views on a Luxurious Getaway with Stay With Style Scottsdale

Phoenix and Scottsdale offer a rich tapestry of scenic views, from panoramic cityscapes and towering mountains to serene desert landscapes. So pack your camera, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to explore the best views in Phoenix and great views of Scottsdale by car and on foot!

Ready to experience these breathtaking vistas firsthand? Book your stay with Stay with Style Scottsdale to make the most of your visit. Our luxurious properties provide the perfect base for your Scottsdale adventure. Explore our Scottsdale properties here, and contact us with questions.

We look forward to hosting you!

Book Your Next Vacation in Scottsdale

Find your perfect getaway with unparalleled luxury in Scottsdale! Choose from our premier rental properties and secure your spot for an indulgent Arizona retreat.

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