El Dorado Hot Springs is owned by Camilla Van Sickle and Bill Pennington. It's a 1,200-gallon-per-minute subterranean hot spring of odorless, tasteless mineral water, with no nasty chemicals. Just a hot tub the way nature intended it. The water has a natural pH of 8.2 and contains sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, bicarbonate, sulfate, silicates, fluoride, boron, and trace amounts of lithium, which does wonders for the hair and skin.

Soak away your hectic workweek in one of the many pools, some of which have retractable shade or misting systems. You can choose either private soaking areas, or semiprivate, and if you decide you don't want to come back to the grind right away, there is an on-site sleeping cabin called Motel California that has a full bath and linens and comes with various soaking packages. It's a steal at $50 to $65. Therapeutic massage and Tibetan Bowl Resonant Relaxation are available by appointment.

The Peak trailhead isn't the easiest to get to, involving lots of curves through north Scottsdale's exclusive Troon area. But that's one of the reasons we love to hike here -- we escape the sweaty masses clambering up Camelback Mountain and Squaw Peak. At 3.5 miles, it's not too time-consuming, just long enough to get us breathing, and elevated enough to allow for spectacular views of the Valley below. And the beauty before us is breathtaking, with floods of dramatic cactuses and artistic-shaped boulders lining the path. Now and again, we'll bring our horse, though it's difficult for him to navigate the periodically steep and slippery rock-strewn paths. We always take our dog, who leaps and bounds and pauses only to drink large amounts of the water we always pack for him (and us). We also like to bring a little picnic of nuts, fruits, juices, vegetables and Scooby snacks, leaving it in a cooler in our car. When we're through hiking, we rest at picnic tables in the ramada between the parking lot and trailhead, refill our water bottles from the fountain, and take a break in the rest room. It's definitely a day well spent.

Readers' Choice for Best City Hiking Trail: Squaw Peak

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