North Scottsdale

General

Luxury, desert-style homes, country clubs and golf courses are this area’s draw. And all come with high price tags. North Scottsdale is located high in the Sonoran desert, with spectacular views of the rest of metro Phoenix. High-end restaurants and resorts add to this area’s lifestyle. Pinnacle Peak is in the heart of this neighborhood.

This neighborhood guide - like every one on Street Scout - was researched and written by experts from The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. It's based on public records, census data and on-the-ground reporting. Our Emmy-winning photographers and videographers have brought images of each neighborhood to life. We know our neighborhoods. If you want to live here, you want to read this.

Transportation

The Carefree Highway starts on the western side of this neighborhood. Other freeways don’t run through this area. The Loop 101 is the closest, and it’s several miles south. Pima Road is one of the main roadways.

School Map
Walk Score

Explore the 3 Areas of North Scottsdale

Desert Mountain: 85262
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Desert Mountain is named after the area’s 8,000-acre golf community with six golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus. That development is on the northern end next to Tonto National Park. Troon and Legacy Trail golf courses and communities can also be found in this area. Look for Arizona’s only Four Seasons resort here.

Boulders: 85266
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The Boulders area is named after the large desert rocks and upscale resort that can be found here. Terravita and Whisper Rock golf clubs are also part of this high-end area. The Carefree Highway starts here. Scottsdale Road is the main drag.

Rio Verde: 85263
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Rio Verde is a small area tucked between McDowell Mountain Regional Park and the Tonto Forest. The Tonto Verde and Verde River golf clubs make up most of this enclave. Lots are still available for new homes here.

Housing

Housing

Upscale desert-style houses near golf courses are the norm here. Most of the area’s homes cost $500,000 or more. Many houses are situated on an acre or more. There’s little land for future development available. Most restaurants and shopping are a bit south of this area.

The Market

Desert Mountain85262

Boulders85266

Rio Verde85263

  • North Scottsdale draws more buyers and renters during the winter and spring. Median home prices are highest in Desert Mountain and the Boulders, topping $600,000.

  • Rio Verde is a more affordable, upscale golf hub with a median home price of about $400,000. Rentals can be found in this golf club hub, but expect to pay several thousand dollars a month.

  • This neighborhood draws more second-home buyers than any other part of metro Phoenix.

  • There’s little land left that can be developed in this area, surrounded by forest and preserve to the north. Rio Verde has the most lots available for new homes.

Living Here

Living here

Expect a luxury desert lifestyle with golf courses, resorts and views that stretch to downtown Phoenix. The McDowell Mountains and Tonto Forest flank this area. People don’t move here because it has easy freeway access or is near job corridors. North Scottsdale is about living in one of the Valley’s most beautiful desert settings about as far from the bustle of the big city as possible, while still being part of the region.

Things To Do

Desert Mountain85262

Boulders85266

Rio Verde85263

Main attractions

North Scottsdale is a mecca for the area’s best golf clubs. Legend Trail Golf Club, Golf Club Scottsdale and Mirabel golf club are here. And then there’s also Desert Mountain with six Jack Nicklaus courses and Troon North Golf Club with two-18-hole courses in the foothills of Pinnacle Peak. You haven’t seen the Southwest until you’ve seen it on horseback, which you can do with ease at Cave Creek Outfitters.

Out on the town

For a scenic meal, there’s no beating Talavera and its modern take on the classic steakhouse. And Sassi serves some of Scottsdale’s finest Italian meals. Just south is Scottsdale 101 shopping complex, complete with a Harkins Theatre with a Cine Capri, one of the largest movie auditoriums in the state. And each year, the streets of nearby Carefree turn into works of art thanks to the annual Carefree Art & Wine Festival.

Main attractions

El Pedregal at the Boulders offers upscale shopping and dining within walking distance of a gorgeous resort and spa. There’s also a golf course and other outdoor adventures here. Speaking of golf, there’s no shortage of it with Whisper Rock Golf Club, Terravita Golf and Country Club and Desert Forest Golf Club, an 18-hole, desert-style private course.

Out on the town

When is Mexican food more than just Mexican food? When it’s accompanied by the scenic desert vistas and impressive tequila list at Spotted Donkey Cantina. Shop and eat at Scottsdale 101 shopping complex, complete with a Harkins Theatre with a Cine Capri, one of the largest movie auditoriums in the state. Also close by is the Musical Instrument Museum, a one-of-a-kind world-class facility with over 15,000 musical instruments and artifacts.

Main attractions

Golfers can grab a round at Tonto Verde Golf Club or Troon North Golf Club, with its two 18-hole courses in the foothills of Pinnacle Peak. McDowell Mountain Regional Park and Bartlett Lake Marina offer plenty more outdoor fun. Come summer, take a lazy tube ride down the Salt River.

Out on the town

Try your luck at Fort McDowell Casino, with over 150,000 square feet of gaming, including slot machines and table games. We-Ko-Pa Resort is an oasis in the Sonoran desert, complete with fine dining, golf and a conference center. For an authentic Southwest experience, there’s Fort McDowell Adventures with trail rides, cattle drives, cookouts and more.


Explore the Outdoors

Outdoors

North Scottsdale’s foothills are road bicycling heaven, with wide roads, plentiful bike lanes and a lot of hills. And the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Gateway Trailhead is smack dab in the middle of these neighborhoods. It connects to a system of 142 miles of scenic trails for hiking, biking, running or nature walking. This is an especially kid-friendly trail system with the Bajada Nature Trail, which includes games and activities along the way made for them.

Stats & Facts

Desert Mountain85262

Boulders85266

Rio Verde85263

Who lives here

Upscale and relatively new, the North Scottsdale area is one of the Valley’s most coveted locations. The Desert Mountain neighborhood (85262) has the Valley’s highest median income and homeownership rate. The Rio Verde neighborhood (85263) has a high share of privately schooled children.

5 Things To Know About Scottsdale

It’s well run.

Scottsdale consistently ranks as one of the best-run cities in America. Elected officials generally espouse a business-friendly, fiscally-conservative attitude. The city’s finances are heavily dependent on revenue from sales taxes, which can fluctuate with the economy. Though it suffered cutbacks several years ago, Scottsdale’s budget is balanced, and the city has been able to provide services without significantly impacting residents.

It has many things to do.

Scottsdale’s high-end amenities frequently draw visitors from other cities. The city boasts more than 40 parks, five public libraries and a recreational greenbelt with 11 miles of walking paths surrounded by lakes. There are three dog parks, including the award-winning Chaparral Park Off-leash Area.

It offers help to residents.

Scottsdale is known for its wealthy population, but low-income and needy residents can still benefit from a host of city-funded programs. These include “Beat the Heat,” a summer donation program benefiting seniors, and “Operation Fix It,” which helps eligible residents maintain their yards and houses.

Its residents are mixed on growth.

Many longtime residents fear unbridled growth and the explosion of new high-rises and apartment complexes could detract from the city’s charm and character. Other residents, particularly the younger generation, maintain a more progressive view and welcome most new development, especially in the thriving downtown. Every 10 years, voters have to approve an updated general plan to steer new growth. Voters rejected the 2012 plan.

It was renamed.

Scottsdale was originally called Orangedale because of its many citrus orchards. In the 1890s, a former Rhode Island banker, Albert Utley, set aside land for the town. But an article in The Arizona Republican called the area Scottsdale after a well-known farmer in the area, Winfield Scott, and the name stuck.