Not far from Scottsdale in a very pretty part of the valley is the town of Fountain Hills. They have the worlds tallest fountain. At fountain park there is a lake and in the center of the lake is a fountain. At full capacity the fountain shoots 560 feet into the air. The day we saw it we estimated it to be at only around 350 feet and it was still very cool. The fountain runs for 15 minutes, every hour on the hour from 10 am to 9 pm daily.
During our first visit to Scottsdale quite a few years ago, we learned about the Apache Trail. Beginning just on the edge of Scottsdale at Apache Junction, the famed Apache Trail ( US Rt. 88) takes you on a 41 + mile loop deep into the" Superstition Mountains" and around the "Tonto National Forest".
This road once served as an old stage coach route, and remains a combination of partially paved road and dirt & rock road. The steep & winding rocky portions are sometimes scary and sometimes thrilling. The paved portions built in the 1930's were for the benefit of reaching the building sites of the Roosevelt Dam and other features along the Salt River.
We found the Apache Trail had amazing treasures hidden away in its loops and curves, as the road ascended and descended along its entire length. Lost Dutchman State Park and Mine may be your first stop, but further on you'll be surprised to find a series of large, brilliant blue lakes: Canyon Lake, Apache Lake, and Roosevelt Lake. Surrounded as they are by the dry and rocky Superstition Mountains and amid the intense heat, this contrasting scene might seem like an apparition. In actuality, they are places of beauty and a great recreational source for the people who use them for swimming, boating, cruising or fishing.
One of the unexpected sights we came across was a tiny place called "Tortilla Flat" which is actually a tiny settlement with an even tinier population---6! (or so the latest data shows). Tortilla Flat is considered a town & was a Western-style settlement which is basically a stop on the road. There is a very interesting store, Tortilla Flat General Store, where I had my first "prickly pear" cactus ice cream!!
constructing January, 2011
About an hour away from Scottsdale is a really wonderful State park called Lost Dutchman.
Located in the Superstition mountains, Lost Dutchman State Park was the location of a hidden goldmine kept secret by Jacob Waltz known as "the Dutchman"
We arrived in early spring and all of the california poppies were in bloom, it was just breathtaking. A great place to hike, take pictures and relax. There are a few different trails leading up to the focal point of this park, the rock formations. The trails wind forever though the fields of thousands of flowers dotted with the occasional cacti.
There are picnic and camping facilities in the park
The trails range from easy to difficult and the views are just spectacular.
6109 N. Apache Trail
Apache Junction, Arizona 85219
This beautiful bronze sculpture caught my eye right away. Hmmm, wonder why?:) It is sculpted by George-Ann Tognoni 1985 and is located in the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall (Brown Street & Scottsdale Historical Society Museum).
This particular fountain is probably the most photograph sculpture in Scottsdale and rightly so. It is absolutely beautiful. It crowns this section of the shopping district so proudly. Sculpted by Bob Parks 1989 and located in the traffic circle at E. 5th Ave & N. Marshall Way.
Towards the northern end of Scottsdale are some very pretty vistas including an interesting mountain named Pinnacle Peak. We only viewed it from afar, but there are hiking and riding trails that go up the mountain.
check out this website for some more history and info on the area.
And unfortunate part of our overlooked city is NORTH Scottsdale. And by that I mean REAL North scottsdale, far north of the 101. To have a beautiful and peaceful hike, and see some awesome sights. Ok, so take pima north. You will pass alot of desert after Happy Valley, then when you get to Cave Creek road turn right and follow that road. You will pass The Rocks and a couple other places and then suddenly you will see a sign that says "Welcome to the Tonto National Forest"
It is the most majestic and breathtaking place in the universe, and the reason I live in Scottsdale. Keep going until you see a sign for "Sear-Kay Ruins" This is a pretty unknown hiking spot, but can get slightly busy on weekends with locals. Go in the morning while it's cooler. There are two paths at the sears kay, and it loops so you can take one up and the other down. Then you can see how the native americans lived and be awed by the majesty of our great desert.
That is all! PS. Dont keep going north, or you will get trapped on a one way road, the path to the I17 is caved over. There is a seven springs camping ground, but dont go unless you are camping.
I really enjoyed just wandering along the winding paths at Camelback Inn. After getting lost a couple of times, I learned the lay of the land and truly appreciated how spread out the rooms were and how well-kept the paths were.
Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Sedona offer a diverse range of activities for the whole family. Start in the Valley of the Sun and explore downtown Phoenix’s museums and parks. Then, head north to Sedona for a series of outdoor adventures before making your way back to Scottsdale’s resorts and Old West fun.
Drive north on Scottsdale Road....within 1/2 hour from Downtown Scottsdale, with be in beautiful desert. Continue about 15 mins to the town of CAREFREE.
Many people miss this and well worth the drive.
This lovely sculpture is like the centerpiece to the old downtown gallery row. Sculpted by Ed Mell 1993 and is located N. Marshall Way & E Main Street.