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SCFH EVENTS

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Most events are free and have a limited number of openings. 

Pre-registration with the Town of Fountain Hills is required. Click on the course number to register.

Stargazing Hike with Vicky Derksen

Friday, December 10, 2021

6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Location -

Adero Canyon Trailhead

Leader - 

Janice Holden

Course

Join Vicky Derksen for a special Stargazing Hike in the Preserve after sunset when it’s normally closed to the public. Hike under a First Quarter Moon stopping to take a naked eye tour of the sky as Vicky points out celestial objects with a laser. The local Star Dudes will have telescope viewing ready at the end of the hike for a close-up look at Jupiter and Saturn. This hike is suitable for ages 6 years and up.
Allow 90 minutes for a 2-mile hike on a moderate trail. Bring water, wear comfortable clothing, closed-toed shoes with treads or hiking boots, and hiking poles, if needed. Use a red flashlight or headlamp during this hike to make it easier for your eyes to adjust to better view the stars and experience hiking under the bright moon. Trail leaders will have regular flashlights for emergencies.
No strollers or pets permitted. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Fee $5 per person

Get To Know Your Botanical Garden

Saturday, December 11, 2021

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Location -

Fountain Hills Desert Botanical Garden

Leader - 

Carol Carriere

Course

Carol Carriere will introduce you to the Garden and share information about its history, geology, plants, and volunteer opportunities as you walk the 1.5 miles of trail. Bring water and a snack. Wear sturdy shoes. A hiking pole is recommended as the trail can be slippery in spots. No dogs please!

Andrews Kinsey to Sunrise Peak or Hitching Post

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

8:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Location -

Adero Canyon Trailhead

Leader - 

Dell & Cindy Ouimet

Course

This moderately difficult 6.5 mile hike will follow the Andrews-Kinsey trail, which connects to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale. After intersecting the Sunrise Trail, there is a short steep climb to the top of Sunrise Peak. The Andrews-Kinsey trail was named for Chet Andrews and Roy Kinsey, who both worked tirelessly to promote the creation of the preserves in Scottsdale and Fountain Hills. Bring 2-3 liters of water, lunch or snacks. Wear sturdy boots. Hiking poles recommended. No dogs please!

Kick off the New Year

Saturday, January 08, 2022

9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Location -

Golden Eagle Trailhead

Leader - 

Pam Cissik,
Larry Mills

Course

This is an 11 mile exercise-paced hike. This challenging loop hike will take participants through both the McDowell Mountain Regional Park and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve (Scottsdale). $2 Entry fee to the regional park. Bring 3 liters of water, snacks and lunch. Wear sturdy boots. Hiking poles recommended. No Dogs Please.

Ridgeline Trails

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Location -

Adero Canyon Trailhead

Leader - 

Janice Holden

Course

On this 4-5 mile hike in the McDowell Mountain Preserve, you will explore the new Ridgeline Trail and portions of the Lower Ridgeline Trail which is still being developed. This trail is rated difficult as it is narrow and in places has some steep ups and downs. We shall take our time and enjoy the views! Bring 2 liters of waters and snacks. Wear sturdy boots. Hiking poles recommended. No Dogs Please.

You Can’t Tell a Rock by Its Cover

Saturday, January 15, 2022

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Location -

Fountain Hills Desert Botanical Garden

Leader - 

Dan Gruber

Course

The Fountain Hills Desert Botanical Garden presents a microcosm of the interesting geology of Fountain Hills. Dan Gruber will talk about the rocks in the garden; what they are, how they frame the stories they tell, and their importance to the ecosystem of Fountain Hills and the surrounding area. Wear shoes or boots with grippy soles. Hiking pole recommended. Bring a bottle of water and snacks. No Dogs Please.

Sonoran Trails

Friday, January 21, 2022

8:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Location -

Adero Canyon Trailhead

Leader - 

Carol Carriere,
Dell Ouimet

Course

This is a 3-5.5 mile moderate to moderately difficult hike with wonderful views in the McDowell Mountain Preserve. The hike follows the Promenade Trail for .8 mile and then connects to the Sonoran trails for a scenic loop hike with some ups and downs. The entire loop is about 5.5 miles, but for those that wish Carol plans to use one of two crossover trails to shorten the hike. Dell will do the entire loop. Bring 2 liters of water and snacks. Wear sturdy boots. Hiking poles recommended. No Dogs Please.

