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  1. #1
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    Good Trails off McDowells - Gateway TH?

    I am going to be staying with the wife and kids for a little mini vaction this weekend. Will be staying the Princess and I have been given the green light to 1 or 2 early morning rides. The McDowells are close and I have not ridden there so I want to give it a try.

    There is a Gateway Trailhead off Thompson Peak just north of Bell Road.

    What good trails are there in that area? Looking at Stava I see this segment.

    Strava Segment | Gateway - Windgate - Bell Pass Loop

    Seems like a nice loop with lots of climbing.

    Any other suggestions?

    I found this thread, but don't have a clue where these trails actually are.
    McDowell Sonoran Preserve East Ride Tomorrow Morning I have questions

    Is there a good map out there I can refer to?

    I think by looking at Ray's Ride here I can get an idea of the trail names.

    Mountain Bike Ride Profile | Chill pace short double near Scottsdale | Times and Records | Strava
    Last edited by JoePAz; 08-06-2012 at 11:47 AM.
    Joe
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  3. #3
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    Brent, the operations mgr for Princess rides up there quite often. Ask him too.
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  4. #4
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    Thanks Guys!
    Joe
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  5. #5
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    This is a good ride. Make sure you leave early to beat the heat, both Windgate and Bell are tough climbs even if you are in great shape.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cilantro13 View Post
    This is a good ride. Make sure you leave early to beat the heat, both Windgate and Bell are tough climbs even if you are in great shape.

    I agree.. this weekend its supposed to be lows in the 90's (morning temps).... Its a very tough ride (for me)... even in my lightest weight and best condition in my early 20's, I would not even attempt this loop in the summer...

    just be careful

  7. #7
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    My plan would be to be at the trailhead at 5:15 to 5:30 am. and ride from there. Goal is to be back to the hotel by 8:30am be there when the faimly gets up. Then I can rest all day by the pool.

    I like the pool, but hate to just sit there all day. However if I have had nice ride then sitting there all day going to sound really nice.

    As for the climbing. That stuff tends to be the most fun for me anyway. If I don't feel good when I get to the top of windgate then I can always turn back. It is all downhill from there.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", '06 Rocky Mtn Switch 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  8. #8
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    Joe,
    Of the two loops you originally posted, my loop takes the Desert Park trail which climbs more gradually prior to dumping into Windgate about 1/2 way up....more SS friendly.
    This is another fun loop without the big brutal climbs.
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    Do them as early as you can...especially if you do the Windgate-Bell loop. The Bell climb albeit only a mile, faces the rising sun and can be really toasty.
    Have fun....
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    Joe,
    Of the two loops you originally posted, my loop takes the Desert Park trail which climbs more gradually prior to dumping into Windgate about 1/2 way up....more SS friendly.
    This is another fun loop without the big brutal climbs.
    Mountain Bike Ride Profile | Walt TT course - West Side - Glasses on outside of straps near Scottsdale | Times and Records | Strava
    Do them as early as you can...especially if you do the Windgate-Bell loop. The Bell climb albeit only a mile, faces the rising sun and can be really toasty.
    Have fun....
    Windgate\Bell takes me 2 hrs. A lot of variations off Gateway loop, while not the same extended climb, take just about as long. I like climbing Desert Park to Windgate like Ray suggests, then down Windgate, up over Gateway saddle, down Paradise wash, down Quartz to the golf course. This is about 1.5 hrs for me (if i dont hit the tequila tree) with bailouts and a predominantly downhill 2nd half.


    you can ride from the Princess ~4 miles of road. a little more trail time, but not much more than taking your car.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball View Post
    I like climbing Desert Park to Windgate like Ray suggests, then down Windgate, up over Gateway saddle, down Paradise wash, down Quartz to the golf course. This is about 1.5 hrs for me (if i dont hit the tequila tree) with bailouts and a predominantly downhill 2nd half. .

    I have done this one twice this summer.... If I can do it, I would say just about anyone can do it... its fun, and there are some technical areas that I have problems with... So its not too overly boring...

    Its the -- up Windgate pass, passing both Windmill and Prospector junctions and then back down Bell pass -- that I (personally) wouild not want to attempt in this heat...

    Its likely Ill see you out there this weekend... Ill be riding some sort of variation of these trails... For now I ride alone because last ride I went with someone just recently, they got pretty darn annoyed about how much I was slowing the group down...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball View Post
    Windgate\Bell takes me 2 hrs. A lot of variations off Gateway loop, while not the same extended climb, take just about as long. I like climbing Desert Park to Windgate like Ray suggests, then down Windgate, up over Gateway saddle, down Paradise wash, down Quartz to the golf course. This is about 1.5 hrs for me (if i dont hit the tequila tree) with bailouts and a predominantly downhill 2nd half.


    you can ride from the Princess ~4 miles of road. a little more trail time, but not much more than taking your car.
    Curious if Desert Park to Windgate has a ton of hikers? DP cuts into Windgate after Gateway connector? Sorry if this has been previously explained... I know these trails by sight but not as well by name.

