If you came to Scottsdale for the desert and you love to hike and climb, head to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Sunrise Peak Trail– also known as Sunrise Trail – is part of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, a sustainable desert habitat in Scottsdale. Sunrise Peak is a great way to get that panoramic view of the surrounding area you’ve been looking for!

McDowell Sonoran Preserve

The largest nature reserve/urban park in the country, McDowell Sonoran Preserve has over 30,500 acres and 180 miles of trails. The Preserve is a system of interconnected, multi-use trails that are accessed from multiple trailheads. You can bike, jog, hike or ride horseback along any of these scenic trails. The trails in the Sunrise Peak Trail in Scottsdale vary in length, difficulty and terrain and there are accessible trails and designated rock climbing areas too.

Trails wind through towering saguaro cacti, teddy bear cacti and other desert plants. Be on the lookout for desert wildlife too: desert tortoises, spikey horntoads, woodpeckers, roadrunners, snakes and various iguanas and lizards (including the skittish but colorful chuckwalla).

Sunrise Peak Trail

Sunrise Trailhead starts in a residential area, but you’ll soon forgot about that as you are quickly surrounded by the desert and head upward toward the peak. This trail is rated as moderate and is great exercise. Sunrise Peak Trail is an out-and-back hike with several steep sections and is one of the Preserve’s few trails that reaches to the top of a peak.

Amazing 360° views of the surrounding peaks of the McDowell Mountain range and surrounding area is worth the effort to get to the top! Time your stop at the peak for the top of the hour and you’ll be rewarded with a view of the Fountain Hills Fountain. There is a marked viewpoint at 1.2 miles into the hike – great for those Instagram posts – then the climbing really starts as you head for the top.


You’ll find the trailhead at 12101 N. 145th Way. The Preserve where you find Sunrise Peak Trail in Scottsdale is open from sunrise to sunset, but you can check the Preserve’s website for the exact times. Access gates are opened and closed (locked) based on the time of year. And don’t forget, it’s the desert, so bring lots of sunscreen and water, no matter the time of year. Dogs are welcome as long as they stay leashed. And wear good hiking shoes, as the dirt and gravel paths can get slippery. There is a water fountain at the base of the trail but no restrooms, so plan accordingly.

Parsons Villas is here to help you experience the best of Scottsdale. Contact us today to book your stay in one of our Phoenix vacation rentals and  unbeatable villa rentals!

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Part of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve – a sustainable desert habitat in Scottsdale – Brown’s Ranch Trailhead leads to two trails, Brown Ranch Trail and the Jane Rau Trail. If you came to Scottsdale for the desert, the Preserve is the best way to experience it!

McDowell Sonoran Preserve

The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is the largest nature reserve/urban park in the United States, with over 30,500 acres and 180 miles of trails. The Preserve is a system of connected, multi-use trails and is accessed from multiple trailheads. Trails are for non-motorized use only, so leave that electric bike behind. You can bike, jog, hike or ride horseback along these scenic trails. The trails vary in length, difficulty and terrain so there is a trail to fit everyone. There are accessible trails and designated rock climbing areas too.

Useful Links for Brown’s RanchTrailhead

Lost Dog Wash Trail | Browns Ranch Trailhead | Troon Cabin Casita

The trailhead has interpretive exhibits about the history of the Preserve; you can learn and enjoy the desert at the same time. These two trails offer amazing views of the Sonoran Desert and surrounding mountains. Get close to those towering saguaro cacti and other desert plants. Be on the lookout for desert wildlife too: desert tortoises, spikey horntoads, woodpeckers, roadrunners, snakes (including those usual desert dwellers, western diamondbacks), various lizards, mule deer and javelina.

Jane Rau Trail

The Jane Rau Trail is one of the Preserve’s accessible trails, with a roundtrip length of 0.4 miles and no appreciable elevation gain. This loop trail was named for Jane Rau, a local community activist known for her work in establishing the Preserve. Most of this trail is stabilized granite, with several sections made of metal grating and an average grade ranging from 4.8% to 11%.

