Sunrise Trail at McDowell Mountains

View from Sunrise Peak in the McDowell Mountains
View from Sunrise Peak in the McDowell Mountains
Megan Dobransky

The McDowell Mountains may be in the middle of the city, but when you're at the top, you can still soak in a good dose of landscape and seclusion.

The mountain's Sunrise Trail is one of the more popular trails and cuts through the south area of the range. The trail's 4.4 miles long with a 1,300 climb in elevation, which loosely translates to a seriously awesome hike.

In this area, all things begin or end at the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead; get there with a good pair of shoes and you're ready to hike.

From Lost Dog trail head, you can continue on Lost Dog or follow to forks toward Sunrise Trail, Ringtail Trail or Old Jeep Trail.

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The downside is that none of these trails circle back to Lost Dog, so you won't end where you started (tough when it comes to picking a parking spot). Most hikers on this trail reach the peak and double back.

Note: The beginning of this trail sucks; there's no way around it. It's layered with big loose rocks that are hard to navigate.

But after about the first 1.5 miles, as you begin the long, gradual climb to the peak, the loose rocks give way to much more managable ground.

Once you hit the first ridge, the trail circles around to the peak. The last quarter mile up to the top of Sunrise Peak is the most difficult part of the trail; it's steep and rugged, but so worth it once you reach the top.

To get to Lost Dog Wash Trailhead, take Via Linda west and turn left on 124th Street.

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