  12. #12
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    map
    http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/Assets/P...+Trail+Map.pdf

    busiest trail I would say is Gateway Loop... and any trail that is close to the Gateway trailhead... this area has great scenery..

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycljunkie View Post
    Curious if Desert Park to Windgate has a ton of hikers? DP cuts into Windgate after Gateway connector? Sorry if this has been previously explained... I know these trails by sight but not as well by name.
    Nope, Jim...very quiet section of trail. Joins Windgate at the signpost where we took those "posed" pics a few years ago (me, you, Dave and Deanna).

    Much more pedal/heart-friendly option than straight up Windgate. You start up the very bottom of Windgate, then take a left on Horseshoe, then take that all the way down to where it joins/turns into Desert Park, and back up the gradual climb to Windgate.
    Ride more; post less...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by VBrakesAndBarEnds View Post
    I have done this one twice this summer.... If I can do it, I would say just about anyone can do it... its fun, and there are some technical areas that I have problems with... So its not too overly boring...

    Its the -- up Windgate pass, passing both Windmill and Prospector junctions and then back down Bell pass -- that I (personally) wouild not want to attempt in this heat...

    Its likely Ill see you out there this weekend... Ill be riding some sort of variation of these trails... For now I ride alone because last ride I went with someone just recently, they got pretty darn annoyed about how much I was slowing the group down...
    I agree - this can be done in the summer if you can deal with riding warm. The first 3/4 (timewise) of the ride will be uphill. Windgate will keep your heartrate at threshold, and push anaroebic at times most likely, and there will probably be a section or two you don't clean. Bell can be cleaned, but you will probably be riding threshold for much all of it. All this translates to your body working hard in the heat.

    I too have done it early in the AM, and I was hot, but with water and endurolites you should be fine. Just give yourself 3 to 3.5 hours to do the loop and start before 6 AM.
    Last edited by cilantro13; 08-06-2012 at 04:44 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball View Post
    I like climbing Desert Park to Windgate like Ray suggests, then down Windgate, up over Gateway saddle, down Paradise wash, down Quartz to the golf course.
    This is a good one as well. I would suggest something like this the first day, then try Bell Pass (if you like) the second. Bell Pass is awesome, but gets pretty steep up at the top.. I run it quite a bit and can barely even make it to the top without walking this time of year. I can't even imagine biking up it.

    If you stay on the west side of the McDowell Mountains, it stays pretty cool in the mornings as it takes a while for the sun to come up over the top of the mountains. The sun comes up around 5, but it doesn't start bearing down on you till about 6:30, which is nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cycljunkie View Post
    Curious if Desert Park to Windgate has a ton of hikers? DP cuts into Windgate after Gateway connector? Sorry if this has been previously explained... I know these trails by sight but not as well by name.
    you are correct about the location, bout halfway up Windgate, .4 miles down from the Tom's Thumb junction and .7 above the Gateway junction. typically not as many hikers, but weekends etc is what it is. when you hit the main loop, the hikers muck up the DH I usually ride it at night and enter via an undocumented back route.

  17. #17
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    Not many hikers this time of year.....Of the 4 times I rode out there last week....I saw 2 peeps....

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball View Post
    I usually ride it at night and enter via an undocumented back route.
    eeewwwww... gateway gulch

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer View Post
    Not many hikers this time of year.....Of the 4 times I rode out there last week....I saw 2 peeps....
    cuz you ride in the middle of the afternoon. hey mebbe you pushed that dude who crashed!!

  20. #20
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    I usually ride up from home. Desert park to gateway down gateway to paradise down to quartz up to taliesin overlook then back down quartz and home.

  21. #21
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    Well I rode it this morning. Tough. I did it in about 2hrs 15 min. I did a lot more HAB than I wanted.

    When it got back to the gateway parking lot I had my second wind and did a little loop from desert view to horseshoe and back to the lot.
    Joe
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  22. #22
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    Ok I rode quarts, lost dog, ringtail today. Saw a lot of other riders. Any MTBR riders?
    Joe
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  23. #23
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    Walts strava said he was out there today? Prolly flying past regardless of up or down?

    (Gimme a break im bored at work waiting to go road ride home in 40 min )

  24. #24
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    I did a trail run out of the gateway this morning, saw one guy riding through the TH parking lot on an Orange Santa Cruz. I have seen him there before. Funny how you remember people by their bikes sometimes!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHNIPE View Post
    Walts strava said he was out there today? Prolly flying past regardless of up or down?