Brown’s Ranch Trailhead

Brown’s Ranch Trailhead is a moderate trail loop of 3.1 miles, with an elevation gain of +/-100 feet. This trail winds through the old ranch area and is especially beautiful in the spring when the desert wildflowers are in bloom. Stop and enjoy the spectacular desert views from the trail’s many look-out spots – great for picture taking!


You will find the Brown Ranch trailhead entry at 30301 N. Alma School Parkway. Both trails are great for kids and dogs (leashed), and there are maps, restrooms and water available at the trailhead. The Preserve is basically open sunrise to sunset, but you may want to check the Preserve’s website for the exact times; access gates are opened and closed (locked) based on the time of year. Parking at trailheads is free. And don’t forget, it’s the desert, so bring lots of sunscreen and water, no matter the time of year.

Whether you’re here to enjoy time in hiking through the desert or for one of the many other exciting activities throughout Scottsdale, Parsons Villas has the perfect vacation rental for your stay. Be sure to explore our wonderful VRBO rentals in Scottsdale, AZ!

Contact us today to learn more and book your personal Phoenix vacation rental!

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If you’re vacationing in Scottsdale and you want to find something interesting to do in between all those hiking and outdoor desert activities, if you love cars and racing, we’ve got the perfect thing for you: The Penske Racing Museum. The museum is on the first floor, with a gift shop, the Turn 4 Café, and trophy room upstairs, and is free to the public.

Trophy Room

Most people recognize the Penske museum name, but unless you’re a racing enthusiast, you may not know that they have been racing for over 50 years and have over 15 Indy-500 wins and over 30 national championship wins. The trophy room features racing memorabilia – including original trophies – from their entire racing history.

Useful Links for the Penske Racing Museum

Octane Raceway | Penske Auto Mall | Kings 2.0

Cars and Racing at the Penske Museum

Approximately 18 cars are on display at any given time, which is about a third of the entire Penske Racing Collection. Some of the cool cars on display include the March 86C driven by Al Unser Sr. as he won the 1987 Indy-500 (his 4th Indy win), the Dodge Charger driven by Rusty Wallace in his final year in the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup, the Penske PC-6 1979 Indy-500 winner driven by Rick Mears (also driven by Mario Andretti in 1978 for Penske Racing), the March 84C 1984 Indy-500 winner driven by Rick Mears (his 2nd Indy victory), a 1972 Hurst/Olds Cutlass that was the 1972 Indy-500 Pace Car, and the 1973 Porsche IROC RSR driven by Mark Donohue as he won the inaugural IROC race.

Event Venue

If you’re looking for a unique venue for your next gathering, try the Penske Museum. A glass wall on the second floor can fold in, providing plenty of room for indoor events. There is even outdoor space too. The museum can host up to 300 guests and seat 150 for a private dinner. Music, food, and beverages are included when you book the venue, as are Land Rover Test Climbs. Imagine your son or dad’s next birthday party here, or a fun business celebration. And, it would be the perfect starting point for a bachelor party!

Location etc.

The Penske Racing Museum is at 7191 E. Chauncey Lane in Phoenix. The museum is open from 8am to 4pm on Mondays through Saturdays and from 12pm to 5pm on Sundays. The Turn 4 Café is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 3pm and is closed on the weekends.

And, when you’re done looking through the museum, you can browse the nearby Range Rovers, Bentleys, Lamborghinis and Maseratis for sale in the dealership showroom. Then, make sure to reserve only the best Phoenix vacation rentals for your stay with Parsons Villas; browse our available rentals today!

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White Water Rafting in Arizona!

Arizona is known for its beautiful desert scenery and natural wonders, but it is underappreciated for its fun white water rafting. Although the white water rafting season is shorter than in other areas, the waves are still great for rafting! Explore rivers all over Arizona, from Phoenix to Tucson, with AAM’s Mild to Wild Rafting!

