Hiking and Biking, or if you own a four legged beast known as a horse, hiking Fountain Hills is a great place to launch your adventure. Panoramic views of the mountains are everywhere, and Fountain Hills makes getting on the trail to enjoy them fast and easy.
The McDowell Mountain Regional Park has over 50 miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails, and is located 4 miles north of Fountain Hills. If you wish to access the park directly from Fountain Hills, just travel up to the CopperWynd Resort to find the trail head for the Promenade Trail. This easy one mile trail will connect you to the Western Loop Trail, another 1.2 miles of moderate to difficult hiking (this trail is not recommended for bikes), or the Sonoran Trail in the McDowell Mountain Park. The Sonoran Trail will dead end into the Dixie Mine Trail. The Dixie Mine trail is a 5.6 mile moderate to difficult shared use trail.
If you, or someone you know is heading into town to camp, the McDowell Mountain Preserve offers 76 individual sites for tent or RV camping. Each site can accommodate up to a 45 foot RV. They also feature water, electric hook-ups, campfire sites and a dump station. There are also more secluded camping areas for tent campers.
Saguaro Lake is only twenty minutes from Fountain Hills. Head out of town on SR 87 (Beeline Highway) north toward Payson. Turn right on the Bush Highway and follow the signs to the lake. The lake offers 22 miles of shoreline, fishing, hiking, swimming, boating and features the Desert Belle Paddlewheel Riverboat.
A popular hike at Saguaro Lake is the Butcher Jones Trail. Drive 3 miles in from the turn onto the Bush Highway and you will see signs for the Butcher Jones Recreation Area. Travel 1.8 miles to the well marked trail head for the Butcher Jones Trail. Park here. This is a 5 mile trail in and out total. Most of the traffic will be encountered on the first mile, then you will have the trail to yourself. Once you get to Burro Cove, you will want to return. The trail degrades after that.
To park in the Butcher Jones Recreation area you will need a parking pass. You cannot purchase one at the Recreation Area!! Plan ahead the day you make your journey to Saguaro Lake, and purchase your Tonto Pass at either the Four Sons Chevron station, the Safeway store, or Paul’s ACE hardware in Fountain Hills, or the Chevron Station on the Beeline highway at the stop light to the Fort McDowell Casino.
Best months for hiking are January through April, and October through December. Spring also features wildflowers!