Hike Camelback Mountain

Camelback MountainCamelback Mountain is a world-famous icon that defines the northeast horizon of Phoenix. Camelback Mountain takes the shape of a giant camel that gently lays and touches the borders of Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Paradise Valley. At its base is a blend of luxury homes, resorts, and golf courses. For those who want more than to admire Camelback Mountain from afar, there are two trails to challenge yourself. It’s a popular spot for hikers, rock climbers, and tourists alike with over 300,000 people hiking the mountain every year. Both trails reach the 2,704 feet summit. Echo Canyon and Cholla trails are rated “strenuous” for good reasons, so be prepared. There are about 200 annual search and rescue efforts in Phoenix, with the majority of those happening at Camelback Mountain. My family and I hike the Echo Canyon trail at least once a year, although we have never witnessed anyone being rescued, we have a friend who works for the Phoenix Fire Department who can talk all day and night about the rescues he has done on Camelback Mountain. Following the signs, knowing your limits and staying hydrated are the keys to staying safe on Camelback Mountain, as well as any hiking trail.

Echo Canyon Trail
Enter Echo Canyon Parkway east of Tatum Blvd. off of McDonald Drive. Parking is often limited. The trail ascends through spectacular sandstone rock formations with views from the summit into Greater Phoenix. The Echo Canyon Trail is 1.2 miles each way with an elevation gain of 1,264 feet.

Cholla Trail
There is no trailhead parking, street parking limited at Invergordon and 64th Street. Hikers must walk up the south side of Cholla Lane. Cholla Trail is only recommended for experienced hikers because of its steep, rocky sections with drop-offs on both sides of the trail. The Cholla Trail is 1.5 miles each way with an elevation gain of 1,200 feet.

Have you hiked Camelback Mountain? What’s your favorite trail?


Noteworthy Wineries around the Valley

wine glass photoMany of us enjoy to relax and unwind with a glass of wine and good company. You may not realize it, but Scottsdale is also a hub for wine, with the Senoita, Wilcox and Verde Valleys in our backyard. Dating back to the 1970’s, the areas local vineyards have made a name for themselves as a wine destination, with local tours offered throughout the year.

Check out these well-known Arizona vineyards for the best wine the state has to offer.

Granite Creek Vineyards

Nestled in the Chino Valley, Granite Creek Vineyards is family owned and operated, and was the first winery in Arizona to be certified as organic. This is a big accomplishment, as it required 100 percent of the grapes to come from an organically certified vineyard that is tested and audited. While the vineyard is a bit isolated, it’s location and weather is perfect for producing grapes.

Arizona Stronghold Vineyards

Started in 2007, Arizona Stronghold Vineyard has helped put Arizona wines on the map, winning numerous awards and recognition at tasting competitions. The vineyard, located in Graham County, boasts several wines on a seasonal basis, with their tasting room offering a quirky but fun environment.

Charron Vineyards and Winery

Located just 30 minutes from downtown Tucson, Charron Vineyards is a bit more of a drive, but is a great option for a weekend getaway. Situated in the foothills of the Stan Rita Mountains, it offers some of the oldest vines in Arizona. It’s most known for its White Merlot, which has sold out every year since it won the 2000 Governor’s Choice Award.

Windmill Winery

Built on the foundation of an old brickyard, Windmill Winery is a gorgeous nursery, turned vineyard. Founded in 2001, the quaint winery offers a shabby chic feel with a handful of wines for visitors to try in their local tasting room. And it’s just over an hour away from Scottsdale!

Su Vino Winery

While not an actual vineyard, Su Vino Winery is one of the most well-known tasting rooms, located in Scottsdale’s Arts District. The main Su Vino Winery is in Texas, but the Scottsdale location is its second storefront. With dozens of wines by the glass, including some on tap, Su Vino is a great local option if you’re not in the mood to drive to the winery.

There are many more wonderful wine bars in the valley including the Cave Creek and Carefree area. Many offer happy hour and other weekday specials.  Click here to learn about Scottsdale Homes & Neighborhoods.

Great Staycation Resorts for Locals

Montelucia Resort Spa photoWhen summer hits, the rush to hit the road and go for a nice vacation trip begins. Before you know it, what was meant to be a nice time to relax might begin with a big headache with all the stressful traveling plans you have to make and the hassles of airport transportation, airline tickets, booking a rental car, and time wasted at congested airports. So instead of hitting the road the next time you want to go on vacation why not have an awesome time right in your own backyard.

The Valley is home to several vacation wonders that will simply blow you away. With their luxurious spas and pools, secluded romantic gardens, exclusive golf courses and exquisite dining, all you need for a wonderful vacation is right here at home. Here are some of the best deals you can go for:

