Greetings, fellow hikers! Today, I will share a fantastic hiking trail in northeast Phoenix called The Lost Dog Trailhead Loop. I'm Brice, president of Vaucluse Gear, where we love to sweat less and (love love love) explore more.
This hike is about an hour long, and it's fantastic because, well, as you know, it’s Phoenix, Arizona! I’ve learned that at least the southern half of Arizona can get quite hot, and this is a perfect hike where you get to see a lot of the beautiful desert without a lot of the heat. There will be great views without much elevation going up or down. So you can just enjoy being outside right here in Phoenix, and I'm going to walk you through everything as I hike up.
I used AllTrails (link to trail map is below) to navigate you through some of the things I saw and some that you can expect on this hiking trail. So, one day, if you're ever out here, you can enjoy it!
Hiking Trail Review - Lost Dog Trailhead - Scottsdale, Arizona
We're on the southern tip of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which is actually part of Scottsdale, a city northeast of Phoenix. If you're in Phoenix, you can literally drive here within minutes and find over 30,000 acres of pretty much anything that you can want when you go hiking. You can go camping, You can do a lot of stuff. It's absolutely beautiful, and one of my objectives with the videos I'm doing is to share with you some of the beauty out here in northeast Arizona, along trails like The Lost Dog Trailhead Loop.
I took three different trails. I started from The Lost Dog Trailhead and took The Lost Dog Wash Trail (say that a few times fast!). Then there’s also The Old Jeep Trail and The Sunrise Trail. I found on these trails that you’re going to feel like you’re pretty much walking inside a mountain range. You walk in, and you're “nestled” around these quasi-mountains. They're quite large, and you just walk in between or around them, nestled comfortably, and it's fantastic. You feel like you're in the middle of nowhere, driving maybe 10 minutes away from Scottsdale.
This hike took me about an hour. So you can do it quite quickly. Another benefit is the elevation gain was just 500 feet so you're not doing it all at once. It's gradual. There are some ups, some downs, and some walks through ravines. For the most part, it's really, really, really, really comfortable.
The conditions that day were fantastic. Sunny, with zero cloud cover, humidity below 40% (which is helpful against sweating too much and the temperatures staying in the 70ºs). Being Arizona, it's still pretty hot outside even at the close of summer/start of autumn. Even 70ºF can feel quite hot, so bring your water when you come here. Bring a good hat, bring your sunscreen, and bring tons and tons and tons of water. You want to stay hydrated. That’s another reason why this hike is so good: you can go in and out, in a comfortable loop, in about an hour, and you'll be fine.
Backpack Airflow System - Sweat Less in Arizona Heat
At the beginning, I mentioned that I'm the president of Vaucluse Gear, where we love to sweat less and explore more. Let me walk you through some gear I use that actually helps me stay cool. You'll see from the pictures that my shirt was pretty much dry because I’ve found a hack for staying cool and comfortable, even when I’m outside in Arizona heat. Since you’re going to pack a lot of cold water bottles, stuff them in a backpack attached to our Vaucluse Cool-Dry Frame.
I took along this very simple day pack (I think it's about 18 liters). You can see how the cold water is starting to cool this backpack. And what this Cool-Dry Frame does is… it just lifts the pack a little bit away from your back. What is actually happening is the cold air from the backpack coincides, or “mingles,” with the hot air from your back. All that heat is building up while you’re hiking. The two mix together, and the result is that you have a cool air conditioning unit on your back.
So rather than having a backpack stuck to you, where heat can't dissipate (one key thing about getting cooler is that sweat/heat needs to evaporate, and if it's not evaporating, your body can't get cooler), why not do what comes naturally? Allow that hot air to just evaporate by having a gap there. Allow that hot air to be impacted by the cool air. Just imagine, you’ve been hiking the entire time, and you feel like you've got a cooling a/c unit on your back!
Personally, after this hike, I wasn't sweating. I probably could have hiked for another hour to an hour and a half, and even though the temperature was likely to go up a lot more, I stayed cool and dry out there in Scottsdale, Arizona. On The Lost Dog Trailhead Loop.
See you on the trails!
- Weather - Sunny, temperatures starting in the low 70s F and climbing to high 70s F.
- Time on trail: 1h47
- Distance around 4.42 miles.
- Elevation gain was 519 feet.
Strava Tracking: You can review the hike's stats on my Strava account by clicking here.
AllTrails Tracking: You can review the trail on my AllTrails account by clicking here.