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4.6
150 votes

McDowell Mountain Regional Park Campground

16300 McDowell Mountain Park Dr., Scottsdale, Arizona 85262 USA

$
Budget
Open Now
Thu 6a-8p
  • Independent
  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair
    Accessible
  • Public
    Restrooms
  • Outdoor
    Seating
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“A desert jewel in the Northwest Valley”

Nestled in the lower Verde River basin, the 21,099-acre park is a desert jewel in the northeast Valley. Elevations in the park rise to 3,000 feet along the western boundary at the base of the McDowell Mountains. Visitors enjoy a full program schedule, over 50 miles of multiuse trails, and spectacular views of the surrounding mountain ranges. A stroll through the park will allow visitors to likely see deer, javelina, birds, and coyotes. McDowell Mountain Regional Park offers over 40 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails. Park Trails range in length from 0.5 miles to 15.3 miles and range in difficulty from easy to strenuous. Those looking for an easy hike should try the North Trail at 3.1 miles. Those looking for a good workout for themselves or their horses should try the Pemberton at 15.3 miles. All trails are multi-use unless otherwise designated. All trail users are encouraged to practice proper trail etiquette. Always remember to carry plenty of water and let someone know where you are going.

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Reviews of McDowell Mountain Regional Park Campground

38 people have reviewed this location

Ratings Summary

4.8 Access
4.8 Location
5.0 Cleanliness
4.9 Site Quality
4.8 Noise

Cell Coverage

Verizon 4G/5G

Confirmed by 20 users | Last reported on May 12, 2024

AT&T 4G

Confirmed by 10 users | Last reported on April 13, 2023

T-Mobile 4G

Confirmed by 5 users | Last reported on February 16, 2021

Reviews

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Reviewed by
Campendium

December 13, 2014
Rated

This is one of our favorite campgrounds. The sites are huge, mostly level gravel, and well-spaced. Each site has electric and water but no sewer. The dump station is well laid out and restrooms are clean with plenty of hot water but it would be nice if the buildings were heated in winter. There are over 50 miles of excellent trails for mountain biking and hiking.
It's 7 miles to the upscale community of Fountain Hills for shopping, and just a few more miles to Scottsdale and the Mayo Clinic, which is one reason we stay here. For being so close to the Phoenix area this campground feels very remote. We love it here and come back every winter. Although the Maricopa County Parks have a 14 day stay limit, that is only per site. As long as you move to another site every 14 days you can stay as long as you want. And quite a few people stay here the entire winter. The rates were just raised from $25 to $30 this past summer, which we feel is too high, but the beauty of the desert and the trails make it worth the price. We've check around the area and there really aren't any less expensive alternatives.

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Nightly Rate: $30.00

Days Stayed: 7

Site Number: Various sites

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
- Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

Verizon 4G

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Reviewed by
Campendium

March 23, 2015
Rated

We return here every year and really enjoy visiting with friends in the area as well as mountain biking. We are very burned out on the size of Phoenix (which is only our fault for continuing to go in there shopping, eating or touring almost every day).

Sites are big, clean and well maintained. The hosts do an excellent job with the entire area and the bathrooms are very clean. They even rake your sites into a nice zen garden pattern between guests. Views on the outside loop are great. Every site has a fire ring, grill and picnic table.

We had many fires as we watched the full moon rise and listened to the coyotes. Hard to believe that we were just over the hill from a major metropolis area.

Fountain Hills is the closest grocery and services. As a retirement town the cars move slowly and services are a bit lacking. The Safeway is good - but don't look for a Whole Foods or farmers market nearby.

Here is a little more about ALL the things we did while at McDowell
http://2wanderaway.com/?p=158

UPDATED - Back again in 2016 and enjoying the park. We were unable to get T-Mobile service except with a booster and even then, just barely.

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Nightly Rate: -

Days Stayed: 14

Site Number: -

4 Access
4 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
4 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

Verizon 4G

T-Mobile 4G

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Reviewed by
Campendium

March 28, 2015
Rated

This is a wonderful setting. The scenery goes on for ever, it looks like it will never end. We stayed for 2 weeks which is probably a little too long for us. We wanted to use it as a base not only for the local hiking but also to check out some of the sights in Scottsdale and Phoenix, but we found that the vast distances to everywhere and the not inconsiderable traffic in this area started to wear us down.

The nearest town Fountain Hills is a cute retirement community, with a decent Safeway. But for better eats and stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts and Trader Joes we made the trek into Scottsdale. There are some pretty decent breweries in Scottsdale too (O.S.H.O and Fate were our favorites).

