10 Scenic Drives Near Scottsdale to Enjoy Arizona’s Natural Beauty
Scottsdale, Arizona, is surrounded by some of the most stunning landscapes in the American Southwest. In this listicle, we’ll explore the top 10 scenic drives near Scottsdale, taking you on a journey through some of the most breathtaking vistas in the area. From rugged mountains to sweeping deserts, the area offers endless opportunities for scenic drives that showcase the beauty of the region. Whether you’re a local looking to explore new sights or a visitor eager to experience the natural wonders of the region, these drives are sure to leave you awe-struck. So buckle up and get ready to hit the road on these unforgettable scenic drives near Scottsdale.
- Apache Trail (AZ-88): Embark on this historic 40-mile route that offers stunning views of the Superstition Mountains, Tonto National Forest, and Apache Lake. The unpaved portions of the trail require caution, but the breathtaking vistas make it worth the adventure.
- Bartlett Lake Drive: Take a 19-mile scenic drive to Bartlett Lake, located in the heart of Tonto National Forest. Enjoy picturesque views of towering saguaros, colorful wildflowers in the spring, and the serene waters of the lake.
- Bush Highway: This 26-mile drive starts in north Mesa and takes you through the Lower Salt River Recreation Area, offering panoramic views of the Salt River, Red Mountain, and Four Peaks Wilderness Area. Keep an eye out for wild horses that frequent the area.
- Carefree Highway (AZ-74): Travel along this 30-mile route that connects I-17 to the town of Carefree, offering glimpses of the Sonoran Desert’s diverse landscape, including saguaro forests, rolling hills, and rugged mountains.
- Cave Creek Road to Seven Springs Recreation Area: This 34-mile drive begins in Cave Creek and takes you through lush desert landscapes, culminating at the Seven Springs Recreation Area, where you can explore hiking trails and take in the beauty of the natural springs.
- Fountain Hills Scenic Drive: Explore the 18-mile loop around Fountain Hills, offering stunning views of the McDowell Mountains, the iconic Fountain Park, and a variety of desert flora and fauna.
- Saguaro Lake Drive: Take a 21-mile drive to Saguaro Lake, nestled in the heart of Tonto National Forest. Enjoy picturesque views of the Sonoran Desert, the tranquil lake, and the dramatic cliffs that surround it.
- South Mountain Park Scenic Drive: Venture into the largest municipal park in the United States and enjoy the 5.5-mile Summit Road, which offers panoramic views of the Valley of the Sun and the surrounding mountains.
- McDowell Mountain Regional Park Drive: Explore this 21,099-acre park by taking the 10-mile drive through diverse desert landscapes, offering glimpses of the McDowell Mountains, dense saguaro forests, and desert wildflowers in the spring.
- Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway: Take a day trip to the 60-mile round-trip Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway, located about 2 hours from Scottsdale, and experience a dramatic change in ecosystems as you ascend from the desert floor to the cool, pine-covered summit.
Discover the natural beauty of Arizona with these 10 scenic drives near Scottsdale. From serene lakes and rugged mountains to lush forests and vibrant wildflower displays, these routes offer breathtaking vistas and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the diverse landscapes of the Sonoran Desert.
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