Tag Archives: McDowell Mountain Regional Park

Live “Spooky Bird” Event at McDowell Mountain Park

Vultures, Ravens and Owls…Oh, My!

OwlMcDowell Mountain Park, just North of Fountain Hills, is one of the most innovative recreation centers in Maricopa County.  Home to dozens of national and international endurance competitions featuring runners and bicyclists, it is a hiking, camping and picnicking paradise. But this is not your ordinary campground!  The Rangers have developed a full range of exciting activities designed to help the curious of all ages explore and learn about the amazing creatures that call the Sonoran Desert home.

Some hikes are regularly scheduled, like the Friday morning fitness walks and the nighttime “Full Moon” adventures.  Black light flashlight hikes to find scorpions and crawly creatures of the night are a pre-teen delight. Tortoise-feeding and plant identification are regulars, but the in-depth sessions on our wildlife neighbors are some of the most intriguing and interactive educational experiences at the Park.  Just in time for haunting and Halloween, McDowell Mountain Park staff are offering Vultures, Ravens and Owls.

This experience is a LIVE ‘Spooky’ Bird Experience and Birdwalk.

Date: 10/30/2013

Time: 8 a.m.

Exquisite Sunsets...One of the Many Reasons We Love the Sonoran Desert

Exquisite Sunsets…One of the Many Reasons We Love the Sonoran Desert

Description: Did you know that vultures urinate on their feet to cool down? And that ravens hold’funerals’ for dead flock members? Or that owls ‘throw up’ bones and fur or feathers after eating?

Celebrate the ‘Eve of All Hallow’s Eve’ with a chance to view and learn all about these ‘spooky’ birds on a pre-Halloween bird walk at McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

Liberty Wildlife will be on hand with a live vulture and owl for a presentation before the bird walk! Bring your binoculars and come on out. No previous birding experience is required, only an interest in birds… and an interest in the macabre! This is a less than one mile, level, easy and ADA Accessible birdwalk. Meet at the Nursery Tank Trailhead at 8 a.m.

Take a Hike in the Hills!

The weather is perfect and the views are beautiful.  It’s time to head out for a hike in and around Fountain Hills.  Local residents have a surprising number of trails that provide various challenges, scenery and time requirements.

Sonoran Lifestyle Real EstateLake Park Trail at  Fountain Park is perhaps one of the best known (and easiest) to enjoy.  With gentle slopes, wide sidewalks and plenty of park benches or ramadas to enjoy the fall weather, the Lake Park Trail is busy from dawn till dusk with thousands each day who also like to stop in at Mountain View Coffee, Euro Cafe or Oyo Yogurt Shop for a treat.

Lake Overlook Trail is a more challenging portion of the Lake Park Trail and takes hikers through desert vistas on the upper reaches of Lakeside Village.  At the very top, hikers get magnificent views of Fountain Hills, the Verde River and Valley,   Four Peaks Mountain, Fort McDowell Reservation, Goldfield Mountains and the Superstition Mountains.    Trails are gravel and well marked, providing a great start to your hiking adventures before moving to more difficult mountain trails.  

Hiking through the Sonoran Desert on a trail

Hiking through the Sonoran Desert on a trail

The Dixie Mine Trail is accessed through the gated community of Eagles Nest with a lovely trail head building and parking area.  The Dixie Mine was established in 1877, when scouts noticed expanses of red quartz in this area. Apparently, red quartz often occurs in proximity to gold and silver deposits, so the mine was established. Although some silver and gold was extracted from the mine, signicant profits were never realized.  It finally closed in 1917 and was given to the state. There are petroglyphs believed to have been created between 1000 and 1500 A.D., when the Hohokams populated this area. Where the Hohokam people went remains a mystery; and no living descendants can be claimed. The trail is 4.3 miles round trip.

