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Where to Find the Most Scenic Views in Phoenix

Where to Find the Most Scenic Views in Phoenix

One of the best things about living in Phoenix is that you’re always immersed in nature. Even when you’re in the city, you’re surrounded by a variety of gorgeous palm trees.

You don’t need to go very far to enjoy lush foliage and wildflowers. In fact, hiking alone will afford you beautiful rock formations, water falls, rivers, flora, and more.

We like to think of the Valley of the Sun as an urban desert oasis. It’s the perfect coalescence of city life and an outdoor adventure.

And whether you’re looking for saguaro-lined hillsides or a glimmering downtown skyline, we’ve rounded up the best scenic spots for you to enjoy in Phoenix.

Where is the best view of Phoenix?

Many would argue that Camelback Mountain offers the best view of Phoenix. We totally get why – its two summits do offer 360-degree views of the city.

But we like to think outside the box and explore more. Below is a list of the best scenic views in and around the valley.

Best Hiking Views in Phoenix

Truthfully, we’ve never seen a mountain top that we didn’t like. And while Phoenix mountains are no exception, here are some of the best summits in the area.

1. Hole in the Rock, Papago Park

Hole in the Rock, Papago Park

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Entrance Point: 625 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008

Hours Open: Monday to Sunday, 5AM–7PM

Hole in the Rock is a popular viewing point that overlooks Papago Park amidst the city skyline. You need to do a 30-minute hike in order to reach it.

The hike is relatively easy and is considered to be beginner-friendly. It starts off flat, but the rest of the way will have you climbing up man-made steps.

What’s great is that the hike alone will already give you beautiful views of the striking red buttes in the area. They’re quite fascinating, especially when the sun hits them right before it sets.

Where do you park for Hole in the Rock Phoenix?

You may leave your car at the parking lot right at the main entrance of Papago Park on N Galvin Parkway. Note that the guards are strict about the park’s closing hours, so try to return before then to avoid getting a ticket.

2. Dobbins Lookout, South Mountain Park and Preserve

Dobbins Lookout, South Mountain Park and Preserve

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Entrance Point: Main parking lot of South Mountain Park and Preserve, 10919 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85042

Hours Open: Monday to Sunday, 5AM–7PM

Dobbins Lookout is the highest point of South Mountain Park and Preserve. You can reach it either via hiking Holbert Trail or a quick 5-mile drive.

If you plan on hiking it, allot at least 2 hours of your time. It’s a 6.4-km out-and-back trail that’s considered to be moderately challenging. 

It’s a very popular trail, though, so don’t worry about getting lost or climbing alone. You’ll most likely encounter a lot of other people throughout the hike.

If you decide on simply driving up, the road leading to the top is also quite a scenic drive. We suggest timing your arrival before the sun dips as well, and if you’re lucky, you’ll witness a truly ethereal sunset.

Do you have to pay to go to Dobbins Lookout?

No. Entrance to the park and hiking the trail is completely free.

3. Lookout Mountain Summit, Lookout Mountain Preserve

Lookout Mountain Summit, Lookout Mountain Preserve

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Entrance Point: Lookout Mountain Trailhead, 15600 N. 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85022

Hours Open: Monday to Sunday, 5:30AM–10PM

Lookout Mountain Preserve is a municipal park located northside of Phoenix. The hike to the summit usually takes less than an hour and is only a 1.4-km out-and-back trail.

Along the way, you’ll encounter a lot of loose rocks so we suggest wearing proper hiking shoes. The path towards the top will also require a bit of scrambling.

If you plan on hiking at night, bring a flashlight and a headlight with you. It can get really dark around this area and it doesn’t help that the trail isn’t well-marked.

But, you do get unobstructed views of the city at the summit! It’s a pretty magical sight at night to watch the glittering city skyline.

Can you drive to the top of Lookout Mountain Phoenix?

Unfortunately, no. You’ll need to do the hike in order to reach the mountain summit.

4. Sonoran Desert Nature Loop, Desert Botanical Garden

Sonoran Desert Nature Loop, Desert Botanical Garden

Image Source: Desert Botanical Garden


Entrance Point: 201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008

Hours Open: Monday to Sunday, 9AM–5PM

Ticket Rates: $24.95 for adults; $14.95 for kids

We’re laying low for this one. If you want stunning desert views of cacti and wildflowers, then you might want to try out the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop trail.

It’s one of the many trails that the Desert Botanical Garden offers. Here, you’ll find sweeping mountain views, a cacti forest, and telescopes for some long-range sights.

You’ll also learn about survival strategies of desert plants and animals along this trail. Bring your kids along and make it a fun family day out!

What day is free at Desert Botanical Garden?

Take advantage of free admission to the garden every second Tuesday of the month.

