Pretty plams and waterfront views along the scottsdale Greenbelt

The Scottsdale Greenbelt, also known as the Indian Bend Wash path, is a wonderful 11 mile paved recreational trail which enables you to enjoy the natural beauty of the desert away from the endless strip malls, restaurants, & apartment complexes. This beautiful path will take you through parks, golf courses, and lakes.

Pretty grass and trees along the Scottsdale Greenbelt
Scenic golf course views along the Scottsdale Greenbelt
Scenic water views along the Scottsdale Greenbelt
Pretty mountain view along the Scottsdale Greenbelt Path

A lush ride through the desert

All different sorts of desert and tropical plants line this scenic route. The surroundings are so lush, that at times, you will almost forget that you are in the desert, that is until you see a beautiful Saguaro cactus. This amazing cactus, found naturally only in the Sonoran desert, is truly a beautiful & unique looking plant.

Beautiful plant life along the Scottsdale Greenbelt
Scottsdale Greenbelt waterfront views
Desert plant life along the Scottsdale Greenbelt
Pretty yellow tree along the Scottsdale Greenbelt
Prickly pear cactus and flowers along the Scottsdale Greenbelt
Cactus along the Scottsdale Greenbelt
Saguaro cactus along the Scottsdale Greenbelt

A peaceful escape from suburbia

The trail is quiet and relaxing, and fortunately for anyone using it, not very popular. There are barely any road crossings, so no noisy traffic to distract your ride.

The distance is perfect for long distance running or a leisurely bike ride. The entire path is flat without any hills, making it a great choice for anyone wanting to take it easy. Winter, fall, and early spring are the best times to enjoy the path due to the milder temperatures.

A beautiful hiking alternative

Taking a bike ride, jog, or walk along this path is a wonderful alternative to hiking. Although hiking in the desert is great, it can get repetitive after a while. As most of Arizona’s trails are more suited towards mountain biking due to the challenging uphill & rocky terrain, the Scottsdale Greenbelt comes as a nice easy, paved alternative for the more casual cyclist. The trail reminds me of all the beautiful flat paths back I have enjoyed on the East coast.

Biking the scenic Scottsdale Greenbelt along the water

Coffee with a view

On the more scenic portion of the trail, you will pass the gorgeous Scottsdale waterfront area. Be sure to treat yourself to a delicious espresso drink at Altitude Coffee Lab (now Press Coffee). Conveniently located right on the waterfront, it’s the perfect place to refresh with an energizing espresso drink and light snack. And, it’s got the coziest little outdoor patio with comfy couches and great views of the water, basically the perfect setting for kicking back for a bit before continuing on with your workout.

Espresso drinks at Altitudes Coffee Lab in Scottsdale AZ
Waterfront patio at Altitudes Coffee Lab in Scottsdale AZ
View of the Scottsdale waterfront from Altitudes Coffee Lab

The hidden gem of Scottsdale

Overall, biking or walking the Scottsdale Greenbelt is one of the best things to do in the area (as long as you plan your visit during the attractive cooler months!). In an area loaded with so many man-made attractions, it’s great to have this little hidden gem to escape the congestion for a bit.

Take this time to explore some of the natural scenery surrounding the city and suburbs. The desert truly is one of the most unique and visually spectacular places in the country – you just have to get out there away from the stores to see it! Every area, even the most congested cities, seem to have their own little hidden treasures for escaping the clutter: the Scottsdale Greenbelt is one of the Phoenix metro area’s most underappreciated gems.

Anyone looking for a relaxed, easy trail as opposed to a rough & tough hiking or mountain biking adventure should truly appreciate this great little trail.

Tips for a great ride

*Plan for an early morning start to avoid the heat.

*Avoid summer rides. Obviously it will be much too hot. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are common during Phoenix’s intense summer months. If you must, plan your ride before 7am, drink extra water and eat salty snacks to balance your electrolytes, keep the distance as short as possible, and take frequent breaks.

*Start at one of the many parks located along the trail for easy access & free parking. Check out the Greenbelt map to plan your starting location.

*Bring with plenty of water. I recommend a hydration pack that you can conveniently wear as a backpack.

*Fill up with a great breakfast at Scramble, one of the best local restaurants in the Scottsdale area.