Ft Hills ScenicThe West View Overlook Trail is accessed at the end of Eagles Nest Drive, near CopperWynd Resort.  Because the first 1.7 miles of this trail are through private property, trail stewards often organize guided hikes.  When the trail progresses (in beautiful, high vistas overlooking Fountain Hills and the Eastern Mountain chains) there are various trails like West Overlook, Wayne Trail, Western Loop and Sonoran Trail that place hikers near the crests of many of the McDowell Mountains.  For a copy of the local trail maps go to:  McDowell Sonoran Preserve Map

North of Fountain Hills, the McDowell Mountain Regional Park provides a number of hiking trails that  range from .5 miles to 3 miles.  The Park is accessed off McDowell Mountain Road, and Park Ranger Amy is often there to assist with trail selection, information about the Sonoran Desert and guided hikes.  McDowell Park Map at:  McDowell Mountain Park Trails

The Sunrise Trail is a slightly more engaging trail that begins over the hill in Scottsdale on Via Linda at approx. 140th Street. The trail climbs high up behind the homes and then to the canyon that offers more views.  You can see the Fountain in the distance and the different mountain ranges around the valley. The hike is about an hour up and an hour back. Dogs and horses are also welcome on this trail.  See the map:  Scottsdale Mountain Preserve Maps


Tour de Scottsdale Rides Again!

Tour de ScottsdaleSunday October 13th brings Cyclists in to Scottsdale and surrounding areas for the Tour de Scottsdale Citizen Rides . This year there will be 2 citizen rides, a 30 mile and a 70 mile ride both of which are presented by Lexus. They begin and end in DC Ranch but both take different courses. The 70 mile ride takes the cyclists out of North Scottsdale and they circumnavigate the Preserve. The Ride takes the cyclists over into the McDowell Mountain Park area, through Fountain Hills and back in to Scottsdale as they travel down Shea Boulevard. The 30 mile ride keeps the riders in North Scottsdale but still in beautiful Sonoran Desert landscape.

The rides benefit the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, a nonprofit conservation organization in Scottsdale that protects and promotes the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

For more information on this event and to register for the rides please read more at www.tourdescottsdale.net/event-info/

McDowell Mountain Park is Alive with Nature!

Hiking through the Sonoran Desert on a trail

Hiking through the Sonoran Desert on a trail

The McDowell Mountain Regional Park is here in our back yard and it is brimming with life and excitement! We are lucky enough to have wonderful Rangers that offer a calendar of events to help bring that nature to us.

They offer Early Bird Desert Birdwalks and feedings of Reptile and Live Animals which are sure to intrigue and give us a new appreciation for the wildlife we share this beautiful Sonoran Desert with.

They also lead informative lectures that teach us about Living with Rattlesnakes and also Nature’s Grocery Store, a hike that introduces us to what is edible in the desert.

There are so many different kinds of wildlife in the Sonoran Desert

There are so many different kinds of wildlife in the Sonoran Desert

The calendar of events and for more interesting information on The McDowell Mountain Regional Park please go to http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/mcdowell/

McDowell Mountain Regional Park Hosts Special Summer Events

Not everything slows down in the summer.  McDowell Mountain Regional Park, one of Fountain Hills most interesting assets, stages special summer-appropriate events featuring some of the area’s most elusive critters.

Come Face to Face with  Desert Tortoise at McDowell Mountain Park

Come Face to Face with Desert Tortoise at McDowell Mountain Park

“Meet the Tortoise” Feedings, led by ranger Amy Burnett introduce locals to these slow-moving desert dwellers that are a local connection to the days when dinosaurs walked the earth.  Slow-moving and docile, these small animals offer an excellent opportunity to touch, feed and photograph while learning about their habits from Ranger Amy. Perfect for children as young as young as 3-4 years of age, the event is thrilling to anyone who has not seen these rare species native to the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts of the Southwest.

Date: 6/20/2013 and each Thursday through August

Drop in and Feed them Breakfast:  11:00-12:00

Friday Fitness Hikes

Join the Friday Fitness Hikers

Join the Friday Fitness Hikers

Fridays Fitness Hikes are staged to showcase different locations in Park.  Visitors are invited to come to one or all of the Fitness Hiking Series, held every Friday. You will build up to a longer hike at the end of the month. Please wear sturdy shoes & bring plenty of water.  Check the website for the location of each hike.

When:  Every Friday through August

Time: 6:00 AM – 7:00 AM    Duration: 2 hours

Leader: Ranger Amy Burnett

The Park offers a variety of nocturnal “flashlight” hikes where both children and adults have the opportunity to explore the lively “night-life” of our desert creatures.

The park is one of the most interesting multi-generational assets in Arizona, and attracts visitors from across the globe.  From wildflower identification to exploration of its rare collection of desert denizens, it is a rich part of the Fountain Hills experience.