The campground itself is very well maintained and has lots of clean showers, so we could stretch our tanks to the limits. You have to move sites every 14 days here, and there does seem to be a lot of people who do that.

Unlike some other desert parks, you don't really get great sunsets here, but we did have some fabulous moon rises, and the coyotes welcomed the moon each night with a fabulous chorus!

The cell coverage was good here, but at times the Verizon tower was overloaded and the speeds were tortoise-like. We had to switch to AT&T a number of times.

The sites are large and spaced out well from each other, lots of privacy. Really a great spot, just remember if you use it as a base for touring the Greater Phoenix area be porepared for some serious car time.

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Nightly Rate: $30.00

Days Stayed: 14

Site Number: 74

5 Access
4 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
5 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

Verizon 4G

AT&T 4G

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Reviewed by
Campendium

March 21, 2016
Rated

We really enjoyed our stay at McDowell Mountain. Most of the sites are quite spacious, the restrooms and showers are top notch, and there are many miles of walking/hiking trails which we explored with our dogs (the park was very dog friendly). The views consist of mountains and desert as far as you can see in every direction (at the top of each hour you can see the famous Fountain Hills fountain to the south). The area was very quiet except for an occasional airplane overhead and the evening and morning coyote howls. During our stay we saw plenty of rabbits, jackrabbits, roadrunners, and one coyote. The campground has two loops, with the south loop having more spacious sites. We were in the north loop which we thought was perfectly nice too. The campground accepts UPS and FedEx packages for campers (pick up at the visitor center), but not US Mail. While there are plenty of restaurants and stores in Fountain Hills, be aware that it's a bit of a drive (20 minutes) to get there from the campground. We are looking forward to staying here again.

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This reviewer would stay here again
4 Access
3 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
5 Noise
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Reviewed by
Campendium

February 27, 2017
Rated

Here'a a secret: You don't need to book a reservation 6 months in advance to stay at this park. You can just drive in and park in overflow!

Of course, you don't get hookups. And it's $20 per night, which may seem steep at first.

But then you settle into this little corner of the park, grab a "spot" in the designated parking area, and promptly jump on your bike and hit the trails. When you come back, you'll meet the nice camp host who manages this "mountain bike area". He takes your money if you came in after 5pm the night before.

You'll notice by now a few more campers have joined you- a friendly lot of mostly cyclists and folks just stopping through. They lounge around in an unorganized but inviting manor that may just entice you to grab a beer and join the crowd.

But first you head off to the showers- brand new facilities purposed for the day-use trail users. But no matter, they're for you too. And you'll enjoy the cleanliness and hot water from a shower that isn't used all that often.

At night, your neighbors go to bed early, because they are up early for more riding, hiking, birding; whatever they're there for. And you're up with them to marvel at the beauty that surrounds you.

So if you didn't reserve that spot 6 months in advance, no worries. This park has you covered.

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Nightly Rate: $20.00

Days Stayed: 5

Site Number: Overflow

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
5 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

Verizon 4G

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Reviewed by
Campendium

October 25, 2017
Rated

McDowell Mountain is a beautiful place for mountain biking, hiking, camping, and stargazing. We enjoyed our stay.

It's only 45 minutes from home, so the only reason we camped there was for a high school mountain biking race weekend. The campground is about two miles from the competitive track, so it wasn't super close to go back and forth but it was still more convenient than going home each night.

The sites are spacious and very far apart. Our site was a bit on a hill, but we were able to level the trailer easily. You have plenty of room and plenty of privacy from neighbors. Most sites are back-ins, but there are a few pull-throughs too. There's a grill and fire ring at each site. The restrooms and showers were clean and well-kept. Dump station was fine.

The camp hosts were kind and friendly. The park rangers or volunteers at the gate and visitors center are grumpy and a bit mean. We requested a late check out, and I suppose because so many other campers made similar requests due to the races, they pushed back and threatened to charge us for an entire day just so we could leave at 4:30 instead of noon. No one had reserved our site that night, so they finally let it slide but not after a lot of negotiating. It was the only sour note of the weekend, though, and they eventually grew a heart and listened to reason.

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This reviewer would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $30.00

Days Stayed: 2

Site Number: 36

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
5 Noise
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Reviewed by
Campendium

January 29, 2018
Rated

We love this park. Tons of trails just a short walk from your campsite. We enjoyed hiking them and biking during our stay. Lovely views of the surrounding mountains and desert terrain. Our site was very spacious and level. We did note some of the sites did have a big slope to the front so when we return next year to make sure not to get one of those. Facilities are clean and nice. Dump station looks fine and lots of room. The town of Fountain Hills is 10 minutes away and has everything you might need. A nice big g lake and park to walk around there too. We will be back!

