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Hit the trails and take in the view from Cathedral Rock in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.


Cathedral Rock, McDowell Sonoran Preserve

For a slice of nature, locals head to McDowell Sonoran Preserve, where it’s easy to escape the bustle of city life amid 27,000 acres of picturesque Sonoran Desert just begging to be explored. Spidering their way across those acres are more than 100 miles of trails, funneling into trailheads with image-evoking names like Gateway; Tom’s Thumb; Lost Dog Wash; and Sunrise. It was on a sunny January day in this desert scene, complete with statuesque saguaros and blooming Sonoran plant life, that photographer Jeff Kucharski snapped a photo of his wife, Kim. The Grayhawk Elementary School teacher rested on a boulder at Cathedral Rock and took in the views of Pinnacle Peak (far left) and Brown’s Ranch Mountain (center). “Cathedral Rock is one of many beautiful and peaceful places in the Scottsdale Preserve for outdoor enthusiasts to explore,” Jeff says of the spot he and his wife found. “The giant boulders [there] provide an excellent resting point.”