Dixie Mine

Saturday, January 29, 2022

9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Location -

Golden Eagle Trailhead

Leader - 

Jan Jensen

Course

This is a moderate 5.2 mile round trip hike to a historic mine in the McDowell Mountain Regional Park. Only 
trace amounts of valuable minerals were ever found. $2 park entry fee. Bring 2 liters of water and snacks. Wear sturdy boots. Hiking poles recommended. No Dogs Please.

Tom’s Thumb to Dixie Mine Trailhead

Friday, February 04, 2022

8:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Location -

Golden Eagle Trailhead
(To shuttle vehicles)

Leader - 

Pam Cissik,
Larry Mills
Sandee Petersen

Course

This will be an exercise pace hike from the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead to the Golden Eagle Trailhead. It is a challenging hike due to the 9.5 mile distance and faster pace. However, elevation gain will be modest since we will avoid the climb up to Tom’s Thumb and follow fairly flat trails into the McDowell Regional Park. Plan for a longer day as we will meet at the Golden Eagle Trailhead and shuttle hikers to the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. Bring 3 liters of water and lunch. Wear sturdy boots. Hiking poles recommended. No Dogs Please.

Birding Walk with Kathe Anderson

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

7:30 AM to 10:30 AM

Location -

Fountain Park Amphitheater

Leader - 

Kathe Anderson

Course

Identify and learn about the birds that frequent Fountain Park, particularly through the cooler months. Kathe Anderson is a local birding expert who will have much information to share. She has led hundreds of field trips all over Arizona and teaches birding classes for ASU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the Desert Botanical Garden and others. Bring water, snacks and wear sturdy walking shoes. You may wish to bring binoculars and something to take notes. No Dogs Please.

Ethnobotany: How Native Americans used plants
To survive

Saturday, February 12, 2022

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Location -

Fountain Hills Desert Botanical Garden

Leader - 

Bernie Finkel

Course

Bernie Finkel will lead an interpretive walk through the Desert Botanical Garden demonstrating how the Native Americans of the Sonoran Desert used and related to their plants to survive. Wear shoes or boots with grippy soles. Hiking poles recommended. Bring a bottle of water and snacks. No Dogs Please.

Wonders of Legumes

Saturday, February 19, 2022

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Location -

Fountain Hills Community Center

Leader - 

Patrick Webber

Course

The Legume Cousins - Peas, beans, mesquites, acacias and mimosas are all cousins. They represent the third largest family of flowering plants. Patrick Webber will describe their relationships, ecology and economic value with emphasis on some Arizona natives and exotics in our gardens and parks.

Exploring Horse Trails on Foot off the Apache Trail

Monday, February 21, 2022

8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Location -

Library to Carpool

Leader - 

Pam Cissik
Dell Ouimet

Course

This is a moderate 6 mile hike on informal trails in the Goldfields off the Apache Trail. If you have driven to Tortilla Flat, you will have noticed a very beautiful area to the west. These are the Goldfields. No formal trails exist here, but the area has been discovered by horseback riders and many of these trails are perfect for those of us on foot. We will explore a few of them. 1 hour drive time with mid-afternoon return. Bring 2-3 liters of water, lunch or snacks. Wear sturdy boots. Hiking poles recommended. No dogs please.

How to Take Great Photos with Your Cell Phone Part 1

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Location -

Adero Canyon Trailhead

Leader - 

Paul Stark

Course

Wouldn’t you like to know how to take the best photos with your cell phone, especially as wildflower season approaches. Paul Stark will be providing tips for you to use. He will be using an iphone, but most tips will also apply to android phones. After the talk, Paul will take you on a short hike in the Preserve to demonstrate his suggestions. Don’t forget to bring your charged cell phone to this talk!

How to Take Great Photos with Your Cell Phone Part 2

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Location -

Fountain Hills Community Center

Leader - 

Paul Stark

Course

We will meet at the Community Center and work with some photos taken on your cell phone the week before. In this session, Paul Stark will review basic editing techniques, cropping and quick lighting/color corrections using phones and iPads (skills will also apply to those using computers, but we won’t be using them in this session). We will also spend a few minutes discussing posting photos on various internet services.

Carney to Robbers Roost - Top of the Superstitions

Friday, March 04, 2022

7:30 AM to 4:00 PM

Location -

Library to Carpool

Leader - 

Pam Cissik
Larry Mills
Sandee Peterson

Course

This is a very challenging hike to the top of the Superstition Mountains. We will climb to the top on the Carney trail - an informal but well used trail. We will break at a false summit along the way and then break again at the top. We then follow an informal trail and then Pam’s GPS to Robbers Roost. Legend says outlaws hid in this cavern. An amazing lunch stop! From there we follow more informal trails and do some descending through rock formations to Fremont Saddle, with its awesome view of Weaver’s Needle. We follow the Peralta Trail back to its trailhead, where we will have dropped a car. Drivers will retrieve the remaining vehicles for our drive home. Bring 3 liters of water, snacks and food. Wear sturdy boots. Long pants and long sleeve shirts are recommended as we will encounter brush and do some light scrambling. Hiking poles Recommended. No Dogs please!

