If you’ve hiked the newest trail in Fountain Hills, the Ridgeline Trail at the Adero Canyon Trailhead, perhaps you’ve wondered what it took to build it.
In this case, it started with a group of 45 all-volunteer Trail builders. For two seasons of seven months each, they worked to clip away brush, dig up and move large rocks, and chip away at difficult areas. Hiker safety was their top priority as they created a path for walking.
And don’t think this is the result of the energy of youth! The average age of this group is 60 years old. Some of the volunteers are already above 80!
Bill Craig is a board director for the Sonoran Conservancy of Fountain Hills and leads the Trailblazers group. Building a trail starts with him sketching a design on paper while he is in the field. Next, he has to get approval from Town Council since this trail is within the Fountain Hills Preserve.
“When it comes to trail building, there are three things that make it a difficult job,” says Bill. “Sometimes we have to work through a rock outcropping and that requires a lot of pick work. Other times we have to figure out how to build across a wash in a way that keeps the trail as safe and sustainable as possible. And then there are the areas where we must build horizontally across a steep vertical rise in the terrain, such as we encountered in some places on the Ridgeline Trail.”
Through determination and hard work, the Trailblazers worked through each challenge. The final product is an out-and-back trail that totals about 4.18 miles. Since it follows the ridgeline of a hill, it has a sawtooth profile and offers a great workout with an overall elevation gain of 870 feet.
“My favorite thing about this trail is the views,“ says Bill. “As the trail wanders along the ridge, it occasionally dips toward Adero Canyon to the south, then toward SunRidge Canyon to the north. It culminates at a peak that overlooks all of Fountain Hills and Four Peaks, the Mazatzals, and the Superstitions.”
For more information about the Trailblazers and the Ridgeline Trail, visit scfh.org.