Hike of the Week: Ridgeline Trail in Fountain Hills

Mare CzinarDecember 13, 2023
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Ridgeline Trail, Fountain Hills McDowell Mountain Preserve 

This linear trail traces the spine of a chain of hills in the preserve’s southeast sector.  

Its ingenious build, ample directional signage and meticulously groomed tread glides easily through the mountainous terrain. While the trail is rated as difficult, it lacks the precipitous traverses, confusing junctions, insanely steep inclines and slippery descents typically associated with the rating. The route is a grinding rollercoaster of twisting descents and false summits that add up to over 950 feet of gain-and-loss over the 3.8-mile trek. 

  • LENGTH:  3.8 miles roundtrip
  • RATING: difficult
  • ELEVATION: 2,364 – 2,590 feet 
  • BEST SEASON: October – April
  • FACILITIES: restrooms 


Adero Canyon Trailhead
14800 N. Eagle Ridge Dr., Fountain Hills 

  • From State Route 87 in Fountain Hills, go 3.2 miles west on Shea Blvd. to N. Palisades Blvd.
  • Turn right (north) and continue 1mile to Eagle Ridge Drive, turn left and go 2.3 miles to the trailhead.
  • Preserve hours are sunrise to sunset daily.