Eagle Ridge

The Eagle Ridge climb, as shown from AJ’s (intersection of Mountain View and Via Linda).

This is the closest climb of Fountain Hills to the Phoenix area, and makes a good alternative to the more popular Hidden Hills climb just west of Fountain Hills, because Eagle Ridge has no gates to go through, no speed bumps, is about 100 ft higher than Hidden Hills, and has good views of Four Peaks and the Tonto Forest and Superstition Wilderness to the east and south.

I’ve shown this climb starting at AJ’s, a popular watering hole for us cyclists in northeast Scottsdale at the corner of Mountain View and Via Linda. The course goes up Mountain View to the StoneGate subdivision, and then further east to 124th St, and then north to Via Linda (Mountain View and Via Linda crisscross, in case you don’t figure it out), and then east along Via Linda to 136th St. From there, drop south to Shea Blvd, where you can catch a paved bike path along Shea, heading east to Fountain Hills. The bike path only lasts a mile or so, unfortunately, and you get dumped back onto Shea. During the early morning hours of the weekend, riding along Shea isn’t that bad, because (1) there are three lanes of traffic each way, (2) you have a bike lane that is marked, at least part of the way, (3) it’s short — you are only riding on Shea for about a mile, and (4) you don’t have any choice, if you want to go out to Fountain Hills. The climb up Shea is roughly 2-6% grade. You crest at the intersection with Palisades Blvd. Head north on Palisades Blvd, over one roller and then climb up to the intersection of Palisades Blvd and Eagle Ridge. The climb to this intersection is in the 7-10% range. Turn northwest onto Eagle Ridge and then begin a climb to a cul-de-sac at the end, it’s a mile or so, with grades ranging from 2-8% (most of it is not steep).

At the top, you can enjoy views to the east of the aforementioned Four Peaks, Tonto National Forest, and Superstition Wilderness, and if you look west and down, you’ll see the climb up into the Hidden Hills area, and the cul-de-sac that marks the end of that climb. You can fill yourself with the satisfaction that you’ve climbed a 100 ft higher than those other folks, and don’t have to contend with speed bumps on the way back.

View of the Hidden Hills climb from Eagle Ridge.

Looking down at the “top” of Hidden Hills (the cul-de-sac) from Eagle Ridge.

Return the same way you came. The descent down Eagle Ridge, south along a few rollers to Shea, and the down Shea to 136th St is fast and fun — and scenic. While it’s possible to stay on Shea for a ways further, you probably don’t want to — it’s best to get out of the traffic as soon as you can. Turn north onto 136th, and then west onto Via Linda. At 124th St, you have a choice, you can turn south on 124th St back to Mountain View and then west to AJ’s, or simply stay on Via Linda, all the way back to AJ’s. Some like the latter route better, because you have a few more uninterrupted miles of downhill.

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