I have been going to Scottsdale, AZ with my family every year for the past 5 years. Being the super active family we are, it is the perfect vacation. We hike every day! This area of the country is so gorgeous. Mountains, cacti, and succulents. My heaven. It’s such a peaceful place for me and brings me so much joy. I always look forward to visiting.
December has been a great time of the year to visit for us. It is typically 50s and 60s which is perfect for hiking. This year, we hit 70s every day and had tons of sun! We were lucky for sure 🙂 Below I am going to list my top hikes and healthy restaurants! If you ever go – this list is a great place to start. Note – I stay in North Scottsdale, so most of my recos are from that area.
Some of these I went to on this trip, some I went to in previous years and some are still on my bucket list.
Kale and Clover – Great fast-casual spot for delish bowls, salads, and smoothies. I recommend the Thai bowl or the superfood salad.
True Food Kitchen – I cannot go to a city with True Food Kitchen and not go. It is incredible. Healthy foodie heaven. The roasted heirloom carrots were to die for. We also had the fish tacos and the ancient grains bowl (both amazing).
Sumo Maya – This place is super fun! It is a fusion spot with both Mexican and Japanese fare. Great atmosphere and lots of healthy options!
Fresh Mint – This is a vegan spot that specialized in Asian style cuisine. Think your fave Chinese restaurant, but vegan. We more than cleared our plates at this place! So good! The beef literally tastes like beef – it’s amazing.
The Mission – Amazing latin inspired food. There are two locations – one in old Scottsdale (super fun there) and one in Kierland Commons area.
Herb Box – Farm to table spot. Super fresh and delish!
North Italia – fresh Italian spot with a great atmosphere and amazing food. The perfect place to indulge in a pizza or burrata salad!
Proof Canteen – This is a gorgeous rustic modern eatery that has a lot of healthy options (and non-healthy). If you feel like indulging (which I did) they homemade ice cream and you can order candy the 1/2 pound! (It is located in the Four Seasons resort but is not over the top)
Other spots I have yet to check out: Grassroots Kitchen, Spiga Cucina, FnB, Farm and Craft.
Brown’s Ranch Trailhead – medium difficulty with some technical terrain. The top of the mountain has incredible 360 views!
Gateway – difficult terrain with a gradual uphill climb. I would suggest going all the up to inspiration point for incredible views! This is one of my favorite hikes! I did this one carrying my 3.5-month-old niece or 8 miles. Talk about a workout!
Granite Mountain – This is a great loop trail! Not difficult terrain, but very gorgeous and enjoyable. Great photo ops with MASSIVE cacti!
Spur Cross – this hike is located in Cave Creek (an old western town) on a ranch. There is a river (in some parts of the year) and the vegetation is different than the other north Scottsdale hikes. I would suggest making the drive for this one!
Pinnacle Peak – This is a difficult up and down hike with incredible views! It is a little on the busier side, but totally worth it. It is always our first hike when we arrive because it was walkable to the resort. Be ready to work up a sweat!
McDowell Reserve – This is a massive area with tons of different places to start!
Tom’s Thumb Trailhead – Probably the hardest hike in the North Scottsdale Area! But so worth it! The first 35 minutes is a straight up climb and very technical. I would suggest hiking shoes especially on the way down. It is a longer venture to make it up all the way to the Thumb, but the view is worth it!
Camelback – People love this one! This is a really busy hike and a little farther from North Scottsdale. It is a hard one!