Contact: amyburnett@mail.maricopa.gov 480-471-0173×201

16300 McDowell Mountain Park Dr.
Fountain Hills, AZ  85268


Sonoran Foothills Desert Blooms Explode in April !

The Sonoran Desert Wildflowers are in Full Bloom during April

The Sonoran Desert Wildflowers are in Full Bloom during April

Whether you hike, bike or horseback, taking in the blooming Sonoran Desert in April is an un-matched pleasure. Our exceptionally cool and rainy winter has produced a thick carpet of California Poppies and Desert Lupine.

Our Neighboring community, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, offers a unique way to enjoy this fleeting season…on horseback! Not only is the foliage surrounding your Verde River ride beautifully lush, you have the opportunity to see nesting Golden Eagles, Great Horned Owls, and if you are lucky, will spot the new foals of their wild horse herd as you cross the River on your well-trained mount! No need to be an experienced rider…their gentle horses know their way around the trail.

McDowell Mountain Adventures Horseback RidingThe picture opportunities are fabulous, and your guides make numerous stops so you can actually capture a shot or two of the eagles.

Just remember to dress for the outdoors…jeans, long-sleeve shirts, sensible tennis shoes or boots…or a sneaky photographer may snap a photo like this one…Oh my! http://www.fortmcdowelladventures.com for more information.

Cowgirl High Heels Are a No-No!

Cowgirl High Heels Are a No-No!

Fun In Fountain Hills In March!!!

“March Madness” has a special meaning in Fountain Hills.  Whether your interest runs to music or running itself is your game, there are dozens of world-class events coming to Fountain Hills in March. Saint Patrick’s Day, Spring Break and Easter in the Same Month? The fun come at you fast in Fountian Hills.


Spring weather is nearly perfect in Arizona.  The desert bloom unfolds across the hills, and Sunday concerts in the park, March 3, 10, and 24 are a special treat.  Ranging from jazz to easy listening, the free concerts are held at the performance pad in the Northeast corner of Fountain Park, Saguaro at Palisades Blvd.  Bring a chair, a blanket, the kids, the dog, snacks, and enjoy Fountain Hills Community Services’ Concerts in the Park. Enjoy a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Fountain Park with friends, great music and maybe even some dancing. Bring blankets, chairs, the family and friends!

The Beautiful Fountain during the day but you can still see the moon!

The Beautiful Fountain view while listening to music at the Amphitheatre

2:30-4pm. Fountain Park Amphitheater.

• March 3

Tres Romanico featuring Dave Robinson,

Eric Bart, and Ronald Jean

• March 10

Jenny Jarnagin

• March 24

Silhouette with Cornelius Bishop


Southwest Spine and Sports/ Bandidos Racing Club/Fountain Hills Community Services

 March 10;  8 a.m.  Fountain Park

The 3rdth annual race heads to McDowell Mountain Park from Fountain Park.  $10,000 in prizes, including “win your weight in beer” category.  Kids 5th grade and up race for free. Registration and details at www.bandidos15K.com.

12th Annual Race starts at the Fountain at 8am

3rd Annual Race starts at the Fountain at 8am

World-class Hiking and Biking in Fountain Hills Back Yard!


The 21,099 acre McDowell Mountain Regional Park is just a few miles north, between Fountain Hills and Rio Verde. One of the largest in the Maricopa County Park System, the McDowell Mountain Regional Park is probably best known as a mecca for mountain biking enthusiasts from across the country, yet it is also a fantastic place to hike, horseback ride, camp, RV, picnic, bird-watch, stargaze, take photographs or just get out and enjoy nature. There is a $6.00 per vehicle fee to enter the park! If you visit frequently then you might want to obtain a Maricopa Mountain Parks Annual Pass, or a Senior Pass, which is free.

The beautiful Sonoran Desert in bloom.

The beautiful Sonoran Desert in bloom.

McDowell Mountain Regional Park has over 50 miles of trails within its boundaries, and the western edge of the Park borders the McDowell Sonoran Preserve which has an additional 50-plus miles of hiking and biking trails! Several International marathons, bicycle, mountain bike and fun runs draw contestants from across the globe, but most of the

The park has an amazing range of activities each month, and publishes a monthly calendar.  “Ranger Amy” is a crowd favorite, but her interpretive hike with the “Creepy Crawlies of the Desert” is a favorite for adventurers of all ages.  The next class is scheduled for February 23, 2013.