Explore the Salt River

Perhaps the best tour in Arizona is along the Salt River! There are raft tours available for ages 8 and up and kayak tours available for ages 16 and up. The Salt River rapids season begins in early March and only lasts for a few months, so you definitely want to book your trip while you still can! On your tour of the Salt River, you will paddle through a 2,000-foot-deep canyon and experience Class II, III, and IV rapids! Mild to Wild’s tours of the Salt River also begin about 1 mile further upstream than other tours, giving you even more rapids to explore.

Tours Available for Every Budget and Time!

Mild to Wild offers tours for all budgets and time constraints. Their most affordable tours are less than $100 a person and are three hours of rapid fun! They also have tours that range from a half day of adventure, all way up to 5 days of camping and rafting. Standard rafts fit 10 people, but there are also premium rafts that are offer a more personalized experience and are good for smaller groups wanting to stay together

Why Choose Mild To Wild?

You can choose any company you’d like for a white-water rafting tour, but you won’t find better service and more fun than with AAM’s Mild to Wild Rafting! This family owned company treats its employees and its customers like family, and the quality of their service makes for a lot of repeat customers and confident referrals. With nearly 25 years of experience, Mild to Wild operates tours in Arizona, Colorado, and Utah and can cater your tour for ages 4 to 84. No matter who you are or how adventurous you want to be, AAM’s Mild to Wild has the perfect rafting tour for you!

Contact Parsons Villas today to learn more about White Water Rafting, or book your vacation rental today!

Westwind Flight Tours

The power and beauty of the Arizona landscape makes it the perfect spot to tour by air. See glorious sunsets, majestic mountains, red rocks, green trees, and of course, the Grand Canyon. When you visit the great Southwest, one of the first vacation expeditions that should be on your bucket list is an airplane tour offered by Westwind Air Service. This company has been in business for over 25 years, and no one knows the area as well as they do. Their skilled pilots know all the places you will want to photograph from above and are recognized as being the safest in town. Offering 10 tours of the Valley, Sedona, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon, your Arizona vacation promises to be an exciting adventure envied by others when you take a Westwind Air Service Tour—keep reading for more information!

Valley of the Sun Tour

Many helicopter and flight tours that are based in the valley tend to ignore the rugged beauty that is our home town, but not Westwind! Their 45-minute Valley of the Sun Tour shows off the glamour of the Sonoran Desert in ways you just can’t experience from the ground.

Sedona Flight Tours

Not willing to be satisfied with the normal flight tours, Westwind Air Service offers three different Sedona Tours: Aerial Tour, Aerial & Jeep Tour, and our personal favorite, Air & Wine Tour. Taking off in Deer Valley and landing in Sedona, you then move on to their Limobus for a wine tour through the Verde Valley.

Grand Canyon Tours

Four different Grand Canyon tours offer four magically different flight experiences. Enjoy a flight only tour, or one that includes air and ground fun, including a three-mile hike!

Scenic Air and One Day White Water Rafting Tour

Continuing with the unique, this tour is only available from March through October, so if you’re the adventurous type that enjoys the challenge of the rapids, plan your vacation accordingly!

Monument Valley Air & Ground Tour

When you want to do it all, this tour features a little bit of everything. Fly over Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Rainbow Bridge, and other special Arizona places, then continue with a ground tour, led by a Native American guide, into the Navajo Tribal Park. This is truly an experience you can only enjoy in the Southwest!

Explore the Valley with Parsons Villas

Book your Parsons Villas vacation rental today and discover the adventures that await you in the great Southwest!

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

The Grand Canyon, one of the 7 Natural Wonders in the World, is only four hours away from your luxurious Parsons Villa vacation rental. Wouldn’t it be a shame to come all this way and miss the opportunity to visit what is arguably one of the most impressive sights in all the world? We live here, and the view of this red rock canyon spreading out for miles in front of us STILL gives us the chills, no matter how many times we visit.

If this is your first visit to the Grand Canyon, we can’t think of any more exciting way to experience the thrill than from the seat of a helicopter, flying over, around, and through this majestic landmark with one of the experienced pilots from Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopter as your guide. Offering a variety of tours at a variety of price ranges, your Arizona vacation is guaranteed to the envy of all your friends and neighbors back home—especially once they see the pictures you take from the sky!

