Scottsdale
Outdoor Activities

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Our most recommended Scottsdale Outdoor Activities

Phoenix: Hot Air Balloon Flight

1. Phoenix: Hot Air Balloon Flight

The experience begins even before you rise into the sky. Help the crew inflate the balloon for a real "hands on" adventure, or just relax and take a few pictures as the gentle giant comes alive. Once you gain altitude, enjoy vistas you have to see to believe as you float over the Arizona landscape. Phoenix lies beneath you while desert stretches to the distant mountains. The pilots are FAA-licensed and experienced in navigating with your safety and enjoyment in mind. Your pilot will also answer questions and identify points of interest during your flight. A chase crew will follow on the ground and meet you at the landing site. From there a van takes you back to the launch site. Upon your return, enjoy a celebratory toast of Champagne to cap your unique airborne adventure. You'll also be presented with a flight certificate.

Phoenix & Scottsdale: Lower Salt River Kayaking Tour

2. Phoenix & Scottsdale: Lower Salt River Kayaking Tour

Experience the adventure of a lifetime in a desert oasis as you take a guided kayak tour through Salt River. This lush stretch of water is only a short drive from Phoenix. Spend your morning paddling along green riverbanks, and marvel at towering red cliffs. Don't forget to look for wild horses, bald eagles, and other desert wildlife along the way. Avoid crowds and take advantage of all the natural beauty the river has to offer. Enjoy a swim in the cool waters, and see the desert as you've never seen it before. This unique experience is perfect for all skill levels, and for groups, individuals, and families.

Sonoran Desert: Guided 2-Hour UTV Adventure

3. Sonoran Desert: Guided 2-Hour UTV Adventure

Hop in, buckle up, turn the switch, and hit the trail in the toughest vehicle the Sonoran Desert has ever seen. The 4-seat UTV can be filled to capacity and can still climb trails, crawl boulders, and zip all over the desert without breaking a sweat. Whether you're craving adventure or simply want to enjoy some sightseeing at your own pace, this UTV is dialed in to deliver. With electric power steering, a thrilling V-Twin engine, and towing capacity to take everything with you, this exhilarating drive handles like a dream. 

Scottsdale: Self-Guided E-bike Tour of McDowell Mountain

4. Scottsdale: Self-Guided E-bike Tour of McDowell Mountain

Grab your own e-bike and embark on a self-guided ride along one of the many trails around Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountain. Immerse yourself in nature, fresh air, and picture-worthy scenery. Ride solo or gather a group of friends, family, or co-workers. This is the perfect activity for friends and family to tour the naturally beautiful McDowell Mountain. After picking up your bike, gear, and map from the store, you’ll head straight out to your adventure around the mountains. The McDowell Mountain area consists of many different trails, so you can customize your adventure to your preferences and needs. The various routes offer the best tour experience for anyone who wants to see many different views from different elevations. Whatever route you decide on, expect a 10-mile-long loop that’s the perfect nature ride. After your trip, enjoy an easy e-bike return back at the shop.

Scottsdale: Half-Day Casual Bike Tour with Guide

5. Scottsdale: Half-Day Casual Bike Tour with Guide

Avoid the busy public transport system and take advantage of the glorious sunshine as you explore the beautiful city of Scottsdale by bike. Using an expertly maintained rental bike fleet, consisting of multi-geared touring bicycles, the tour takes you along paved bike paths, roads, canals, and the occasional hard dirt surface. In the early part of the day, ride through the lush arroyos of Scottsdale, where wildlife is abundant. Look out for desert cottontail rabbits as they hop away into the underbrush, and see if you can spot a quail crossing the path. From your knowledgeable local guide, learn about the region’s native flora and fauna, as well as the animals that live here. Follow your guide along a carefully mapped route that ensure you see the very best of the city, and enjoy it’s breathtaking natural landscapes along the way.

From Scottsdale: Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend Day Tour

6. From Scottsdale: Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend Day Tour

Around 6 AM get picked up from your hotel in Phoenix or Scottsdale to start the 4-hour journey to Page, Arizona. Be driven in the comfort of a luxury van. Along the way, your guide will tell you about a number of interesting sites and the history of the state of Arizona. Upon arrival in Page, AZ we will head to Antelope Canyon. There you will gaze upon the wonder of the slot canyons and their amazing colors and formations. Here a navajo guide will be included and take your party in the canyon. (Tour ticket covered in price). Tour lasts for 1-1.25 hours. We will then eat a full lunch that is included in the admission price. Then we head to Horseshoe Bend. This view is bar none the best in AZ! Here this is a self guided hike that is 1.25 miles RT. Admission to this attraction is included in price and duration is 80 minutes. Note: temperatures can reach 90+ degrees in the summer time and 30+ degrees in the winter so dress accordingly. Also pickup time can fluctuate between 6am-9am depending on season and tour times given. Guests staying in certain regions of the valley can expect longer tour times because of pickup and dropoff location.

