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  1. #1
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    Fountain Hills Preserve Trails

    For the first time, there is now legal, unguided access to the trails that lie within the Fountain Hills McDowell Mountain Preserves. These trails have been hand cut by volunteers over the past several years but, until now, the only way to access them legally has been with a guide. Recently, Maricopa County cut a new segment to link the Dixie Mine Trail to the Sonoran Trail which provides open access to these trails. The best trailhead to access them is located at the end of Golden Eagle Blvd. in Fountain Hills. Here is a current map:

    http://www.fh.az.gov/content/pdfs/ma...MMP_TRAILS.PDF

    Keep in mind that these trails were cut by volunteers and were initially designed as hiking trails. There are a few switchbacks on the Sonoran Trail that are not biker-friendly and the Northern section of Western Loop is a hike-a-bike (more hike than bike). I ride National Trail almost every Saturday, so trust me on this one.

    The new connecter to the Sonoran Trail is really just the start. The ultimate goal is to get a connector from the South end of the trail system to Sunrise Trail. This will create an incredible loop of trails (see link below) that will allow us to do the quadruple bypass - Tomís Thumb, Windgate, Bell, and Sunrise. For this to become a reality, more mountain bikers need to get involved. October 31st is the grand opening of the Sonoran Trail so I am encouraging everybody that is interested in helping expand this trail system and make it more biker-friendly show up that morning for a ride. It will be a great opportunity to show your support for the efforts made so far and to make friends with some folks that have the ability to influence the future direction of the trail system.

    http://www.fh.az.gov/content/pdfs/ma...URE_TRAILS.PDF

  2. #2
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  3. #3
    vmb
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    I'm in !!

    I'll be there.

    It's about time for this area was opened up for MTBR's....

  4. #4
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    really cool! more MTB trails the better. big loops are rad.

    showing up and riding is a very simple task to show the decsion makers that WE are a large and intrested user group. I'll add this to my list. as I've really not ridden much in the MMP/FHMP area.

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  5. #5
    parenting for gnarness
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    confused - what everyone rides for the double\quad bypass and enters (what I thought was) Dixie Mine in the neighborhood...have we been illegal all along? Does the new trail alter the bypass route?
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  6. #6
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    If you were entering from the end of Golden Eagle and cutting through the Eagle's Nest neighborhood to get to Dixie Mine, you were fine because the town has been granted access to get to the park. If you were accessing any of the trails that lie within the Fountain Hills Preserve area then you were crossing private property at some point. The new connector is near the beginning of Dixie Mine and heads SW on the Sonoran trail. Today, it is an out and back. There is an old jeep road at the South end of the trail system but it is on private property and not part of the preserve. That's why we need a connector from the South end to Sunrise Trail (coming out near the hitching post maybe?)

    I hope that helps.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the maps and info Netpotent...I'll be there on the 31st. A couple questions...Based on those maps, it looks like the Promenade and Western loop trail are existing today, true ? Is riding through the neighborhood to cut between the dixie mine and the old jeep trail (promenade) considered illegal ?
    Been riding lots in the Mcdowells, but never made the full loop yet...looking to do it soon but want to be sure of the options on the SE side of the loop.
    BTW, a trail up the hitching post would be cool...as long as it was reasonably ride-able...steep and rida-able = good, too steep to ride = bad.
    cheers...

  8. #8
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    I rode the Western trail this spring with a group of 10 on a quad and it was definitely hike a bike in sections! We ended up cutting down a steep trail into the housing development. Parts of it were fun, I think one our group was talking about finding another trail to cut over to Dixie Mine, I am assuming he meant the Sonoran Trail.

    The big map of the whole area is awesome!! Thanks for posting.

  9. #9
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    Raybum,

    Yes, the Promenade Trail (really a jeep road) and the Western Loop Trail exist as well as the other spurs at the South End (Easy Access and Overlook trails). If you cut through the neighborhood to access the Promenade Trail directly then, yes, it is illegal.