    (Gimme a break im bored at work waiting to go road ride home in 40 min )
    I look at Stava and it looks like Walt was going out from the south end of the loop. I started at Quartz lot off 104th St. We rode the same trails and the same direction, but I doubt we crossed paths.

    Plus I started at 5:45 and finished up at 8:30.
    Joe
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  26. #26
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    This thread has saved my thanksgiving weekend sanity; THANKS! Coming down from Co., staying at the Princess with the fam. super psyched to find that there is legit singletrack within a stones throw. I'll be at McDowells Fri. and Sat. if anyone wants to hook up for a ride and show an out-of-towner the goods I'd be happy to return the favor biking or skiing in the Telluride Co. area. PM me or look for a white SC Butcher on the trails.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtsideup View Post
    This thread has saved my thanksgiving weekend sanity; THANKS! Coming down from Co., staying at the Princess with the fam. super psyched to find that there is legit singletrack within a stones throw. I'll be at McDowells Fri. and Sat. if anyone wants to hook up for a ride and show an out-of-towner the goods I'd be happy to return the favor biking or skiing in the Telluride Co. area. PM me or look for a white SC Butcher on the trails.
    will be busy with another ride on Friday, and not riding Sat, but too bad would love to get some beta on T-ride. Post up any questions and I'll try to help. Its barely 20 min to ride from the Princess (15 on my CX bike), worth it imo to not load your car etc.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtsideup View Post
    This thread has saved my thanksgiving weekend sanity; THANKS! Coming down from Co., staying at the Princess with the fam. super psyched to find that there is legit singletrack within a stones throw. I'll be at McDowells Fri. and Sat. if anyone wants to hook up for a ride and show an out-of-towner the goods I'd be happy to return the favor biking or skiing in the Telluride Co. area. PM me or look for a white SC Butcher on the trails.
    I can hook up and show ya some McDowell fun. I'm a slower climber, but love to bomb the downs. What kind of mileage are you looking to do on Friday?

    EDIT: I just got done riding 14 miles and 1700+ feet of climbing so my legs need Friday off. Will be available Saturday.
    Last edited by MTB Pilot; 11-22-2012 at 10:14 AM.
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    Thanks guys and happy thanksgiving! Just got to the princess, I think this may be my first non-thanksgiving ever, just a day in the car. Pilot, I'm thinking 2-3hr. rides both fri. and sat. (of course if I go longer and have some random new friend to blame it on...) . I'm guessing mornings are best. I'll PM ya a #/ e-mail.
    Slow up/bomb down works for me.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    I am going to be staying with the wife and kids for a little mini vaction this weekend. Will be staying the Princess and I have been given the green light to 1 or 2 early morning rides.
    Quote Originally Posted by rtsideup View Post
    Thanks guys and happy thanksgiving! Just got to the princess, I think this may be my first non-thanksgiving ever, just a day in the car. Pilot, I'm thinking 2-3hr. rides both fri. and sat. (of course if I go longer and have some random new friend to blame it on...) . I'm guessing mornings are best. I'll PM ya a #/ e-mail.
    Slow up/bomb down works for me.
    JoePAz/Rtsideup...Good to have some fellow Mtbr's in the resort. I am the manager at the Princess resort but working tomorrow so I won't be able to ride. After your ride ask the team on the front driveway or at the Front Desk for Brent and I will come out and meet you.

    I did the Gateway Access Loop up to Windgate Pass and then over to Bell Pass a couple weeks ago. If you ride before 10am you should be fine.

    Rtsideup...Spent some time in Telluride this summer and enjoyed some of the sweet singletrack in your backyard (little dusty).

    See how tomorrow goes and maybe we can get a ride in on Saturday AM.

    Brent

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    Brent, I was there this August. Not sure when I will be back, but if I will and bring the bike I will loop you up. Wife and kid love the pricess in summer. Great pool!
    Joe
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    Rtside up, windgate / bell is a lot go climbing. Quartz,taliesin,lost dog,ringtail is less climbing, but also a great ride. Lots do nice trails there, but no serious chunk or DH stuff.
    Joe
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Brent, I was there this August. Not sure when I will be back, but if I will and bring the bike I will loop you up. Wife and kid love the pricess in summer. Great pool!
    Great to hear. You should bring the kids by one night in December to see all the stuff we have going on including a new ice skating rink next to La Hacienda.

    Sorry I missed you in August. If you are still in Anthem I am up your way every once in awhile riding Black Canyon and just recently discovered the Cave Creek Festival 24 mile loop which is one of my new favorite rides.

    See you on the trails one of these days.

    Brent

  34. #34
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    @rtsideup -- what did you wind up riding?

