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hiking trail past a cactus towards a rock formation at a state park near scottsdale arizonaWhen it comes to state parks, Arizona has 33 that fall within its overall system.

Showcasing a wonderful and diverse landscape that includes soaring mountains, gaping chasms, rampaging rivers, beautiful meadows, stunning lakes and vibrant forest, they are also rich in history, and culture too.

For residents of Scottsdale, many of these state parks are located within easy driving distance of the city. Open all year round, they all provide excellent opportunities for you to explore the wonders of nature.

Whether you are into swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, geocaching or camping there are plenty of options available in terms of places you can go.

Below is a list of five such public recreational areas you might want to visit, next time you feel the urge to explore the great outdoors.

Map of State Parks Near Scottsdale, AZ

Here is a map of the state parks in Arizona covered by this post:

List of State Parks Near Scottsdale

All five of the state parks near Scottsdale presented below can all be reached within a driving time of less than 3 hours.

If you are looking for overnight accommodation, they all provide terrific options for camping as well.

1. Lost Dutchman State Park

Location: 6109 N Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ 85119

At just a 40 minute drive west from the city, Lost Dutchman State Park is the closest park on this list to Scottsdale.

Named after the infamous lost gold mine, this park is located at the foothills of the imposing Superstition Mountains in the Sonoran Desert. Several trails will take you deep into its wilderness, while also leading you to the nearby Tonto National Forest.

As well as the hiking trails, the park has a four mile bike loop that will take you round the mountains too. Along the way you may encounter coyotes, mule deer, jackrabbit and javelina and a range of other wildlife.

In terms of camping, Lost Dutchman offers a range of sites that are suitable for tents and RVs. In addition, it also has a number of cabin options, which convey terrific views of the mountains.

Furnished with a comfortable queen-sized bed, as well as up to two sets of bunk beds, these cabins provide fabulous sleeping options throughout the year. They are very well appointed and all come with air-conditioning and heating, as well as electricity, a ceiling fan and chairs. Many of them are wheelchair accessible too, so can be used by those afflicted with disabilities.

2. Picacho Peak State Park

Location: 15520 Picacho Peak Rd, Picacho, AZ 85141

The Picacho Peak State Park can be reached via a one hour and 15 minute drive south from Scottsdale.

Characterized by the incredible Picacho Peak, which towers some 1500-feet high, the park is known for its excellent hiking trails that take you on a winding journey into the spectacular Sonoran desert. Some of them showcase stunning fields of wildflowers, as you make your way up to the top of the peak.

A noted spot for wildlife and birdwatching, you should be able to see desert mule deer, foxes and javelina during your time at the park. Picacho park also boasts an engaging visitor center that displays a range of interesting exhibits.

The campground here accommodates 85 electric sites for RVs and tents, while there is also a playground, as well as a store and several picnic areas to enjoy.

3. Catalina State Park

Location: 11570 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85737

Situated at the base of the impressive Santa Catalina Mountain range, the Catalina State Park is located an hour and 45 minutes drive south of Scottsdale.

Home to almost 5,000 saguaros and 150 species of birds, this park is a haven for desert flora and fauna.

It is set across 5,500 breathtaking acres of canyons, foothills and streams and is also known for its endless miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. Taking you deeper into the Coronado National Forest at elevations that reach 3,000 feet.

The campground here has 120 water and electric sites, as well as modern flush toilets, hot showers, an RV dump station, BBQ grill and a picnic table.

4. Alamo Lake State Park

Location: Alamo Rd, Wenden, AZ 85357

For those who love angling, the Alamo State Park is somewhere you should definitely visit.

It will take you about 2 hours and 30 minutes to drive west there from Scottsdale but once you are there, you will be afforded plenty of opportunities to fish for bluegill, bass, channel catfish, crappie and tilapia.

Flanked by an imperious mountain landscape and replete with brush, cacti and wildflowers, this public recreation space is also a fabulous place to enjoy hiking and biking activities.

Bird watching is also a popular pastime, with bald and golden eagles frequenting the area, whilst wildlife like mule deer, wild burros, coyotes and waterfowl make regular appearances.

The park features two campgrounds onsite, which collectively have 63 sites available, as well as cabins. Both of these sites offer wonderful bases to take in some of the clearest views of the stars at night you will ever see.

5. River Island State Park

Location: 5200 AZ-95, Parker, AZ 85344

About a 2 hour and 45 minute drive northwest from Scottsdale you’ll find the fabulous River Island State Park.

Incorporating 1677 acres, this public recreational space lies on the scenic banks of the Colorado River. This makes it a great spot to enjoy recreational water based activities like jet-skiing, SUP, paddleboarding, kayaking and boating.

Fishing is also very popular here too and there is also a comely beach and cove, with a nice expanse of sand, where you can swim and sunbathe.

Relatively busy throughout the year, this lovely park provides 37 campsites for visitors. Eight of these are located down by the beachfront and come with water and 20-amp service and water.

In addition to a boat launch and ramada, it also has a splendid hiking trail that guides you up Wedge Hill for amazing views of the Colorado River and the surrounding area.