    Now, if I drove to the end of Eagle Ridge Drive (by Copperwynd) right now there could be cars parked there and hikers heading up from the South side. If a biker were to come from the North (via Sonoran Trail) they could drop down that way. I can't recommend doing that because you would be crossing private property after you leave the Promenade Trail. I jus' saying...

    Check out google Maps and you can see the route from the end of Promenade to Hidden Hills and Eagle Ridge.

  10. #10
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    Fountain Hills Times Article

    Here is a article from the local paper that provides some more background on the new trail access:

    http://fhtimes.com/times/2009/092309/trail.html

    Also, the "Big Picture" map posted above is a bit dated. I will talk to some folks about getting an updated version.

    Stay tuned.

  11. #11
    Fragile - must be Italian
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    Quote Originally Posted by Netpotent
    Raybum,

    Yes, the Promenade Trail (really a jeep road) and the Western Loop Trail exist as well as the other spurs at the South End (Easy Access and Overlook trails). If you cut through the neighborhood to access the Promenade Trail directly then, yes, it is illegal.

    Now, if I drove to the end of Eagle Ridge Drive (by Copperwynd) right now there could be cars parked there and hikers heading up from the South side. If a biker were to come from the North (via Sonoran Trail) they could drop down that way. I can't recommend doing that because you would be crossing private property after you leave the Promenade Trail. I jus' saying...

    Check out google Maps and you can see the route from the end of Promenade to Hidden Hills and Eagle Ridge.
    Right now when I do a big McDowell's loop, I cut over to the East side of the McDowell's by riding up to the top of the Hidden Hills neighborhood in Scottsdale and tie into the jeep road. What trail is that? I've always known it was on private property and that, in fact, I was trespassing...but since there were never any gates or "keep out" signs, I figured the owner was pretty cool about it.

    Good to hear about these new trails. I will definitely be there on 10/31.


    Thx...Doug

  12. #12
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    We rode the loop today and used the sonoron trail as a connector... there were quite a few hike a bike sections and the trail does not look like it will be very sustainable in a few places. Still fun, but a lot of walking...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BritMtnBiker
    I rode the Western trail this spring with a group of 10 on a quad and it was definitely hike a bike in sections! We ended up cutting down a steep trail into the housing development. Parts of it were fun, I think one our group was talking about finding another trail to cut over to Dixie Mine, I am assuming he meant the Sonoran Trail.
    Yeah, remember the place that we stopped and went down that horrible road to the development? The trail now continues on from there all the way to Dixie Mine. At that point where we went down, all of the really crappy trail is done. There are two more up and downs, but they are manageable, and then one looong trail to Dixie mine. The trail is flat and wide, but still winds around, so you can get some serious speed. Rather fun.

    Perhaps we need to do another quad or double this fall.

    --Jeff

  14. #14
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    I rode the Sonoran trail a couple of weeks ago and noticed that the switchbacks are not cut
    for mtn biking once you get up in the foothills of the McDowells. The Sonoran trail starts off
    of Dixie Mine as an "almost" double-track trail and then once it gets into the preserve it
    narrows down to singletrack. It would take a little work but it would be doable to cut those
    switchbacks a little wider so that they would be bike friendly.

    I started off from the Eagles Nest in F.H.'s then hit Dixie Mine to start the ride...

  15. #15
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    wow

    is any of this downhill at all ? i have downhill bike and live on golden eagle blvd and always wondered if i could ride that trail. i do ride hawes trails and what not. are these short steep hikes or long steep hikes ?

    any advice for a heavy bike its just so close and convienent.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by airmiller44
    is any of this downhill at all ? i have downhill bike and live on golden eagle blvd and always wondered if i could ride that trail. i do ride hawes trails and what not. are these short steep hikes or long steep hikes ?

    any advice for a heavy bike its just so close and convienent.
    Not really... this trail is narrow with many switchbacks... starting off of Dixie Mine onto the Sonoran trail it's a climb till you reach the foothills. Once you get in the foothills you go up and down following the contours of the foothills. An AM bike or XC bike would work but a downhill bike would be goofy on this trail... definitely overkill....