Date: February 23rd

Time: 1-2 pm

Contact: Amyburnett@mail.maricopa.gov  /  480-471-0173  Ext. 201

Ranger Amy guides you on this event and there is no registration required!

Enjoy the hikes through the Sonoran Desert with Ranger Amy.

Enjoy the hikes through the Sonoran Desert with Ranger Amy.

Photography is another favorite pastime in our beautiful Sonoran Desert…and the Park sponsors dozens of hikes each week that provide the perfect opportunity to capture the essence of the Fountain Hills area.  Regularly schedules Fitness hikes every Friday are enjoyed by dozens of visitors and locals alike, and a special cell phone photo hike is planned for March, where you might catch the early desert wildflowers.

We, at Sonoran Lifestyle Real Estate know how stunning our surroundings are. We hope you enjoy the hikes and the beautiful scenery that we wake up  to everyday. If you would like to enjoy our weather and scenery everyday, then please drop by our office and we can help find you the perfect Desert Oasis of your own!  www.150ways.com

Spartan Race – Voted the Best Obstacle Race of 2012!

The Fountain Hills area is home February 8 and 9 to the incredible 2013 Spartan Race.  Voted the best outdoor obstacle race of 2012, the Spartan Race involves thousands of super-fit participants who master a grueling course that includes a  running, climbing, crawling  and leaping on dirt, mud, water and fire.

Spartan Race at McDowell Mountain Park Sponsored by Reebok

Spartan Race at McDowell Mountain Park Sponsored by Reebok

Simply, Spartan Race is the world’s leading obstacle race series. “It’s an event of pure primitive craziness that you’ll never forget!”  Races are held all over the world, and each course is unique to the chosen terrain. Sponsored by Reebok, the races are organized in different levels of difficulty… “There is fire, mud, water, barbed wire, and occasionally Hell on Earth. There WILL be obstacles to catch you off guard. Curve balls, so to speak. Get over it!”This weekend’s race is a coordinated effort with the Fort McDowell Radisson, and the McDowell Mountain Regional Park.  One thousand runners are anticipated, as well as 5,000 spectators on Saturday and 3,000 on Sunday.  Spectators are welcome, but both runners and spectators must park at the Fort McDowell Rodeo Grounds and take a shuttle to the race course.

Sonoran Lifestyle Real Estate welcomes these Warriors to our beautiful Sonoran Desert to compete!

Check out the exciting details at:


Boomers Want More than Sunshine to Make a Move

Part III of a 3-part story about the Baby Boomer Seniors.

Today’s post-50’s are looking for specific lifestyle amenities in their ideal retirement spot. In addition to low local taxes, affordable recreation and community size, Boomers polled in a recent study by the Consumer Federation of the Southeast indicated a number of more specific preferences that make Fountain Hills a top contender as a perfect retirement location.    Continued from Part I, September 9, 2012  and  Part II, October 10, 2012

7.  Arts and Culture

First Love is part of the extensive Fountain Hills public art collection, featuring over 100 works.

Within 5 minutes of cruising downtown Fountain Hills, visitors have a sense that Art is a big deal in Fountain Hills.  Our public art collection approaching 100 pieces of sentinel public art is stunning by any standards. A small public art levy commits a percent of the funds received for commercial building permits to fund the on-going display of public art.  Placed throughout the central downtown and Town Lake area, the variety of western and contemporary art is a joy to stroll through or enjoy on an escorted tour.

8.  Elder Care Services

Fountain View Village offers continuing care for Fountain Hills’ residents or their family members

Fountain View Village is a senior living community in Fountain Hills Arizona that provides independent living, assisted living, memory support, and skilled nursing.  Located in the center of town, the elegant facility provides transportation for residents, dining, recreation and a wide range of resort-quality amenities.  Looking for a more personal approach?  Fountain Hills has a variety of in-home senior care services, from daily support help to 24 hour care professionals.

Valley Jazz Favorite Margo Reed entertains residents at Fountain View Village

The Area Agency on Aging “Meals on Wheels” and “Give a Lift” programs use the Senior Center as its hub, providing care and rewarding volunteering opportunities for volunteers and recipients alike.

