Sunrise Peak, McDowell Sonoran Preserve: Lost Dog Wash Trailhead, Phoenix - Scottsdale - Mesa, Arizona

Sunrise Peak - 5.8 miles

McDowell Sonoran Preserve: Lost Dog Wash Trailhead

The Sunrise Trail climbs 1,134' to Sunrise Peak

The Sunrise Trail climbs 1,134' to Sunrise Peak

Round-Trip Length: 5.8 miles
Start-End Elevation: 1,735' - 3,069' (3,069' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +1,334' net elevation gain (+1,527' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: Yes
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Sunrise Peak - 5.8 Miles Round-Trip

Sunrise Peak is located 2.9 miles from Lost Dog Wash Trailhead in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. This short, steep trail leads through richly vegetated bajadas to high open ridges and the summit. 

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Visitors will enjoy excellent views, diverse ecology and connections with the Lost Dog Wash, Ringtail and Anasazi trails for extended travel through the Preserve:

The Sunrise Trail climbs steadily through dense cholla and cacti gardens in the lower bajada. Open spaces are filled with comb bur, an ephemeral spring annual herbaceous plant that can resemble golf greens in the height of spring.

Conditions are variously steep and rocky past the Ringtail Trail (.8 miles : 1,905’) to the 136th Street access trail on a high, divisive ridge (1.9 miles : 2,539’). Vegetation is comparatively sparse on these high, exposed slopes.

Here the Sunrise Trail moderates on a long, arcing ridge to the West Spur for Sunrise Peak (2.7 miles : 2,833’).

The West Spur climbs 236’ in just .2 miles to Sunrise Peak (2.9 miles : 3,069’). Panoramas from the summit include the 4 Peaks Wilderness, Superstition Wilderness, Fountain Hills, South Mountain, Camelback and neighboring peaks of the McDowell range.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N33 36.008  W111 48.724 — 0.0 miles : Lost Dog Wash Trailhead
  • N33 36.417 W111 48.346 — .8 miles : Ringtail Trail split
  • N33 36.571 W111 48.025 — 1.2 miles : Steady climb into upper bajada
  • N33 36.631 W111 47.576 — 1.7 miles : Grade steepens up to ridge
  • N33 36.716  W111 47.460 — 1.9 miles : 136th Street Access Trail split
  • N33 36.893 W111 47.224 — 2.3 miles : Grade moderates on long arc over canyon
  • N33 36.825  W111 47.051 — 2.5 miles : Moderate travel on high ridge
  • N33 36.703 W111 46.983 — 2.7 miles : West Spur to Sunrise Peak
  • N33 36.605 W111 46.923 — 2.9 miles : Sunrise Peak

Worth Noting

  • Much of the Sonoran Preserve is located in the Arizona Upland transition zone, an ecotone with higher rainfall (up to 12.5” per year) than other nearby parks such as South Mountain, Camelback Mountain and Squaw Peak (7-9" per year). This additional rainfall accounts for the tremendous biodiversity and lushness of the Preserve.

  • Sunrise Peak is also accessible from the Sunrise Trailhead, a 3.8 mile roundtrip hike with comparable elevation gain over a shorter distance.
  • The Sunrise Trail sees heavy traffic, especially on weekends. Arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds. Parking is limited at the Sunrise Trailhead.
  • The summit access trails are not recommended for bikes and horses.

Rules and Regulations

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

Directions to Trailhead

The Lost Dog Wash Trailhead is located at 12601 N 124th Street, .65 miles north of E Via Linda.

From Highway 101, take exit #41 for Shea Blvd and head east for 2.2 miles to E Via Linda. Turn east on Via Linda for 2.5 miles to 124th Street. Turn left (north) and continue .65 miles to the trailhead at the top of the street.

Contact Information

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

Trip Reports

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