Sonoran Trail, McDowell Mountain Regional Park: Dixie Mine Trailhead, Phoenix - Scottsdale - Mesa, Arizona

Sonoran Trail - 6.5 miles

McDowell Mountain Regional Park: Dixie Mine Trailhead

Poppy covered hillsides on the Sonoran Trail

Poppy covered hillsides on the Sonoran Trail

Round-Trip Length: 6.5 miles
Start-End Elevation: 2,085' - 2,535' (2,757' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +450' net elevation gain (+1,445' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: Yes
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Sonoran Trail - 6.5 Miles Round-Trip

The Dixie Mine Trail joins the Sonoran Trail to form a challenging 6.5 mile roundtrip hike through McDowell Mountain Regional Park and Fountain Hills Preserve. This lightly traveled route is highlighted by exceptional flora and views across each park:

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The Dixie Mine Trail heads northwest in a diversely vegetated bajada cut by several major arroyos. Look for deer, coyote and javelina in these natural thoroughfares.

Travel undulates to the Sonoran Trail (.65 miles : 2,155'), which breaks southwest on a steady, moderately-steep climb with panoramic views across the McDowells and Verde River Valley. There are some notably large ocotillo, barrel cactus and teddy bear cholla along this airy ridge.

The trail wraps south to the Fountain Hills Preserve boundary (1.5 miles : 2,490'), where it begins a challenging climb across steep, east-facing slopes. The boundary is a fine turnaround point for those with limited time or ability.

The trail reaches its max elevation at 1.95 miles (2,757'), where it moderates before dropping and rising in steep spurts to an unceremonious terminus at the Western Loop Trail - Promenade Trail intersection (3.25 miles : 2,535').

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N33 38.656 W111 46.517 — .65 miles : Sonoran Trail split
  • N33 38.477 W111 46.887 — 1.15 miles : Steady climb up ridge
  • N33 38.406 W111 47.181 — 1.5 miles : Fountain Hills Preserve boundary
  • N33 38.180 W111 47.270 — 1.95 miles : Max elevation; begin downhill travel
  • N33 38.034 W111 46.992 — 2.45 miles : Steep, undulating travel
  • N33 37.876 W111 46.890 — 2.85 miles : Steady drop to terminus

Worth Noting

  • Anticipate steep sections in both directions. Avoid this trail when exceedingly hot. Grus-covered surfaces can be slick, especailly for bikes on the downhill.
  • Be mindful of rattlesnakes, and remain on designated trails to avoid negative encounters.
  • The lower Verde River Basin separates the McDowell Mountains from the Four Peaks and Superstition Mountains to the east. The Verde River originates southwest of Flagstaff and flows 195 miles into the Salt RIver east of Fountain Hills.
  • The Verde River is one of the oldest rivers in Arizona. It was born after an upstream lake overflowed into the basin, which formed 12-18 million years ago as parallel mountain ranges were pulled apart.

Rules and Regulations

  • There's a $2 self-service fee (per person) to enter McDowell Mountain Regional Park from this location.
  • Dogs must be on a hand held leash at all times.

Directions to Trailhead

The Dixie Mine Trailhead is accessible from Golden Eagle Blvd in Fountain Hills, 13.8 miles east of HWY 101.

From HWY 101, exit Shea Blvd and head 7.8 miles east to Palisades Dr. Turn left (north) on Palisades for 3.1 miles to Golden Eagle Blvd.

Turn left on Golden Eagle for 2.9 miles to the Public Parking Area just before the gated entrance to the Eagles Nest community.

Park in the designated lot and follow signs through the residential area to the trailhead. This is a .65 mile walk. There's a $2 self-service fee (per person) to enter McDowell Mountain Regional Park from this location.

Contact Information

McDowell Mountain Regional Park

16300 McDowell Mountain Park Dr

MMRP Arizona 85255


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