McDowell Mountain Wagner Short Loop Trail

Scottsdale, Arizona

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5 Reviews
4 out of 5
Fine easy hike for kids and families that circumnavigates the park campground.
Best Easy Day Hikes: Phoenix


Best Easy Day Hikes: Phoenix

by Stewart M. Green (Falcon Guides)

Fine easy hike for kids and families that circumnavigates the park campground.

© 2015 Stewart M. Green/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Scottsdale
Distance: 1.8
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 1 hour
Season: November - April
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: McDowell Sonoran Preserve
Local Maps: USGS: Fort McDowell
Driving Directions: Directions to McDowell Mountain: Wagner Short Loop Trail

Recent Trail Reviews


This is a lovely hike through beautiful country. It's a fairly strenuous uphill slog, but nothing a reasonably fit person can't handle. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, and the view of Weaver's Needle at the summit is breathtaking.


Recommended to me from a local person who hikes also. I had worn my hiking boots flying into Phoenix as to go straight to this trail head from the airport. Darkness on my return was my only concern but time estimates shown I would be able to make it back before dark. The views are stupendous up and back for someone coming from the northeast and well worth coming. Not too steep or too far to Fremont Saddle to get the view that makes the hike perfect - Weavers Needle. I got the pictures and back to the car, just in time for it to get dark. Happy I made to fly in early and get a small hike in on the weekend.


Lots of people were on the trail when we went. Several days of rain in prior weeks allowed for lots of vegetation along the trail. Temperatures were very comfortable with light layers, pants while hiking. A long sleeve shirt was definately needed when stopped as it was cool enough to chill you when not moving. No climbing was necessary and could walk the entire way, no scrambbling required. Views were spectacular, with many interesting rock formations to view along the way, and the view from freemont saddle at the end of the trail well worth it, with several mountain ranges in view in many directions. I could see Mt. Lemon peeking through the clouds far to the south. The return route for us was the ridge along the eastern part of the trail which took us to Geronimos cave, a great view overlooking Peralta Trail down below. We started the trail at 10am, had lunch by 1pm at Freemont Saddle overlooking the basin below and Weavers needle, and made it back around 4pm. This was a medium walking pace. Would definately recommend this trail if you haven't done it, and I plan on returning for more sights around this trail.


This was the best trail I hiked in Arizona. The trail was very quiet. I only saw a handful of other people. It was difficult at times, but the beautiful views were more than worth it. And at the end you get to see awesome Weavers Needle.


You should hike this trail, but not on the weekends. Close to Phoenix, this is one of the most popular trails and for good reason. A wide, but rugged trail winds its way through the hoodoo-laden canyon up to an amazing vantage point called Fremont Saddle. There are several ways to loop back to the car. Be sure to get a topo map if you don't plan to return via the same trail as described in this eTrail. You'll pay a $4 fee to park.

Activity Feed

May 2018