  35. #35
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    I took him, or maybe he took me, from the Gateway TH up Desert Park to Wingate to Tom's Thumb to the top. Watched a Helo rescue and then headed down East End and up to Bell Pass. Then rocked it all the way back down to the TH. First time I've done that route since August, before I broke my collar bone, and man did that climbing kick my A$$! His thin aired CO a$$ had no problems We had a good time all in all: about 16 miles and 3200' of climbing and descending on my computer. Nice guy and great rider

    P.S. I'm trying to embed the ride data from the Garmin Connect site, but keep failing. Anybody know how to do this???!!!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Good Trails off McDowells - Gateway TH?-img_2331-copy.jpg  

    Good Trails off McDowells - Gateway TH?-img_2339-copy.jpg  

    Good Trails off McDowells - Gateway TH?-img_2349-copy.jpg  

    Good Trails off McDowells - Gateway TH?-img_2357-copy.jpg  

    Last edited by MTB Pilot; 11-24-2012 at 12:03 PM.
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  36. #36
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    I just rode this trail yesterday for the first time. Awesome time! 20 miles and over 3k of climbing. Great views and perfect weather! I'll be back!

    @MTB Pilot: If you make the ride shareable and post the URL (link) from the Garmin Connect site, it should show up in the post...
    -boom

  37. #37
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    Sounds like a sweet ride you guys had, nice job! How was East End riding down?

    If Garmin Connect fails to embed, you can always post a link to your ride. Strava is where it's at though, try it.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomvader View Post
    @MTB Pilot: If you make the ride shareable and post the URL (link) from the Garmin Connect site, it should show up in the post...
    Yeah, been trying that, but what do you put the link in to get it to show up in the post, not just a link?

    AHHHH, GOT IT!

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    Just got home. Awesome weekend! Big morning rides followed by afternoon pool time/beers with the fam. turns out to be a great way to spend a long weekend. Fri. I rode solo; from the princess, desert park, down windgate, gateway loop saddle, bell, paradise, quartz. At this point I felt like a little more so I went back up quartz to taliesin, westworld, back to the princess. 2.5hrs ish. Great ride, despite LOTS of hiker traffic on the windgate, gateway, bell part. On sat. I was afraid that Pilot was going to try and kill me so I opted to drive to the trail head. The pace he set up desert park made me think that I was about to get my ass handed to me, but when the going got steep on toms thumb, the thick, oxygen rich air allowed me slightly more bike than hike. The descent down east end was fun, loose in places with just enough exposure to keep me slightly puckered. The last climb to bell pass was hot, but the well earned down was worth the wait; point and shoot, dodge the foot traffic, all the way back to gateway. Big props to Pilot for showing an out of towner the goods! Thanks man!

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtsideup View Post
    Just got home. Awesome weekend! Big morning rides followed by afternoon pool time/beers with the fam. turns out to be a great way to spend a long weekend. Fri. I rode solo; from the princess, desert park, down windgate, gateway loop saddle, bell, paradise, quartz. At this point I felt like a little more so I went back up quartz to taliesin, westworld, back to the princess. 2.5hrs ish. Great ride, despite LOTS of hiker traffic on the windgate, gateway, bell part. On sat. I was afraid that Pilot was going to try and kill me so I opted to drive to the trail head. The pace he set up desert park made me think that I was about to get my ass handed to me, but when the going got steep on toms thumb, the thick, oxygen rich air allowed me slightly more bike than hike. The descent down east end was fun, loose in places with just enough exposure to keep me slightly puckered. The last climb to bell pass was hot, but the well earned down was worth the wait; point and shoot, dodge the foot traffic, all the way back to gateway. Big props to Pilot for showing an out of towner the goods! Thanks man!
    awesome, you got 2 great routes in the N. McDs.

  41. #41
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    I did the same loop later in the day on saturday, East End was torn up bad compared to the last time I rode it.
    There is one tight turn where the trail is pretty narrow, maybe half way down that if you fall, you will be in serious trouble. I stopped to scope it, you probably have two tumbles before you are airborne for 20 - 30 feet, landing on some big rocks, then more tumbling down hill. One would probably travel about 75 feet total before you were at the bottom!!

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTB Pilot View Post
    I can hook up and show ya some McDowell fun. I'm a slower climber, but love to bomb the downs. What kind of mileage are you looking to do on Friday?

    EDIT: I just got done riding 14 miles and 1700+ feet of climbing so my legs need Friday off. Will be available Saturday.
    Yeah you feel that ride, good job. Nice helo pics.

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    Just a pic. of the pilot topping out on Toms thumb.
    Good Trails off McDowells - Gateway TH?-img_0224.jpg
    Thanks again!

  44. #44
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    GOOD, you didn't catch me with my tongue dragging on the ground and crying
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