  1. The Boulders Resort and Spa: beautifully perched at the foot of the black mountain the boulder promises a peaceful vacation at very low summer rates. From luxurious casita accommodations to the legendary 33,000-square-foot Waldorf Astoria Spa, four swimming pools, a world-class golf course and scintillating dishes at the newly designed restaurants. This peaceful paradise offers summer amenities and programs specially designed to give you a blissful getaway.
  1. Sheraton Grand: a truly traditional resort proudly showcasing the culture, art, and legends of the Pima and Maricopa Tribes. This award-winning holiday getaway at Wild Horse Pass is located on the Gila River Indian Community near Chandler, Arizona. The guest rooms all have a cultural theme. It also has two golf courses at Whirlwind Golf Club, and you can get a well-deserved relaxation and transformation at the Aji Spa. The wild horses, for which the location is named after, can be seen from the patio at the Kai Restaurant while enjoying an amazing dining experience here.
  1. The Hermosa Inn: A trip to the Hermosa Inn is literarily a visit to Paradise. This luxury, the hotel is located in a residential area in one of Phoenix most exclusive neighborhoods, Paradise Valley.  The resort boasts of enchanting new deluxe casitas and newly-renovated guest casitas. With a true Southwest experience provided by an Arizona-themed decoration, garden settings, and private patios. The Inn Is also popular for its superior cuisine and excellent wine list
  1. Tempe Mission Palms: talk about finding the right spot, this hotel is located at just the right place with more than 100 restaurants, bars, and shops within a fairly walkable distance from it. Located in the Mill Avenue District Downtown Tempe, the hotel also has a metro train station in its vicinity, allowing you to quickly take a trip by train to explore neighboring towns if you so desire.
  1. Royal Palms Resort and Spa: located in Phoenix Arizona, make your staycation a romantic gateway at the Royal Palms. Situated on a nine-acres plot at the base of Camelback Mountain, the resort is built on the original Spanish Revival villa of Delos and Florence Cooke, and is home to a very large collection of Mediterranean art and exotic flora giving it a unique romantic feel. It is well-suited for honeymooners and longtime loves looking for a truly romantic holiday get-away.
  1. Arizona Biltmore: located in central Phoenix, “the jewel of the desert” as it is fondly called provides for your holiday enjoyment luxurious gardens, dining, and accommodations, Tennis and golf course, and everything else you need to pamper yourself on your vacation. It has a three in one paradise pool, and a 92-foot waterslide, providing unlimited poolside amusement. the pool also has a spacious and comfortable indoor sitting area with HDTV and full bath, a private patio area with chaise lounges and table and chairs, and offers special food and beverage service.

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Exploring Scottsdale’s Art Scene

Indian Art photoAre you new to the Scottsdale area, or are you a resident looking for something exciting to check out that you might not have seen before? Did you know Scottsdale has an exciting and vibrant art scene just waiting for you to discover it? There’s a lot to do in Scottsdale when you’re interested in art, and most of it is focused in and around the Main Street Galleries in downtown Scottsdale. Check out the recommendations below and see for yourself what makes this such an incredible place to tour, learn, and enjoy art.

The Bonner David Galleries

Visit the Bonner David Galleries to enjoy both contemporary and traditional artwork that strays a little bit outside the norm when it comes to the topics and presentation alike found in these unique and stunning pieces. This is a favorite stop on the downtown Art Walk, but you can stop by any time the gallery is open and take time to peruse the collection at your leisure. You’ll enjoy a little bit of everything, from the abstract to portraits and more.

The Legacy Gallery

For nearly three decades, The Legacy Gallery has been a well-known and beloved part of the world of western art. With two other locations in the United States, the Scottsdale version cycles through it gallery displays regularly, so it pays to visit more than once. The focus of the art in this gallery is all western, but you may find some beautiful wildlife and landscape work in amongst the other pieces on display too.

Mainview Gallery

When you want to see a little bit of everything in your art gallery experience, the Mainview Gallery is sure to please. Take a look at the different exhibits put together by this gallery to enjoy a little bit of western artwork as well as still life, landscapes, portraits and more. This is a calming gallery with soothing pieces that will inspire you and encourage you to come back to check it out again and again.

Scottsdale Art Auction

In the middle of the Main Street Galleries, you’ll find the Scottsdale Art Auction, the Southwest’s largest auction dealing in western and wildlife artwork. This is an exciting place to visit when you’re looking to purchase new art for your home. Stroll through the massive showroom and don’t forget to check the calendar for the dates when the auction will be live, too.

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Where To Stay When Visiting Scottsdale

Hyatt hotel photoIf you’re planning an upcoming visit to Scottsdale, you probably want to know where to stay while you’re there. While there are plenty of incredible options for you to choose from, some of these stand out from the crowd considerably more than others. Below, we’ll walk you through four of the most popular resorts in the Scottsdale area so you never again have to wonder about where to stay or what to do while you’re in town.

Talking Stick Resort & Casino

Located in south Scottsdale, Talking Stick Resort includes a spa, casino, entertainment every night and so much more. You’ll love the views of the desert and city surrounding this luxury resort, and you can relax at the on-site Talking Stick Golf Club when you feel like truly enjoying everything Scottsdale has to offer.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain is one of the most important claims to fame of the Scottsdale area, so why not get up close and personal with it and stay awhile on the mountain itself? This resort provides some truly spectacular views of the surrounding desert from beautifully-appointed upscale rooms. You’ll enjoy the on-site bar and restaurant as well as the short driving distance to many of the area’s most popular attractions.

Westin Kierland Resort and Spa

Everything you could ever want and more is available on-site at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa. Take a stroll around the area and check out the spa itself before you visit the championship golf course located on the premises, too. Visit the Scotch Bar or stop by the beautiful family-friendly pool area, featuring plenty of poolside games and activities to keep the kids happy all day long.

Omni Scottsdale Resort

Inspired by European getaways, the Omni Scottsdale Resort in the Paradise Valley area includes a luxurious spa and an elegant on-site restaurant that perfectly complement the mountain and city views you can enjoy from your lavish room in this excellent resort. You’ll love the quick and easy access to some of the area’s best shopping, nightlife, golf and outdoor activities all from the comfort of this beautiful accommodation.

There are plenty of other excellent resorts to pick from, too, so don’t forget to check out the variety of accommodations and upscale lodging available when you visit Scottsdale. You’re sure to find the perfect place to stay to give you everything you’re looking for and so much more!

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