5. Piestewa Peak Summit, Piestewa Peak Park

Piestewa Peak Summit, Piestewa Peak Park

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Entrance Point: 2701 E Squaw Peak Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Hours Open: Monday to Sunday, 5AM–7PM

To get to the summit of Piestewa Peak, you’ll need to take the 3.4-km out-and-back trail leading up to it. It takes an average of less than 2 hours to complete.

The climb is rocky and steep, but there is a lot of good footing. The most challenging part is the quick elevation trail, but once you get past that, you get a gorgeous view of nature at its finest.

Our suggestion is to come and hike it from October to March. This is because the weather is a lot cooler and you may even spot some wildflowers blooming along the way.

Also note that dogs are strictly not allowed on this trail. It’s best to leave them at home or at a dog boarding facility.

How hard of a hike is Piestewa Peak?

Generally, the hike is considered to be moderately challenging. This is largely due to the mountain’s rocky nature and steep elevation.

5. Tom’s Thumb, McDowell Mountain Range

Tom’s Thumb, McDowell Mountain Range

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Entrance Point: Tom’s Thumb Trail, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

Hours Open: Monday to Sunday, Sunrise to Sunset

For a challenging but rewarding view, conquer Tom’s Thumb trail. The summit will give you a stunning view of the southern Mcdowell Mountains amidst the busy city.

Here’s a fun little fact about its name: it was named after Tom Kreuser, a member of the Arizona Mountaineering Club who first climbed it over 45 years ago.

Along the way, you’ll spot a good variety of mountain flora and fauna. It’s managed by the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy so it’s pretty clean and well-marked.

Just a reminder that there are no water stations along this trail, so bring plenty of water to stay hydrated!

How long of a hike is Tom’s Thumb?

Tom’s Thumb is an out-and-back trail that spans 6.4 km-long. It generally takes an average of 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete.

6. Shaw Butte, North Mountain Park

Shaw Butte, North Mountain Park

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Entrance Point: 12898 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85004

Hours Open: Monday to Sunday, 5AM–11PM

Shaw Butte is a distinct landmark across the northern valley skyline. Standing at over 2,000 feet, it offers a moderately challenging trail that gives a scenic view of the city.

The trail to the top takes an average of a little over 2 hours. It’s rocky, hot, and super steep, so you may want to lather on sunscreen and use proper hiking shoes.

It’s a pretty straightforward climb but it’s not as well-traveled as other trails. So, we suggest bringing a map with you or just use your phone as a guide to avoid losing track.

How long is Shaw Butte hike?

The out-and-back trail spans a little over 6.8 km long. It’s open year-round and is lovely to visit at any month.

8. Pinnacle Peak, Pinnacle Peak Park

Pinnacle Peak, Pinnacle Peak Park

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Entrance Point: 12898 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85004

Hours Open: Monday to Sunday, 5AM–11PM

The Pinnacle Peak is another popular viewing point of the city as it offers multiple scenic views throughout the hike.

Past the half-mile marker, the Grandview rest stop gives climbers a panoramic view of the valley. Up further, one can see the Mcdowell Mountains in the distance, while Camelback Mountain is visible from Owls Rest stop.

We will point out, though, that this mountain does tend to get crowded. We recommend coming early in the day to enjoy its serene surroundings.

Is Pinnacle Peak trail hard?

Pinnacle Peak is regarded as a moderately challenging trail. It requires some elevation climb and takes an average of 2 hours and 15 minutes to finish.

Best Dining Views in Phoenix

Now who doesn’t love a romantic dinner with gorgeous views in the background? Thankfully, Phoenix is home to a lot of scenic restaurants and bars that just truly elevate the dining experience.

1. Rustler’s Rooste

Rustler’s Rooste

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Address: 8383 S 48th St, Phoenix, AZ 85044

Contact Number: (602) 431-6474

Hours Open: Monday to Thursday, 5PM–9PM; Friday, 5PM–10PM; Saturday, 4:30PM–10PM; Sunday, 4:30PM–9PM

Rustler’s Rooste is a mountaintop restaurant that’s famous for their world-class steaks and ribs. Apart from the heavy meat, they also serve some mean chicken and the freshest seafood.

Seating at their patio is divine. It gives an unparalleled view of the sweeping mountains in the far distance and glimmering city lights.

It’s such a nice ambience that a lot of special events actually make use of their restaurant as a venue. It’s such a romantic setup for a wedding reception and even a birthday celebration.

We recommend booking a reservation as soon as you can, as they’re usually pretty full.

2. Different Pointe of View

Different Pointe of View

Image Source: Different Pointe of View


Address: 11111 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85020

Contact Number: (602) 866-6350

Hours Open: Tuesday to Saturday, 5PM–9PM; Sunday, 5PM–8:30PM; Monday, CLOSED

Sitting atop Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort is quite literally, a Different Pointe of View. It’s a AAA Four Diamond-rated American restaurant that is just lovely for romantic dinners.

