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.
Lake 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.
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.
The 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