Why Scottsdale is the Perfect Place to Hike & Pamper Yourself
Visit Scottsdale for a getaway with perfect weather and hiking this Winter. Finish your active day with amazing sunsets and fabulous dining. Additionally, Scottsdale offers incredible shopping and day spa options. Here is a weekend itinerary with fun options for you and your girlfriends in Scottsdale.
The Best Time to Visit Scottsdale for Weather and Prices
- Shoulder Season – October through December before Christmas break are a great option during shoulder season. The roads are less crowded, the trails are less busy, you will not need a reservation at most restaurants, and the weather is pretty much perfect in the high 70’s to low 80’s. April through early May can also be a good time to visit. Most of the Snowbirds have returned home and the weather is still somewhat manageable.
- High Season – January through March is the prime season in Scottsdale. The combination of Snowbirds, and people visiting for Winter and Spring Breaks make for crowded roads, restaurants and Spas. The weather is also prime, but if you plan your trip right, you will be able to get all of the above during shoulder season.
- Off Season – June through September Scottsdale is the desert, so extreme heat is a given. In addition to soaring temperatures, you will deal with monsoons which bring higher humidity, which can lead to thunderstorms, heavy rain, lightning, hail, high winds, flash flooding, dust storms and extreme heat. In my opinion this is a good time to avoid the desert unless you want to take advantage of the bargain basement pricing.
Where to Day Hike in Scottsdale
This itinerary offers two days of day hiking in Scottsdale. The hikes are moderate level hikes in regards to elevation, and distance.
- Pinnacle Peak Trail – Day 1 Pinnacle Peak Park is a gorgeous park, well-maintained in the city of Scottsdale, Arizona. The park is 150 acres and offers views of the surrounding valley filled with beautiful desert style homes and golf courses. The trail is an out and back type trail and is considered moderate with an elevation gain of 1,020 feet. The trail is very well marked and wide, but you will still want to wear trail shoes or boots so that you do not slip on the rocky material. It will be a great workout and make you feel great about your yummy lunch later. You will not actually go to the top of the peak. The highest point of the trail is 2,889 feet. At the 1/2 mile mark you will get a grand view of the valley. Remember to bring at least 2 liters of water and to yield to hikers making their way up the incline. You will also want to wear a hat since the trail offers little shade. The hike should take about 1 hr 45 minutes at a leisurely pace.
- Camelback Mountain via Cholla Trail – Day 2 We chose the more difficult trail for the second day of our hiking getaway. You can place the Trail name in your GPS and it should take you to the trail. There is no parking on Cholla Lane, so you have to park on Invergordon Road. This will add approximately .5 miles onto the front and .5 onto the back of your day hike. The trailhead is located at almost the end of Cholla Lane on the left-hand side and it passes right in front of a custom home nestled against the mountain. The trail is considered hard. The elevation is a bit higher and the distance is shorter than Pinnacle Peak. This makes the trail feel less rolling and more straight up than Pinnacle. The trail starts out moderately steep and near the end it turns into a rock scramble. The views include The Phoenician Resort and the Valley. You will be ready to indulge at lunch after this hike. You will need 2 liters of water and sunscreen. Arriving early will help with the heat & sun exposure. Wear hiking shoes due to the loose trail rock and scramble.
The Perfect Spa Day Option
After 2 days of hiking, your body will be begging for The Civana Spa. It is located in Carefree, Arizona just outside of Scottsdale. According to the front desk associate, The Wellness Resort and Spa recently went under a $20+ million dollar renovation. It is easy to see why U.S. News & World Report ranks Civana as a Top 10 Wellness Destination.
We were lucky enough to be guests of a friend who owns a gorgeous home in Scottsdale. We did not stay in the rooms at Civana, but opted to see what the day spa opportunities featured. If you buy a spa service, you are able to utizlize the wellness rooms in the spa for the day, and also participate in the fitness group classes.
The place is just gorgeous! The pool, the locker rooms, the landscaping, restaurants etc. The Aqua Vitality Circuit is a sauna experience that is reminiscent of the sauna experience I enjoyed in Finland. It is the only one of its kind in the United States. One of the many reasons to go back to Civana. This would be a spectacular wellness retreat option for a bachelorette party or milestone birthday weekend!
Where to Shop and Eat in Scottsdale
Scottsdale is not lacking in the shopping and dining categories. Unlike many parts of the Country, Scottsdale has excellent urban space planning. The strip malls and shopping centers are plentiful, but are beautifully disguised by landscape and the architectural style. Luckily we had a local with us to point out the wonderful options. Otherwise, it would be a bit overwhelming to find what you are looking for in a dining choice.
