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McDowell Mountains

Coordinates: 33°39′N 111°49′W / 33.650°N 111.817°W / 33.650; -111.817
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McDowell Mountains
Thompson Peak and foothills – a wash with Palo Verde trees and Saguaros
Highest point
PeakEast End
Elevation4,057 ft (1,237 m)
Coordinates33°40′47″N 111°48′01″W / 33.6797°N 111.8004°W / 33.6797; -111.8004
Length25 mi (40 km) (NNW x SSE)-curves to southeast
McDowell Mountains is located in Arizona
McDowell Mountains
McDowell Mountains
McDowell Mountains in Arizona
CountryUnited States
Regions(south perimeter)-Arizona transition
(northeast perimeter)-Sonoran Desert
Range coordinates33°39′N 111°49′W / 33.650°N 111.817°W / 33.650; -111.817
Borders onNew River Mountains-NNW
Mazatzal Mountains-NNE & E
Verde River-E
Salt River (Arizona)-SE & S
Phoenix metro region-W, SW & S
McDowell Mountains
McDowell Mountains at dusk

The McDowell Mountain Range (Yavapai: Wi:kajasa) is located about twenty miles north-east of downtown Phoenix, Arizona, and may be seen from most places throughout the city. The range is composed of miocene deposits left nearly five million years ago. The McDowells share borders with the cities of Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, and Maricopa County. The city of Scottsdale has made its share of the McDowells a preserve, and has set up a wide trail network in partnership with the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy was established in 1991. The highest peak in the McDowells is East End, at 4,069 feet (1,240 m). This mountain range also serves as a sacred marker to the Yavapai people. The boundaries of the range are generally defined by Saddleback Mountain in the South and Granite Mountain as the Northern boundary. The McDowells also comprise popular landmarks such as Pinnacle Peak and Tom's Thumb. Although technically a stand-alone, Mt. McDowell (referred to as Red Mountain by Phoenix residents), not to be confused with McDowell Peak, is sometimes listed on maps as a part of the McDowell Mountains.


The McDowell Mountain Range at sunset


  • Thompson, C. (2004), Valley 101.

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