Sunrise Peak from Sunrise Trailhead, McDowell Sonoran Preserve: Sunrise Trailhead, Phoenix - Scottsdale - Mesa, Arizona

Sunrise Peak from Sunrise Trailhead - 3.8 miles

McDowell Sonoran Preserve: Sunrise Trailhead

High ridge travel on the Sunrise Trail

High ridge travel on the Sunrise Trail

Round-Trip Length: 3.8 miles
Start-End Elevation: 1,935' - 3,069' (3,069' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +1,134' net elevation gain (+1,203' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: Yes
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Sunrise Peak from Sunrise Trailhead - 3.8 Miles Round-Trip

The Sonoran Desert Preserve manages over 45 miles of multi-use trails across 27,800 contiguous acres of pristine Sonoran desert.

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The preserve is distinguished from other metro parks by its location in the upland transition zone, an ecotone that sees higher annual rainfall and accordingly greater biodiversity.

Sunrise Peak (3,069') is one of the few trail-accessible summits in the McDowells. The following begins at the Sunrise Trailhead, a short but steep alternative to the busy Lost Dog Wash Trailhead approach:

The Sunrise Trail pushes steeply above the residential trailhead area into the lower canyon, where grades moderate through 1.0 miles (2,340’).

You’ll reach a marked viewpoint at 1.2 miles (2,460’), past which climbing intensifies in the upper canyon with improving views of the mountainous interior.

The steep, tightly wound trail abruptly levels on a ridge just below the summit at the East Summit Access Spur (1.65 miles : 2,840’). The summit spur climbs 229’ in just .25 miles to Sunrise Peak (1.9 miles : 3,069’).

The summit offers rangy panoramas including the 4 Peaks Wilderness, Superstition Wilderness, Fountain Hills, South Mountain, Camelback and neighboring peaks of the McDowell range.

Consider descending the summit on the West Summit Spur and continuing a short distance on the Sunrise Trail. The trail follows a high, arcing ridge with additional views of the McDowell Mountains and metro area.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N33 35.782 W111 46.111 — 0.0 miles : Sunrise Trailhead
  • N33 36.013 W111 46.399 — .5 miles : Moderate climb through lower canyon
  • N33 36.331 W111 46.642 — 1.0 miles : Grade steepens into upper canyon
  • N33 36.547 W111 46.822 — 1.5 miles : Steep, twisting climb to saddle
  • N33 36.624 W111 46.814 — 1.65 miles : East summit access spur
  • N33 36.605 W111 46.923 — 1.9 miles : Sunrise Peak (3,069')

Worth Noting

  • The Sunrise Trail sees heavy traffic, especially on weekends. Arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds. Parking is limited at the Sunrise Trailhead.
  • Bikes and horses are not recommended on either summit access spur.

Rules and Regulations

  • Dogs must be on a hand held leash at all times.

Directions to Trailhead

The Sunrise Trailhead is located at 12101 N. 145th Way, at the far east end of Via Linda. Access Via Linda and follow it east to its seamless merge with 145th just below the trailhead.

The trailhead is located in a residential neighborhood on the southeast corner of McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Contact Information

McDowell Sonoran Conservancy                                                                                                       16435 N Scottsdale Rd. Suite 110                                                                                                     Scottsdale AZ, 85254                                                                                                                 480.998.7971

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