McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Fountain Hills

4.8
#2 of 13 in Things to do in Fountain Hills
The McDowell Mountain Range is located about twenty miles north-east of downtown Phoenix, Arizona, and may be seen from most places throughout the city. The range is composed of miocene deposits left nearly five million years ago. The McDowells share borders with the cities of Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, and Maricopa County. The city of Scottsdale has made its share of the McDowells a preserve, and has set up a wide trail network in partnership with the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy was established in 1991. The highest peak in the McDowells is East End, at 4,069ft. This mountain range also serves as a sacred marker to the Yavapai people. The boundaries of the range are generally defined by Saddleback Mountain in the South and Granite Mountain as the Northern boundary. The McDowells also comprise popular landmarks such as Pinnacle Peak and Tom's Thumb. Although technically a stand-alone, Mt. McDowell, not to be confused with McDowell Peak, is sometimes listed on maps as a part of the McDowell Mountains.Summits East End (Arizona) Thompson Peak (Arizona) McDowell Peak Sunrise Peak Rock Knob
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McDowell Mountain Regional Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
123 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • We have spent time at this wonderful gem of a county park each winter for the last 5 years. The trails brought us here, but the solitude and serenity of the dessert keeps us coming back. Large private...  more »
  • Awesome place, many trails to choose from, great for hiking, mountain biking or camping. There is a fee to enter  more »
  • This is a wonderful resource managed by Maricopa County parks, that includes areas for overnight camping, picnic spots, horse riding, mountain bike riding, and now has a junior BMX track. The other op...  more »
Google
  • Excellent park near Phoenix that feels so far away. The campground hosts are rad, they were the most helpful I've ever experienced and seem like they love their jobs (hang out in nature for months at a time? awesome mountain biking right out your door? sign me up!). Tent camping down the road was quiet, with great facilities.
  • McDowell Mountain in undoubtedly my favorite Regional Park in Arizona. We've been camping there since 2011 and I love that the campsites are spaced so far apart! Being up on the plateau north and above Fountain Hills and to the east of the mountain range means that you don't get a lot of light spill-over from the city. The park is a mecca for mountain bikers, but it is fabulous for hikers as well. On a great day, you can hike for hours in the desert in complete solitude.
  • Hiked the Marcus Landslide Trail - connected to Tom's Thumb Trail Head in Scottsdale. Great easy trail with lots of sightseeing and interesting stops to learn about an actual landslide that approximately 500,000 years ago during the ice age, mushroom shaped rock formations, moss and all sorts of cool things! The trail is very well maintained so you have no worries about losing direction as there are signs posted all over the trail. The trail is 4.1 miles in and out plus at the end of the trail head loop, you can go an extra 1 mile which has some tight corners and large boulders. Very family friendly, easy hike but be aware that it is a good spot for mountain bike and horseback riders. Overall, great easy trail for a day out in the sun!
  • Came here in January. This is a great park! It's away from the hustle and bustle of town. Nice scenic drive to a trail head with amenities but no water. Good signage along the trails that point out things many people wouldn't notice. Would love to come back here with my bicycle and wander around
  • We took the Scenic Trail, going counter clockwise on the circuit. We joked for the first mile that it wasn't very scenic at all, but once you climb the ridge, the bites to East and West are beautiful, and you feel really immersed in the Sonoran desert. There are more difficult trails at McDowell and we'll probably try those another time. This one is 3.4 miles and took us about 2 hours with photo and water stops along the way.
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