The Town has no fewer than six gyms, and Anytime Fitness is home to the “Silver Sneakers” program for residents with one of the AARP PPO or HMO Medicare plans.

9.  Affordable Housing

Affordable townhomes and duplexes in the Town Center of Fountain Hills, AZ start in the mid $100’s

Fountain Hills has also earned a top accolade from the magazine, Business Week. In its February 2009 edition, the magazine named Fountain Hills the “Best Affordable Suburb” in all of Arizona. They evaluated suburbs on a variety of factors but weighted affordability most heavily. They also considered lifestyle (short commutes, clean air, low crime, good weather, and green space), the quality of schools, and the strength of the local economy. None of the places evaluated had populations of more than 60,000 or less than 5,000. Only one suburb per state was selected. (Source: www.fh.az.gov )

Fountain Hills occupies a unique position in the greater Phoenix area market. Well-built homes, condos, apartments and Gemini homes, (no home in the entire Town was built before 1970), offer stunning mountain views from nearly every part in the Town.  Efficient condos or Gemini homes, with pools, meeting facilities, and in some cases, tennis, shuffleboard and grassy areas for pets start in the $90’s.  Upscale gated condominium range from $275,000 to the mid $400’s, with a wide range of amenities.

Beautiful mountain-view homes are the hallmark of Fountain Hills, many starting in the high $300’s.

Free-standing homes offer the biggest range of options, ranging from fixer-uppers in the low $200’s to homes with large lots, refreshing pools and 180 degree views for under $500,000.  There are several  lovely communities focused on golf and/or tennis that occupy select locations.  Names like SunRidge Canyon Golf Club, CopperWynd, Eagle Mountain Golf Club, Desert Canyon Golf Club and We-Ko-Pa Golf Club at the Fort McDowell Raddisson Resort and Casino conjure images of pristine desert golf for enthusiasts and hackers alike.   Many of the homes  in these communities offer sweeping views up to 100 miles and provide an luxury unparalleled for the price in the entire Greater Phoenix/Scottsdale area.

10.  Lifelong learning

Just as Fountain Hills is a community of volunteers, it is also a community that nurtures an environment of learning and exploration.  The Town underwrites a significant Senior Center with dozens of affordable options from exercise to political debate, crafts, to nationally recognized senior-net classes for computer relevancy.  Yoga, stretching, tai chi, language classes, painting and drawing, fishing, woodworking, knitting, quilting…all for a $10.00 per year membership fee. (Class supplies may be extra).

The River of Time Museum sponsors a series of rollicking dinner meetings where the history of the area is brought to life by a series of entertaining historians.  One of the 2011 highlights was a talk by one of America’s three remaining Navajo “Code-talkers” from World War II.  One of this season’s dinners will include a talk on the “Harvey Girls” at the world-famous La Posada Hotel in Winslow, AZ.

McDowell Mountain Regional Park, which borders Fountain Hills on the North has an on-going program of nature walks where their entertaining rangers educate visitors about the amazing assortment of unusual plants and animals that call the Sonoran Desert home.

Fountain Lake in Fountain Hills Town Center is the centerpiece of activity for all ages.

The Town of Fountain Hills Parks and Recreation department offers year-round classes in three categories:

  • Lifetime learning
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Health and Wellness

In 2006, Fountain Hills was named by Phoenix Magazine as the best place to live in the Valley of the Sun and was cited as “a welcome oasis on the outskirts of a metropolis.” The magazine measured the quality of life in 22 Valley communities, including the statistical analysis of each community’s population, income, home price, crime rate, miles to Sky Harbor Airport, and square feet of retail.

The low density, cooler and cleaner air quality, 75 mile views, amenities and welcoming community spirit make Fountain Hills the best value and the best quality of life in all of Arizona.

Let Sonoran Lifestyle Real Estate be your guide in Fountain Hills.  For more information about this world-class community, its beautiful vistas, vibrant Town Center, lovely neighborhoods and fantastic real estate values, go to www.SonoranLifestyle.com.   Check out the area relocation guide at www.150Ways.com  where you’ll  find links to 150 area recreation, sports, entertainment and cultural attractions.   In Fountain Hills, be sure to stop by the Sonoran Lifestyle visitor center on the Avenue of the Fountains, only ½ block from the World Famous Fountain, or call 480-816-5557.