A fast-rolling racetrack loop at McDowell Mountain Regional Park.”
— C R John
There is a $6.00 per vehicle entry fee to get into the park.
Built in 1998 for the Cactus Cup Race, The Sport Loop is the easiest of the three competitive loops. As with the other loops, this is considered a one-way race track, not to be ridden by those on a leisurely wildflower-sniffing spin through the desert. Dont let the competitive moniker scare you off. It's rarely crowded, so you wont be elbowing for position with other riders. The one-way flow makes it so there may be a dozen cars in the parking lot, yet you may not see anyone else on the trail.
It starts off with an easy uphill to get maybe 100 feet of elevation with a minor rocky patch here or there. From the Double Dip sign it's mostly a rolling, swooping ride through the Sonoran desert. There may be a wash or two to climb out of, but the loop is mostly a twisting, rollicking, roller coaster ride, even getting in a little half-pipe action on some of the wash runs.
After just a few rocks on the initial climb, the trail is about as smooth as you're going to find in the area, mostly hard-pack or crushed granite. It's well worn-in with banked corners and some washboarding. It is a good trail for competent beginners--even the energetic youngster--yet without real technical hazards to expose overconfidence. The loop is only three miles, so ride, grin, repeat.