Dixie Mine Trail, McDowell Mountain Regional Park: Dixie Mine Trailhead, Phoenix - Scottsdale - Mesa, Arizona
Dixie Mine Trail - 4.3 miles
McDowell Mountain Regional Park: Dixie Mine Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||4.3 miles (add 1.3 miles roundtrip to reach the trailhead from public parking)|
|Start-End Elevation:||2,085' - 2,310' (2,315' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+225' net elevation gain (+712' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Dixie Mine Trail - 4.3 Miles Round-Trip
The Dixie Mine Trail begins at the end of Golden Eagle Blvd in Fountain Hills, and runs 2.15 miles through McDowell Mountain Regional Park to the eponymous mine.
While the mine is subjectively interesting, the trail itself is highly compelling for lush vegetation, various rock types, active wildlife and nearby petroglyphs.
Visitors will enjoy mild grades ideal for running, biking and families. It’s especially well lit in the morning, with magnificent views across the McDowell Mountains and Verde River Valley:
The Dixie Mine Trail heads northwest through a cluttered, 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’), and continues with little net gain toward Thompson Peak (3,969’), McDowell Peak (3,995’), The Lookout (3,858’) and East End Peak (4,059’).
Note quartz deposits along the way, and large granite boulders that replace dark basalt as you progress. This light-colored rock formed as magma cooled below the surface and lithified.
Perpendicular joints in the rock mass were exploited by erosion, and sculpted into the contrastingly round formations we see today.
The trail reaches Thompson Peak Road and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Boundary at 1.95 miles (2,258’), where it turns sharply east to remain in the Park.
Follow signs right for the Dixie Mine Trail to a second sign indicating a fork (2.0 miles : 2,238’).
The Dixie Mine Trail continues east, but also branches north on a short, steep climb to the Dixie Mine (2.15 miles : 2,310’). You may continue a few steps past this fork to reach an access road for the mine, which is a better choice during snake season.
The mine is little more than a gated shaft, but this high point in the foothills offers terrific views across the mountains, river valley, and a cottonwood-lined canyon in which the petroglyphs reside.
An unmarked but intuitively found path breaks north from Thompson Peak Road into the canyon. Follow social trails and the canyon-wash up to two separate panels.
The first has been marred by graffiti, making authentic glyphs difficult to decipher. The second panel has several authentic petroglyphs that require some additional effort to see. Travel up the canyon-wash is variously rugged and slick when wet.
Interactive GPS Topo MapKey GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84
- N33 38.409 W111 46.098 — 0.0 miles : Dixie Mine Trailhead
- N33 38.656 W111 46.517 — .65 miles : Sonoran Trail split
- N33 38.790 W111 46.809 — 1.0 miles : Rolling travel into foothills
- N33 38.931 W111 47.204 — 1.5 miles : Granite displaces basalt
- N33 39.202 W111 47.240 — 1.95 miles : Thompson Peak Road
- N33 39.216 W111 47.169 — 2.0 miles : Take left fork to Dixie Mine
- N33 39.277 W111 47.233 — 2.15 miles : Dixie Mine
- Birds are particularly abundant and varied along the Dixie Mine Trail. This lush and undisturbed habitat also supports deer, coyote, jackrabbit, bobcat, mountain lion and javelina.
- McDowell Mountain Regional Park is located on the east side of the McDowell Mountains in the lower Verde River Basin. The Park’s eastern boundary starts a few miles west of the Verde River and continues right up to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve foothills. The Park is bordered on the south side by Fountain Hills.
Rules and Regulations
- There's a $2 self-service fee (per person) to enter McDowell Mountain Regional Park from this location.
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.
McDowell Mountain Regional Park
16300 McDowell Mountain Park Dr
MMRP Arizona 85255