Scottsdale: Half-Day Sonoran Desert Hiking Tour

7. Scottsdale: Half-Day Sonoran Desert Hiking Tour

Enjoy a guided hiking trip designed to be more than a simple nature walk. This hike is accessible to a wide range of abilities so that individuals of modest fitness levels, as well as more active ones, will enjoy themselves. Traverse trails chosen not only for their scenic beauty but also accessibility, safety, and low volume of other visitors. Experience the unforgettable Sonoran Desert as you've never seen it before. Hike the Sonoran Preserve, where there are a variety of trails available. Marvel at the natural beauty of the desert while getting in a workout that is great for hikers of all levels of experience.

Phoenix & Scottsdale: Saguaro Lake Kayaking Tour

8. Phoenix & Scottsdale: Saguaro Lake Kayaking Tour

Paddle through gorgeous Saguaro Lake on a kayak with this guided desert tour. Enjoy hours on the water with your experienced guide, splashing, relaxing, and viewing unique wildlife. The lake is an indispensable oasis in the vast Sonoran Desert, attracting a multitude of birds and wildlife.   Kayaking in Arizona is a unique experience, which offers you the chance to see desert bighorn sheep and bald eagles. Take time to appreciate the surrounding mountain peaks, giant saguaro cactus, and flora, only found in this distinctive ecosystem. Your guides are always available to teach you the natural history of the area and give you expert paddling instruction. This tour is available for individuals and groups, and is perfect for paddlers of all experience levels.

From Scottsdale/Phoenix: Apache Trail Day Tour

9. From Scottsdale/Phoenix: Apache Trail Day Tour

Be collected in a luxurious SUV or van at 9:30 AM from your accommodation in Phoenix or Scottsdake. Travel into the heart of the Superstition Mountain Range and along the Apache Trail. A licensed tour guide will provide a useful narration throughout the day.  Make your first stop at the old gold mining ghost town of Goldfield located at the base of the neighboring Superstition Mountain range. Spend 45 minutes checking out the historic shops and see how it was in the Old West. Then, hit the Apache Trail and take in the amazing views of the Superstitions and the Sonoran Desert along the trail. Reach Canyon Lake for a 90-minute sightseeing journey on an old-fashioned sternwheeler steamboat across the lake. Upon return to the shore, travel down the road to one of the oldest stagecoach stops in the Southwest, which was the site of where a lot of gold was mined in the late 1800s known as Tortilla Flat. Learn about how the general store has been owned by the same family for generations. After exploring the area, find a good spot to enjoy local novelties and lunch. Lastly, stop by the Lost Dutchman Museum so you can polish your knowledge of this famous area. Return to your accommodation around 5 PM.

Phoenix & Scottsdale: Saguaro Lake Stand Up Paddleboard Tour

10. Phoenix & Scottsdale: Saguaro Lake Stand Up Paddleboard Tour

Experience the Sonoran Desert from a thrilling new perspective on a stand up paddleboard. Paddle through the gorgeous Saguaro Lake or Lower Salt River, taking in valuable insight into the ecosystem that is sustained by these indispensable desert oases. Maybe you’ll even catch a glimpse of a bald eagle or a bighorn sheep, which are among the many distinctive species found within this one-of-a-kind environment. Stand up paddleboarding is a perfect activity for the whole family, and your professional guide will spend some time at the start of the tour teaching the proper techniques. Geared up with a provided life jacket, snacks, and bottled water, appreciate the mountain peaks that surround you as you drift along, flanked by giant saguaro cactuses and desert foliage unique to this region. And be sure to splash around and have some fun while you’re at it.

Frequently asked questions about Scottsdale Outdoor Activities

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Other Sightseeing Options in Scottsdale

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What people are saying about Scottsdale

Granddaughter and I were looking for a new adventure and so we booked a hot air balloon ride for sunrise. It was awesome and our guide Jesse (the very young looking Jesse) was so great. He was professional and experienced but funny and made the ride even better. We had a fun group of people and the ground crew were great too. If you are looking to go hot air ballooning in Phoenix this is the company to use. We loved everything about it and the champagne toast at the end was a nice touch!!

Having never hiked in the Southwest before, my hubby & I opted for a guided hike. Linda did a great job setting a comfortable pace and sharing her deep knowledge of the desert plants, animals and culture. The views were amazing and we walked away with so much more info than we would have had self-guided. I highly recommend this tour and wish we had more time for a second tour through this operator (REI). Thank you!!

Loved it. We had an awesome, experienced guide, Jon T. who made it so enjoyable with his humor as well as his knowledge of piloting these balloons. We had a great morning for it and more importantly, we had the perfect landing ! We highly recommend this outfit .

It was amazing, our pilot Jeff was awesome. The views were breath taking and everyone in our group had a blast. Would highly recommend doing this adventure and crossing this off your bucket list.

We had a wonderful time kayaking. The guides were knowledgeable, and did an outstanding job. The drive to the river & setting things up was seamless. Highly recommend this tour.