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Dining Choices for a Girl’s Getaway in Scottsdale
Lunch Options in Scottsdale
- Postino $– Kierland Commons in Scottsdale is a great choice for a lunch. Wine and lunch is always a fun option for a girl’s weekend. Postino specializes in their wine menu and boards. We really enjoyed the al fresco dining and Postino’s Pop Art restaurant theme. The location in Kierland Commons makes for a great lunch and shopping afternoon.
- Barrio Queen $ – Old Town Scottsdale is so charming and the Barrio Queen was delicious! Arizona has excellent regional authentic Mexican cuisine. The Barrio Queen’s dishes were amazing. The happy hour prices at 2 p.m. made for the ultimate post-hike lunch and cold refreshment choice. The plates were in the $7 range and fresh hand-crafted margaritas were $5 and draft beers $4. That’s a bargain for an Angeleno visiting Scottsdale! The server was friendly, and once again we were able to enjoy the al fresco dining in the cute old town village.
A Perfect Dinner Spot in Scottsdale
- The Living Room Wine Bar $ – DC Ranch Market Street. The Living Room Wine Bar is a great choice to meet friends for pre-dinner drinks. The charming al fresco wine bar is situated in the DC Ranch Market Street area. You can grab a drink and an appetizer here and then walk through the outdoor shopping village to Spiga Cucina Italiana.
- Spiga Cucina Italiana $$- DC Ranch Market Street. Spiga Cucina Italiana brings the best of both Italy and the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain). Once again, you can enjoy al fresco dining in Scottsdale. The friendly wait staff is accommodating and Spiga’s light and tasty version of traditional lasagna made for a great dinner choice. Pricing seemed very fair for
Fun Coffee Breaks in Scottsdale
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- Dutch Brothers $ – All over Phoenix and Scottsdale. Dutch Brothers is a “fun” coffee stop. The company culture and fun menu makeup for the fast food feeling of the product. The employees might be the friendliest baristas I’ve experience West of the Mississippi! During my first stop the associate asked me if I had ever had a Dutch Brothers coffee and I said, “No”. He offered me my first coffee free. The flavor options are unlimited and it was actually very good coffee for the price.
- Cartel Coffee Lab $$ – 8 locations in the Phoenix area and Palm Springs. If you are in search of a huge jolt and a cup of high quality full-bodied joe, Cartel Coffee Lab is your place. The coffee is expensive, more in-line with LA & NY prices. My iced Americano at Cartel was about $4.25 and it was $2.25 at Dutch Brothers. But..it is definitely a tasty first swig.
Where to Shop in Scottsdale
- Kierland Commons – North Scottsdale. A beautiful outside shopping area with the typical mainstream retailers such as Athleta, Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic etc. The center is beautifully landscaped and clean. The parking is great and the shopping options are wonderful.
- Old Town Scottsdale – Old Town. A charming old town village. The streets converge at a gorgeous fountain and statue. The shops are a mix of touristy items, but well-curated along with some unique specialty boutiques. One of my favorite stores included The Plant Store. A very nice shopping experience in Old Town.
- Other options include Fashion Square close to Old Town, and a variety of great consignment and thrift stores. We stopped quickly at the small shopping area in Carefree Arizona. This area offered kitschy neon signs, animal skins and items you would expect to find in Arizona. There are so many more options, but these are the few spots we were able to hit in just a couple days.
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How to Get to Scottsdale
- Road Trip – Getting to Scottsdale from Los Angeles is very easy. If you take the 10 Freeway East for approximately 6 hours you will arrive in Old Town Scottsdale. You can stop in Palm Springs for a break.
- Flight – PHX Phoenix International Airport is about 20 minutes to Old Town and about 40 minutes to North Scottsdale.
- The Flix Bus – The Flix Bus is an economical way to get to Phoenix and Scottsdale. You an reserve tickets online for as low as $15-$20 each way if you book early. There is wifi and the seats are very comfortable. There is a bus from as far west as UCLA then Downtown LA, and then a stop in Palm Springs.
Thoughts on Scottsdale
In conclusion, I was so happy to have the opportunity to visit Scottsdale. As a former resident of California’s Palm Springs area, I thought that The Scottsdale area would be very similar. Scottsdale is similar, but has more of a full-time dweller feel than The California desert communities. Scottsdale feels like a larger city, because of its population and the diverse amenities that are required for a populous area.
Scottsdale and Phoenix have a population of about 250,000 with the surrounding areas of Tempe and Mesa, Arizona adding almost 600,000 more residents. There are several major Universities in these cities which bring, hospitals, theater and other cultural activities.
Phoenix and Scottsdale offer a great lifestyle combining unlimited outside activities like golf, tennis, hiking, etc. The job and real estate market are currently very strong. According to Bloomberg and Census data, 200 people arrive in greater Phoenix on a daily basis
If you love the desert, warm weather, and gorgeous sunsets, you need to check out Scottsdale soon!