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Netpotent
    Here is a article from the local paper that provides some more background on the new trail access:

    http://fhtimes.com/times/2009/092309/trail.html

    Also, the "Big Picture" map posted above is a bit dated. I will talk to some folks about getting an updated version.

    Stay tuned.
    The "Big Picture" map has been updated to include Tom's Thumb and the Coachwhip connector to Pemberton.

    http://www.fh.az.gov/content/pdfs/ma...URE_TRAILS.PDF

    Also, I attended a good meeting with the City of Scottsdale on Monday to talk about cutting a connector from Sunrise to the Western Loop trail. I'm in the process of putting a plan together to get approval from Fountain Hills to move forward with this connector.

    Stay tuned!

  18. #18
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    Netpotent - man, keep up the GREAT work !!! I would love to see a connector get cut between those trails !

  19. #19
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    Grand Opening

    I attended the grand opening of the Sonoran Trail last Saturday. The mayor, some members of the Town council, several folks from Maricopa County (including Rand), several MMPC members, several SCFH folks, a bunch of hikers, and a lone mountain biker were there.

    I have been talking to folks from several of these groups over the last few weeks and, the good news is, support for putting in a connector between Sunrise and Western Loop seems universal. We have another meeting with the City Of Scottsdale next week to talk about trail alignment and a discussion about the connector is on the agenda for next month's MMPC meeting.

    Can you say quadruple bypass? Hopefully we can pull this off before I actually need one...

  20. #20
    Shaman
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    Awesome! I am nursing a broken foot that should be out of it's cast in mid Dec. and this gives me more to look forward too (I will be in Phoenix for all of Jan. 2010!).
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  21. #21
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    That's GREAT news... but...

    WTF did maricopa county parks do to the Dixie Mine trail that starts at Eagles Nest and runs to Thompson Peak road ???
    It looks like someone put a bulldozer blade on the front of an ATV and just bulldozed the freak'n trail !!!!

    What was once a nice narrow ribbon of singletrack with rocks and nice technical obstacles has now been widened
    to a trail that is now wider than an ATV and has been bulldozed flat with NO rocks what so ever !!!

    I had been out of town for three weeks and I come back to find one of my favorite pieces on singletrack BULLDOZED flat !!!

    What gives ???

  22. #22
    vmb
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    Quote:

    It looks like someone put a bulldozer blade on the front of an ATV and just bulldozed the freak'n trail !!!!

    What was once a nice narrow ribbon of singletrack with rocks and nice technical obstacles has now been widened
    to a trail that is now wider than an ATV and has been bulldozed flat with NO rocks what so ever !!!

    I had been out of town for three weeks and I come back to find one of my favorite pieces on singletrack BULLDOZED flat !!!

    What gives ???


    You were close, it was a mini-back hoe with a blade.

    It was all part of a bigger project out there to cut in new trails.

    While I too thought that was one of the nicest pieces of desert singletrack to be ridden, the work was part of the new extension to the SW. So while it's disapponting that nice little section got widened, we got 5.5 miles of new trail (guess we have to take the bad with the good).

    In any case, I am looking forward to when they cut the new / final extension over to Sunrise
    so we have a true quad bipass in the McDowell's.




    That's

  23. #23
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    Bobcat Back hoe w/ blade and mini bulldozer...saw them both out there. Also, that section of Dixie Mine didn't just get widened, it got flattened. I just don't see how anyone can look at that and not be dissappointed...regardless of new trail access. I ride that trail a lot and what they did was simply done to allow them to get the bulldozer and back hoe to the Sonoran trial...
    "It's not how good you are, it's how good you look!"

  24. #24
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    Every person I talked with that either hikes or bikes this trail was PISSED at what happened to the trail. A number of people I talked with said that they are going to pay the McDowell park mgr a visit and voice their displeasure with what happened. A couple of mtn bikers I ran into on the trail said that they are going to put a lot of the larger rocks back on the trail so that there are at least some technical sections on the trail. I am personally going to have a visit with the McDowell park mgr and voice my displeasure with the destruction of the trail.

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