Granite Mountain and Fraesfield Trailheads

Granite Mountain and Fraesfield Trailheads Landscape Architecture Parks Desert Scottsdale Arizona SmithGroup
Granite Mountain and Fraesfield Trailheads Landscape Architecture Parks Desert Scottsdale Arizona SmithGroup
Granite Mountain and Fraesfield Trailheads Landscape Architecture Parks Desert Scottsdale Arizona SmithGroup
Granite Mountain and Fraesfield Trailheads Landscape Architecture Parks Desert Scottsdale Arizona SmithGroup
Granite Mountain and Fraesfield Trailheads Landscape Architecture Parks Desert Scottsdale Arizona SmithGroup
Granite Mountain and Fraesfield Trailheads Landscape Architecture Parks Desert Scottsdale Arizona SmithGroup

Two remote trailheads, designed and constructed together strive to leave a positive impact on the environment while educating the public on the need for preservation.

Client

City of Scottsdale

Location

Scottsdale, Arizona

Markets/Services

Architecture, Community & Regional Plans, Government, Greenways & Trails, Landscape Architecture, Landscape Master Plans, Parks & Open Spaces

Size

34,000 AC

 

As cities develop and expand, it is our responsibility to actively protect, restore, and maintain the natural areas in and around them. Not only do preserves maintain habitat diversity and critical ecological functions, they also offer essential recreational and educational opportunities.

At 30,500 acres, Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve is the largest urban land preserve in the country. Its series of trailheads contribute to the protection and advocacy of the preserve, with close to one million visitors per year, ensuring that use doesn’t have a detrimental impact on the sensitive desert ecosystem is both a priority and a challenge.

 

Granite Mountain and Fraesfield Trailheads Landscape Architecture Parks Desert Scottsdale Arizona SmithGroup

The Fraesfield Trailhead at sunset. 

The design of two unique, picturesque, and disturbed trailhead sites would provide a one-of-a-kind design opportunity to restore the natural habitat while expanding and facilitating access into the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Through an integrated design process, the team was able to work with the natural processes of the land as an understanding of the natural environment guided the design of sustainable amenities that provide, refuge, shade and shelter.

 

Granite Mountain and Fraesfield Trailheads Landscape Architecture Parks Desert Scottsdale Arizona SmithGroup

The design creates stunning views of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve from the Granite Trailhead. 

 

Two complimentary yet contrasting designs each drew inspiration from the uniqueness of their respective sites with one site featuring 360-degree panoramic views, while the other provided an immersive experience through boulder lined trails. Situated on top of a plateau, Fraesfield Trailhead integrates itself into the panoramic viewshed, imposing minimal intervention to the landscape while opening the surrounding views. In contrast, the siting and design of Granite Mountain Trailhead slowly reveals the desert via a choreographed path which celebrates the granite boulder outcroppings, aligns you toward a saguaro forest, and finally unveils the striking view of Granite Mountain.