Approximately 400 Million Years in the Making

Learn about the history of the Grand Canyon as you soar high above it. The pilots at Papillon aren’t just experienced and safe; they are well versed on the historical facts that make the Grand Canyon such a unique tourist destination. You’ll discover that while it took somewhere between three to six million years to form this breathtaking canyon, many of the rocks found here are estimated to be approximately 400 million years old.

Discover what life must have been like for the Hopi Indians who once made this area their home as you take pictures of the landscape that will take your breath away. Green trees, red rocks, and the cool waters of the Colorado River babbling away far, far below photograph so beautifully, you will feel like a professional photographer when you see the pictures you have taken. Just remember, no selfie-sticks; they can be dangerous in the enclosed space of the Papillon helicopters.

Parsons Villas Holds the Key to Your Exciting Arizona Vacation!

Book your luxurious Parsons Villas vacation home today and discover just how easy it is to make an ordinary vacation become an extraordinary one. Adventure and excitement can be yours with a Papillon Grand Canyon helicopter tour!

Maverick Helicopter Tours

The beauty of the Grand Canyon is just as stunning from up above as it is from below. There’s just more you can see in a shorter time when you book a tour from Maverick Helicopters. Our staff at Parsons Villas have lived in the desert for a long time, and one of our favorite weekend activities is to spend some time soaring over one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Maverick Helicopters allows us to easily do so with their tours that depart from our home town of Scottsdale. No need to rent a car and waste valuable vacation hours driving through the mountains and desert—although, if you do have the time, there really is no better way to get to know our state than with a family road trip!

What Can You Expect from a Maverick Helicopter Tour?

Offering many different tours, the ones that depart from Scottsdale will fly you aboard a luxurious helicopter that comes complete with all the modern-day bells and whistles. The tour heads straight up to Oak Creek and Sedona, allowing many breathtaking photo opportunities along the way. You’re not going to want to put your camera down, but we advise that you do so every once in a while; this is one flight you will want to experience with your own eyes!

Picnic at the Grand Canyon, take a ground tour of the area, and take some time to shop, hike, and explore. A Maverick Helicopter Tour isn’t just one experienced from the air—they allow ground time as well. The helicopter pilots and the ground tour drivers are skilled at what they do and enjoy sharing their knowledge of the most beautiful spot on earth with the many visitors they chauffeur each day!

Their Colors & Canyons Tour also offers a trip over the Painted Desert. The vibrant colors found here will quickly dispel any notions that the desert is dull, bland, and beige. Arizona isn’t just home to the Grand Canyon: It’s home to the most beautiful deserts in all the world!

Fly High with Maverick Helicopters

And then float gently down to Earth, landing in the luxurious comfort of one of our stunning vacation rentals. Book yours today and start planning your exciting Arizona vacation—we can help with that!

Explore Arizona With an Outdoor Tour

One of the truly great things about an Arizona vacation is the many opportunities for fun, excitement, and adventures that the vacationer can experience. Because we have an average of 299 sunny days each year in the Phoenix metropolitan area, a large portion of those adventures are outdoors. No one wants to be cooped up inside when the sun is shining outside!

The people at Arizona Outdoor Fun Adventures and Tours understand this and offer you the chance to make this vacation one that is unforgettable! Offering ATV/UTV tours, Ride and Shoot adventures, team-building fun, and the opportunity to rent an off-road vehicle of your choice to play on your own, your Scottsdale vacation in a Parsons Villas vacation home promises to be the most exciting trip you’ve ever taken. Keep reading for more information!


Offering guided tours that last anywhere from two to four hours, you get to choose whether you want to be the master of your own single passenger ATV or multiple passenger UTV and ride your way to excitement through the Bradshaw Mountains. Beautiful views, Indian ruins, and ghost towns give the tour an exciting appeal that only can be found in the Southwest! Ride-along tours are also available- let a guide take the wheel for you, while you take in the sights!

