The Lake Overlook Trail is an urban trail in the heart of Fountain Hills that is short and easy to hike. The total length is only 1.5 miles, but at least some additional walking is required along Fountain Lake in order to get back to the trailhead. Depending on your mood and your company, a longer hike around the lake after completion can stretch a hike out to 3 miles or more. This is a very good family hike for kids and people who aren't die hards (which is probably you, if you're reading this).
Start at the east parking lot of Fountain Lake, just off of Panorama Boulevard. Cross Panorama and head north (left) just a bit and you'll see a short, green, metal sign that points out the beginning of the Lake Overlook Trail.
The trail makes its way uphill through a housing/condo development, which doesn't make for the greatest scenery at first. The trail is extremely well defined, however, with no rough rocky patches. Along this portion, if you look behind you, you can see some nice views of Fountain Lake and the Town Center area of Fountain Hills. Up behind that are the McDowell Mtns, which become more prominent and a better view as you ascend.
After 0.3 miles, you get past the condos, the trail turns north on a ridge. Up here you're away from the housing, but still not far from it. The views, however, have got much better because you now have a 360 vista of the surrounding mountains. To the east now the Superstitions and Four Peaks are visible and to the north you can make Mt. Ord and the Mazatzals. Much more of the McDowells are visible, especially as they stretch to the north.
At the 0.7 mile mark, the trail drops down the hillside and back through some more condo development. Some views of the mountains and lake are still visible, however. Soon the trail ascends and switchbacks up a hill and levels off again, heading west and then south. At this point, the "trail" makes its way out a sidewalk and basically through a neighborhood. Follow the sidewalk west again for a block or two until you see the sign for the Lake Overlook Trail and turn left (south). From here the trail is back on a singletrack. There is some slight switch backing at first, but then a gradual descent southward towards the Foutain, which is visible for most of this section.
Once the trail ends at the intersection of Saguaro and Palisades Boulevards, you can either take a direct route back to your car, or hike around the lake some more. The south end of Fountain Lake has some playgrounds and a splash park, which is likely to be of some interest if you're hiking with kids, which this hike is well suited for.
One-Way Notice: This hike is listed as One-Way. When you hike several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
Paved - Car Okay
To hike Take the Beeline Highway or 101 to Shea Boulevard. From the intersection of Shea Boulevard and Saguaro Boulevard, head north about 3 miles. At the intersection of Saguaro and Palisades Boulevards, turn right onto Panorama (Palisades turns into Panorama at this intersection) and drive 0.2 miles to the east side of the lake. A small parking lot is there. From the lot, cross Panorama and look for the green metal "Lake Overlook Trail" sign.