Flowers and Plants Found in the Preserve

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Location -

Adero Canyon Trailhead

Leader - 

Carol Carriere
Jan Jensen

Course

Carol Carriere and Jan Jensen will lead this leisurely paced 3 to 5 mile hike in the Preserve trails. We can hope for a wonderful wildflower season. However, if the wildflowers fail to cooperate, there are many interesting plants to identify and discuss. Bring 2 liters of water and snacks. Wear sturdy boots. Hiking poles recommended. No Dogs Please.

Birds: Sighting and Identification

Saturday, March 12, 2022

7:30 AM to 9:30 AM

Location -

Fountain Hills Desert Botanical Garden

Leader - 

Peter Herstein

Course

During this walk through the Botanical Garden with birder Peter Herstein you will be searching for birds, not only by sight, but by sound. March is an excellent time for birding here, with over 20 different species a distinct possibility.  Highlights could include Rock Wren, Lucy's Warbler, Gilded Flicker, and American Kestrel.  Bring water and a hat, and binoculars if possible. Peter will also demonstrate the use of the ebird, Merlin and birdNET apps. Wear shoes or boots with grippy soles. Hiking poles recommended. Bring a bottle of water and snacks. No Dogs Please.

Little Saddle Mountain

Friday, March 18, 2022

8:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Location -

Library to Carpool

Leader - 

Pam Cissik

Course

This is a moderate to challenging in/out 8 mile hike on a beautiful portion of the Arizona Trail. Early turn around is possible if hike or distance is too challenging. Trail access is off a paved road. The trail gradually climbs through a canyon. If the winter is wet, we may cross a stream several times. This area was burned in the 2012 Sunflower fire and it is amazing to see how well this area has recovered. Bring 2-3 liters of water and lunch. Wear sturdy boots. Hiking poles recommended. 30 minute drive time to trailhead.

Medicinal Plants

Saturday, March 26, 2022

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Location -

Fountain Hills Desert Botanical Garden

Leader - 

Bernie Finkel

Course

During this walk through the Botanical Garden, Bernie Finkel will introduce and explain how certain plants found in the Garden and elsewhere in the Sonoran Desert have been used for medicinal purposes by Native Americans. He will also touch on the history of medicinal plants and what makes a plant medicinal. Wear shoes or boots with grippy soles. Hiking poles recommended. Bring a bottle of water and snacks. No Dogs Please

Granite Mountain Hotshots - Yarnell

Friday, April 01, 2022

7:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Location -

Library to Carpool

Leader - 

Pam Cissik

Course

This is an all day trip (100 miles each way) to visit the Memorial Park and Fatality Site where 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots lost their lives on 6/30/2013. There is a 2.85 mile hike on a steep trail to the Observation Deck; but many stops make this a doable hike if you are reasonably fit, can handle 5000 foot elevation and are able to hike 5 miles. An additional 1/2 mile hike descends to the the fatality site. See website for more details: https://azstateparks.com/hotshots. Bring 2 liters of water and snacks or lunch. Wear sturdy boots. Hiking poles recommended. Dining afterwards in Yarnell is also possible.

Lichens Seen But Not Recognized

Saturday, April 16, 2022

9:00 to 11:00 AM

Location -

Fountain Hills Community Center

Leader - 

Patrick Webber

Course

Learn about the fascinating world and symbiotic relationship of algae and fungi.  Patrick Webber will provide an introduction to lichens and describe how you can find them in the Fountain Hills Desert Botanical Garden.  

Birds Early Evening

Saturday, April 30, 2022

6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Location -

Fountain Hills Desert Botanical Garden

Leader - 

Peter Herstein

Course

During this walk through the Botanical Garden with birder Peter Herstein, you will be looking for birds before they roost for the evening. The garden in the late afternoon at this time of year has quite a bit of shade.  It is an excellent time for a late afternoon walk, with over 15 different species a distinct possibility.  We will be specifically looking and listening for Lesser Nighthawks and Ash-throated Flycatchers.  We will be identifying birds both by sight and song.  Peter will also demonstrate the use of the ebird, Merlin and birdNET apps. Wear shoes or boots with grippy soles. Hiking poles recommended. Bring a bottle of water and snacks. No Dogs please.