Updated: Oct 31, 2018
Directions: Dixie Mine trail can be accessed from the Golden Eagle Trail parking lot located at the end of Golden Eagle Rd. Heading east on Shea Blvd take a left onto Palisades Blvd for 3 miles then take a left onto Golden Eagle for 5 miles. The trail parking lot is off to the left right before the entrance to the gated residential community.
About the Hike: From the parking lot to Dixie Mine trail is 5.49 miles round trip. Usage of the trail is $2.00 per person paid on an honorary basis. This trail allows dogs, and supports multiple other outdoor activities including trail running, mountain biking, and hiking.
I ventured out to the Dixie Mine trail on an early Saturday morning in April 2018. At 6:30 am I found the trail parking lot was empty except for a couple of other cars. At 9:30 am when I finished my hike the lot was full and cars were parking along the street. Follow the signs and the feather stamped in the sidewalk to the trail head. At the mouth of the trail head is a locked box to deposit the $2.00 per person usage fee.
Heading out on the trail you'll be surrounded by 360° picturesque views of the McDowell Mountains.
This morning, I couldn't help notice the desert foliage was sparse from minimal winter rain but occasionally you could spot a flash of color. My eyes were drawn to a barren Ocotillo cacti struggling to provide food for the wood peckers and cactus wren's .
Continuing on 1.28 miles through the rolling hills the trail splits off in two directions. The Sonoran Trail ventures off to your left but if you continue straight you'll be on the Dixie Mine trail.
Mother Nature is the wisest teacher. She provides lessons to those eager and open to learning. This morning in perfect symmetry she displayed a dried saguaro cactus skeleton shadowed by a healthy saguaro.
Further up the trail the mighty prickly pear blossoms are preparing to brighten the landscape with a splash of color. Closing my eyes I can imagine the explosion of colors across the desert floor in a wetter winter season. Winding through the rolling hills traversing among the boulders shelter by the McDowell Mountains a treasure awaits on a hedgehog cacti. Hiking along I scan the horizon noticing guarding the desert floor are the Ocotillo cactuses floating like fairies from the McDowell Mountains ridgeline.
Descending down into a small alcove of boulders stands a solitary Ocotillo offering a splash of color against the majestic boulders. Leaving the alcove I come across more prickly pear cactuses lining the trail preparing their blossoms for an explosion of yellow. Walking onward I spot another saguaro skeleton, contemplating a picture of a bird perched on the saguaro arm serendipity plays it's part and poof a cactus wren lands on the arm.
You get your first glimpse of Dixie Mine about .5 miles from the entrance. The mine is no longer active. Using your imagination travel back in time to 1917 when the 1st claim was filed in hopes of striking it rich with gold, silver, and copper. In 1980 they gated the entrance to the mine for safety reasons. It is now only open to Bureau of Land Management.