Updated: Apr 23, 2021
From Fountain Hills, take Palisades Blvd to Shea Blvd.
At the light, turn right towards Scottsdale until you reach 124th street.
At the light, turn right and continue straight until the road dead-ends at the Lost Dog Trail parking area.
About the hike: This trail takes you up to Sunrise Mountain Peak from the mountain's southside. Start at the Ramada by following the paved sidewalk up to the signpost. The best time to do this hike is the winter and spring months. The track is well marked but offers no shade. I would rate this 5.8-mile trek with a 1,338 foot elevation gain as moderate. The trail switchbacks have a mild elevation gain, which allows you to reach your goal without even realizing how far up you've traveled.
Start on the Lost Dog trail until you come to the wash, and then take a right onto the Sunrise Peak trail.
The trail was not busy when I headed out at 8:00 am on February 14, 2021. There were no wildflowers along the path because we had such a dry summer and fall last year, plus a dry winter so far this year. You could see a bit of brittlebush struggling to make an appearance along the trail.
The only place I saw blooming flowers was at the Ramada entrance, where the brittlebush was in full bloom. My guess these guys are on a sprinkler system.
It's disappointing when the desert doesn't come alive with color in the spring, but there are still opportunities to explore its beauty.
Gazing southwest, you get a glimpse of Phoenix and South Mountain off in the distance.
Weaving through the switchback, you get a glimpse of the trail ahead, cutting across the mountain range towards Sunrise Peak.
Hiking along a splash of red from the Ocotillo flowers was a delightful surprise.
I was surprised by this compass barrel cactus with more miniature cacti growing out of the base. I've never seen this before and thought it was unique.
As I made a sharp turn through the switchbacks, the sun was rising over the mountain peak, reminding me why I choose to hit the trail early in the morning to capture nature at its finest.
From this point, the path turned steeper as you traverse across the trail towards the peak.
I arrived at a landing where you can head north on the Andrew Kinsley Trail, part of the Adero Canyon trail network towards Fountain Hills.
Or continue to Sunrise Peak or just continue along the Sunrise Trail to the Via Linda Trailhead.
For me, on Valentines' Day, I took in the views in all directions and turned back, and headed home the way I came.
Just remember the sun-screen, hat, and plenty of water. With limited shade, you don't want to be caught without any of these essential items. Happy Trails!