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Golden Eagle Loop - Fountain Hills
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34 by photographer avatarFLYING_FLIVER
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Golden Eagle Loop - Fountain HillsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 16 2012
FLYING_FLIVER
Hiking11.20 Miles 1,810 AEG
Hiking11.20 Miles   5 Hrs   25 Mns   2.80 mph
1,810 ft AEG   1 Hour   25 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
 
This is an excellent 11 mile hike, if your goal is to just get out and take a leisurely stroll in the desert, or if you desire a warm-up hike to get in shape for more difficult hikes.

The name of this loop-hike appears to be derived from its parking lot location in Fountain Hills. The parking lot is located on Golden Eagle Blvd, just before a gated community.
It's a nice paved lot just for hikers, with real bathrooms in a building adjacent to the lot.
From the lot you walk past the guard house of the gated community, and follow "side walk directions" to the actual Dixie Mine trailhead.

This loop-hike traverses both McDowell Mountain Regional Park (bring $2 for the lock-box), and Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve It uses 6 different named trails, and a bit of the Thompson Pk Rd. If this sounds a bit complex, believe me it's not. I did the hike counter-clockwise and, while on the loop portion, all you do at each trail intersection, is turn left until you hook up with the Dixie Mine trail again, for the end leg.

We stopped at the Dixie mine and toured both atop all the tailings, and below in the high vegetation wash. The loop portion of the hike goes around the mountain that Dixie Mine is in.

As we hiked on the Windmill Trail portion, I noticed alot of green foliage & many trees in one low section, off to the south a few hundred feet. From the trail that's all you can see, unless you look very closely. There's an old windmill amongst the green. (ergo the name, Windmill Trail).
The area must have springs that ranchers discovered long ago, as there's a slowly decaying infrastructure of water tanks, wells, corals, and that windmill. It's a nice place to stop and explore.

Further on the loop is a flat, cleared area that must have included a ranch house or some type of outbuilding, as there are the remains of a stove, mattress spring etc strewn around. Possibly it was the location of a dwelling for miners or prospectors. Directly adjacent to this cleared area is a mine shaft, plus atop the mountain you're looping, there's signs of mining.

Again this is an excellent, leisurely hike with great views of the McDowell Mountains from start to finish.
_____________________
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost
J.R.R.TOLKIEN
HAZ Member
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