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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 12:47 PM.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  2. #2
    Meatbomb
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  3. #3
    Vincit qui patitur
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    Brent, the operations mgr for Princess rides up there quite often. Ask him too.
    Vincit qui patitur
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  4. #4
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    Thanks Guys!
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  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
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  8. #8
    Ahhh the pain....
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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.
    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....
    Your limits are both physical and mental. Suffering will help you find and overcome both.
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  9. #9
    parenting for gnarness
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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
    Ride 'Til Your Knees Hurt
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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.
    Can you hear me now?

  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
    I am Walt
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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 05:44 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.

  16. #16
    parenting for gnarness
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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
    My other ride is your mom
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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
    Meatbomb
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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
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  22. #22
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    Ok I rode quarts, lost dog, ringtail today. Saw a lot of other riders. Any MTBR riders?
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  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
    livin' the dream......
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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
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

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