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Monday, May 11, 2015


McDowell Sonoran Preserve
Complex geological features are highlights of the hike

Opened in 2014, the Andrews-Kinsey Trail acts as a connector route between Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve and adjacent Fountain Hills Preserve. The trail pays tribute to the efforts of Chet Andrews and Roy Kinsey who have given over 40 years of service to the McDowell Mountain Conservancy stewardship programs. The two-mile preserve section of the route runs along foothills overlooking a green valley bolstered by the distinctive profiles of Four Peaks, Mount Ord and Weaver's Needle. At the top of each hour, the Fountain Hills geyser can be seen from the high ridges spewing one of the tallest water spouts in the world. The mostly exposed trail begins across from a junction located beneath Sunrise Peak. Rolling out in a curvy single track, it clings to the edge of cactus cloaked slopes, rock escarpments and patches of cholla sprouting from clearings littered with glinting slabs of broken quartz. These beautiful specimens are just a tiny part of the complex geology of the surrounding terrain. Both the rocks underfoot and those visible on the horizon chronicle many cataclysmic chapters of earth's history. During high hiking season (October-April), stewards occasionally offer guided geology hikes and talks that give insight into the volcanism, faulting and erosion that continues to shape this stretch of basin and range topography. For a primer, check out the resources available on the Arizona Geological Survey website.
Overlooking Fountain Hills
LENGTH: 8.4 miles (as described here)
RATING: moderate-difficult
ELEVATION: 1,923'-2,962'
Sunrise Trailhead, 12101 N. 145th Way, Scottsdale.
From Loop 101 in Scottsdale, exit onto Shea Blvd. and go 5.8 east to 136th St. Turn left, go 0.4 mile north to Via Linda, turn right and continue 1.75 miles to the overflow/horse lot on the right or continue to the 2-mile point and the main trailhead on the left. Begin on the Sunrise Trail and hike 2.2 miles to the Andrews-Kinsey junction. From here, the trail goes 2 miles to the border with Fountain Hills Preserve, where you can continue on or return the way you came.
INFO: McDowell Sonoran Preserve, 480-312-7013
GEOLOGY INFO: Arizona Geological Survey

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