Windgate/Bell Pass???- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Windgate/Bell Pass???

    I've never been out there, but from looking at Dale's map's it looks like Windgate/Bell Pass would make a nice 9-10 mile loop. My question is which direction would be best? Looks to me that CCW would be a real steep up couple of miles, followed by a sweet long down hill. That sounds good to me. Just want to hear from someone who has actually done it.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtbrill632
    I've never been out there, but from looking at Dale's map's it looks like Windgate/Bell Pass would make a nice 9-10 mile loop. My question is which direction would be best? Looks to me that CCW would be a real steep up couple of miles, followed by a sweet long down hill. That sounds good to me. Just want to hear from someone who has actually done it.
    start in Scottsdale and climb Windgate to Fountain Hills, descend and pickup the connector trail (Prospector?) to climb Bell, then descend Bell.
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  3. #3
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    The phoonix folks can no doubt add to this but for me last Sat it took nearly 3 hours w/ stops. 3325 elev gain w/ some hike-a-bike as you get close to each pass. 9.6 miles so that's a fair amount of climbing for less than 10 miles. At no point did I feel I was enjoying a sweet, long downhill but it's really not that technical but a bit steep coming down from Bell Pass. Great views.

  4. #4
    I am Walt
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtbrill632
    I've never been out there, but from looking at Dale's map's it looks like Windgate/Bell Pass would make a nice 9-10 mile loop. My question is which direction would be best? Looks to me that CCW would be a real steep up couple of miles, followed by a sweet long down hill. That sounds good to me. Just want to hear from someone who has actually done it.
    It's a hard loop due to the climbing. Best by far is CW, going up Windgate, around the back, then down Bell, which is indeed a sweet, long downhill...
    Ride more; post less...

  5. #5
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    Did the ride up to Windgate last Thursday with honemastert.
    Pretty good grunt just getting up to the pass, clocking in at nearly 10 miles and 2000-2100 feet of elevation gain. We opted to turn around and head back since we were quickly running out of daylight with no lights and no jacket. Rocky ride back to the parking lot.
    Loved it, going again next week sometime, hopefully for the whole loop with a bit earlier start.
    GPS track shown below.


  6. #6
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    I agree with Walt. This is the last ride I did (January 2) before I got a stubborn head/chest cold that I am FINALLY getting over. My lack of riding is keeping me from the Quad bypass tomorrow, which will cover this route, plus miles of other goodies.

  7. #7
    Salty Dog
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    I also agree with Walt. Clockwise up Windgate, down and then up to Bell Pass and over. The first half mile descent is sketchy at times, but after that it's a rocky cruiser to Paradise and then down, unless you stay on the Gateway connector and return that way.

    http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/7347561

    Tommy
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by waltaz
    It's a hard loop due to the climbing. Best by far is CW, going up Windgate, around the back, then down Bell, which is indeed a sweet, long downhill...
    I second this. Down Bell is indeed "sweet".

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GodMadeDirt
    I second this. Down Bell is indeed "sweet".
    Really? I suppose it's all relative and I like to descend techy chunk as fast as I can but I didn't think the downhill from Bell Pass was "sweet". Nice of course after having climbed 3000+ in 6 miles to get there but the top is super steep so it's all about braking and then the lower stuff has enough turns and rocks and hikers that you can't really let it go (ie., the flow that comes with a long, sweet downhill}. My two cents. If I'm forced to check my speed that much I'd rather come down Goat Camp.

    I'm not trying to start a debate or anything but it sure beats the hell out of Pima/Dynamite which is the next closest thing when I'm forced into a weekend at the in-laws.

  10. #10
    Combining Old and Bold
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    Rockman--

    You're right, it is all relative. I find it amazing how much different the trails are around the valley, and I like the McDowells overall. Nowhere near as "chunky" as SoMo, but rarely smooth, either. I kind of view them as a dream area for X/C training. As for Bell, your description of the upper part is spot on, but I kind of feel a pretty good flow after the first mile of switchbacks--better on weekdays when I can let the hiker guard down a bit. As for other descents on the mountain, I like descending Sunrise a lot--either direction (hard to find a time where it's hiker-free, though), and descending Lost Dog has some flow to it. Have you done Windmill to Coachwhip on the east side after cresting Windgate Pass? Very lightly travelled, and the trail conditions and visibility downhill all encourage letting 'em run.

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