Shooting Adventures

Whether you take a the three-hour Guided ATV/UTV Ride and Shoot or just a stand-alone shooting adventure, you will have the chance to try your aim with a variety of handguns, semi-automatics, or fully automatics. This Wild West-style adventure will keep that smile on your face long after the day has ended.

Team Building Activities

Co-workers that get along well will make your business more money, and the team building adventures offered through Arizona Outdoor Fun include a desert survival adventure, including challenges that test your ability to think under pressure and survive in the unforgiving desert.

Book Your Parsons Villas Vacation Home Today!

When the sun has set on your desert adventures, you can relax in peace and luxury in one of our sumptuous vacation rentals. Life is better when you vacation in Scottsdale!

Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride with Rainbow Ryders

Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Company has been one of the best and most reliable hot air balloon companies in the country for nearly 35 years! Rainbow Ryders operates in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico and have been designated as the official hot air balloon ride provider for the New Mexico Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta since 1999. No one is more trusted or more experienced than Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Company!

Rainbow Ryders Puts Safety First

Rainbow Ryders makes safety their top priority, and they have maintained an impeccable safety record throughout their 35 years of experience. Their pilots have flown a combined 35,000 hours and carried more than 250,000 passengers! Rainbow Ryders is fully licensed and insured, and are a member of Professional Ride Operators a division of the Balloon Federation of America. This organization adheres to strict safety standards and procedures, making Rainbow Ryders the best choice in hot air balloon safety.

Sunrise and Sunset Tours

Every day of the year, Rainbow Ryders offers sunrise tours of the beautiful Phoenix desert. Float above the beautiful Deer Valley scenery and take in the breathtaking views! If early morning tours aren’t for you, then book a sunset tour instead! From November 1st through March 31st, Rainbow Ryders offers sunset tours as well for equally breathtaking views.

Book a Private Tour or Give a Great Gift!

Book a private balloon ride with Rainbow Ryders for an unforgettable activity like no other! Perfect for fun with friends, or a corporate get-together, but also a great date idea. Take your date to the next level with a romantic balloon ride and find out why it was voted one of the top 5 places to propose! There are also gift certificates available for balloon tours, which make a thoughtful and fun gift!

A hot air balloon ride is the experience of a lifetime, and Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Company is the best in safety, experience, and fun! Contact Parsons Villas today for more information about attractions in Arizona, or book our rentals today!

Have an Adventure with Pink Jeep Tours

Those looking to have an adventure, perhaps go a little off the beaten path, will love the adventure and fun of a tour with Pink Jeep Tours. Pink Jeep Tours, and the iconic pink Jeeps that have made the company famous, offers tours around Arizona and Las Vegas. Whether you’d like an off-road adventure or a pleasant scenic tour, see some of the beautiful sites in the Southwest with Pink Jeep Tours!

Book your Next Group Event

Pink Jeep Tours are the perfect activity for family reunions, team building events, or even youth groups! Pink Jeep’s tour guides are professional and experienced, and can tailor their tours to accommodate your group’s interests. The best part is, Pink Jeep Tours are fun for any budget, with tours starting at under $100 per person. There is also special pricing available for large groups of over 20, so the more the merrier with Pink Jeep Tours!

Grand Canyon and Sedona Tours

Grand Canyon National Park and the beautiful red rocks of Sedona, Arizona are some of the most naturally stunning places in the world. What could be better than exploring one of the 7 natural wonder of the world from an open air jeep? Tours range in time from 2 hours up to a half day of activities and adventure! Tours of the Grand Canyon touch on the geological history of the area, as well as the Native Americans that once lived there. Sedona tours range from relaxing scenic tours, to off roading fun, and exploring the ancient ruins surrounding the area.

Whether you are looking for a some extra fun on your next vacation, or planning a fun group event, Pink Jeep Tours are an excellent way to get out and explore! Contact us today to learn more about these tours, or check out our rentals! We can’t wait to see you here in Arizona!


After a day of going on fun tours, make sure to book one of our vacation rentals to fully enjoy your stay here!