Floor-to-ceiling windows make you feel as though you’re dining on top of the world, or the valley, for that matter. You get a breathtaking glimpse of the city’s desert landscape and twinkling lights, all amidst a vivid sunset if you time your visit right.

It’s truly a dining experience like no other. If you’re ever in the area, we think it’s absolutely worth the treat.

3. Christopher’s


Image Source: Christopher’s


Address: 2501 E Telawa Trail, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Contact Number: (602) 522-2344

Hours Open: Tuesday to Saturday, 5PM–10PM; Sunday to Monday, CLOSED

Christopher’s is the in-house restaurant at Wrigley Mansion. At the helm of its kitchen is James Beard award-winning chef, Christopher Gross. 

What’s unique about them is that menu options change weekly. They offer 8-course tasting menus that are as spectacular as the view.

Here, city and mountain views are graciously displayed through floor-to-ceiling windows. Whether you’re dining inside or al fresco, it won’t take much to appreciate the beauty of the desert below.

4. J&G Steakhouse

J&G Steakhouse

Image Source: J&G Steakhouse


Address: 6000 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Contact Number: (480) 214-8000

Hours Open: Sunday to Thursday, 5PM–9PM; Friday to Saturday, 5PM–10PM

Like most entries on this list, J&G Steakhouse gives diners an awesome view of the glimmering metro and the distant sweeping mountains.

The restaurant itself is nestled at the foot of Camelback Mountain at The Phoenician resort and serves award-winning prime meats. Think juicy, thick, and cooked-to-perfection steaks – it’s safe to say that carnivores will be very happy here.

You may opt to dine under the stars or enjoy a private room. We’re partial to the former, of course!

5. Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock

Image Source: Top of the Rock


Address: 2000 W Westcourt Way, Tempe, AZ 85282

Contact Number: (602) 431-2370

Hours Open: Thursday to Sunday, 5PM–9PM; Monday to Wednesday, CLOSED

In our humble opinion, Top of the Rock is one of the most romantic restaurants in Phoenix. It’s a fine dining establishment that serves scrumptious farm-to-table cuisine with panoramic views of the city skyline beneath.

Located at Marriott Phoenix Resort Tempe at The Buttes, the very ambience of the place is a coalescence of elegance and taste. We love how modern but warm the interior is, as well as the rustic al fresco layout.

As for the food, it’s mostly contemporary American fare spun with their chef’s unique twists. The menu changes all the time, so expect a new gastronomic experience at every visit.

6. Orange Sky

Orange Sky

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Address: 9800 East, Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85256

Contact Number: (480) 850-8606

Hours Open: Sunday and Tuesday to Wednesday, 5PM–10PM; Friday to Saturday, 5PM–11PM; Monday, CLOSED

On the other side of the city is Orange Sky, a fine dining restaurant located at Scottsdale’s Talking Stick Resort. Here, you’ll be able to get a glimpse of the urban desert from a different point of view.

Chef Martin Yepez is the genius of the kitchen. Each dish prepared is seemingly a taste of the Sonoran Desert itself – fresh, invigorating, and elegant in its own unique way.

They also have an excellent selection of cocktail mixes and award-winning wine. Oh, and have we mentioned that they have over 300 bottles and 30 wines by the glass on their menu?

7. From The Rooftop

From The Rooftop

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Address: 222 E Portland St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Contact Number: (602) 675-3500

Hours Open: Monday to Thursday, 4PM–10PM; Friday, 4PM–1AM; Saturday, 10AM–1AM; Sunday, 10AM–10PM

Happy hour with a happy view, anyone? From The Rooftop offers just that and much more.

Located right at the heart of Downtown Phoenix, this restobar serves small plates and divine drinks. Whether you’re in the mood for a delicious cocktail or a glass of wine, winding down here is just as pleasant as the city views.

The rooftop bar is also open for brunch. There’s not much to choose from off their menu, but it’s really the atmosphere that you’d initially come here for.

8. Floor 13 Rooftop Bar

Floor 13 Rooftop Bar

Image Source: Floor 13 Rooftop Bar


Address: 15 E Monroe St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Contact Number: (602) 396-7168

Hours Open: Monday to Thursday, 5PM–10PM; Friday to Saturday, 5PM–12AM; Sunday, CLOSED

For an uber chic place to enjoy downtown’s sunset, Floor 13 Rooftop Bar would be an excellent choice. The spacious sundeck gives a glorious view of the city and the mountains behind it.

During the day, you can relax at one of their comfortable recliners and pore through a good book. Come happy hour, the place lights up and comes alive with people dancing and winding the day down.

We think that they have one of the best drink concoctions in the area. It’s not a lot to choose from, but the people behind the bar are some seriously skilled cocktail mixers.

So, where are you headed first? We’d love to hear your thoughts and any other suggestions for scenic spots in Phoenix down below!

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