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This reviewer would stay here again

Nightly Rate: -

Days Stayed: 5

Site Number: 35

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
5 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

Verizon 4G

AT&T 4G

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Reviewed by
Campendium

October 23, 2018
Rated

We stayed here for another "fall" weekend during a high school mountain bike race. It's still in the mid-high 80s during the day and the mid 60s at night, but the scenery that surrounds this campground is overwhelmingly beautiful.

Plus, they've paved all the roads throughout the campground so it's smooth sailing. It's super roomy, so even huge rigs can get around this place with ease.

Camp hosts keep the sites and bathrooms super clean, and they enforce the rules in order to keep things looking good so that everyone has an awesome experience. All sites have water and electric so zero generator noise. The only sounds we heard were the coyotes in the evening and night.

We live only an hour away from here, but I'm not opposed to staycationing here whenever we have a few days to spare. Plenty of trails to hike or bike. Love it!

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This reviewer would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $30.00

Days Stayed: 2

Site Number: 36

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
5 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

T-Mobile 4G

Reviewed by
BettyView

  • 17 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
October 31, 2018
Rated

We had the best time at this park. Being from Oklahoma I expected the desert to be hot, sandy and brown. I was pleasantly surprised by how green it was. We were there for an ultra running event so the park was completely full, but there was so much space between the sites we did not feel crowded at all. My only disappointment was I did not see any wildlife, only birds. Site had electric and water. The park has one dump station. The extra water faucet at the dump station was broken so we had trouble shutting it off, a park employee stopped by and said they had the part to fix, but didn’t want to shit the water off since everyone was departing. I’m sure we will return again.
I did not use the restrooms but did look inside and they were clean and showers were free.

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BettyView would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $32.00

Days Stayed: 4

Site Number: 78

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
5 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

AT&T 4G

Photo of Campendium

Reviewed by
Campendium

December 09, 2018
Rated

Campsites are very widely spaced and immaculate. The gravel is artfully raked between visitors.
We stayed in the RV section, and tent area, both were very nice.
Good variety of mountain bike and hiking trails too.

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This reviewer would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $22.00

Days Stayed: 5

Site Number: 9, 5

4 Access
4 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
5 Noise

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McDowell Mountain Regional Park Campground

16300 McDowell Mountain Park Dr.
Scottsdale, Arizona
85262 USA
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Hours

Open now until 8:00 pm
  • Sun - Thu: 6:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Fri, Sat: 6:00 am - 10:00 pm

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  • Check
    Parking
  • Check
    Pets Allowed
  • Check
    Restrooms
  • Unknown
    Wifi
  • Check
    Wheelchair Accessible
  • Unknown
    Credit Cards Accepted
Affiliation
Other public land (TVA, DOD, county parks with campgrounds)
Last Nightly Rate
28.0
Longest Vehicle Length Reported
42.0
Lowest Nightly Rate
3.0
Max Length
45 ft
Max Stay
14
Sites Count
76
Standard Tent Sites Count
76
  • Check
    Paved Sites
  • Unavailable
    Fifty Amp
  • Unavailable
    Full Hookup
  • Check
    Rec Facilities
  • Unavailable
    Pull Through
  • Check
    Tent Sites
  • Check
    Dump Station
  • Check
    Big Rigs
  • Unavailable
    Open Seasonally
  • Unavailable
    Age Restricted
  • Unavailable
    Boondock
  • Unavailable
    Cabin Sites
  • Unavailable
    Dispersed Sites
  • Unavailable
    Firewood
  • Unavailable
    Fulltime Residents
  • Check
    Group Tent Sites
  • Unavailable
    Laundry
  • Unavailable
    Mobile Homes
  • Unavailable
    Permit Required
  • Check
    Potable Water
  • Unavailable
    Propane
  • Check
    Public Water
  • Unavailable
    Pull Through RV Sites
  • Check
    Reservations
  • Unavailable
    Sewer Hookup
  • Check
    Showers
  • Check
    Sites
  • Check
    Standard Tent Sites
  • Unavailable
    Vehicle Wash Permitted
  • Check
    Water Hookup
  • Check
    Outdoor Seating
Check In
1PM
Check Out
12PM
  • Unavailable
    Adult Only
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