“You'll find climbing galore along this ride... and switchbacks galore on the way down.”
— Stefan Richter
To access this ride, head to the parking area and trailhead at 104th Street/Bell Road. This lollipop-shaped route provides plenty of exercise on the way out, and a lot of fast, fun descending on the way back.
Need to Know
Riding in the desert often takes more energy than visitors realize. Be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, and you might want to avoid this one in the summer heat.
This is one of several great loops in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, especially for riders looking to get out for a longer ride on tougher terrain.
The approach on Tom's Thumb Trail
is pretty much uphill all the time with a few spots that drop into washes. The trail conditions slowly change from loose shale and baby heads to hardpack desert soil. You'll continue around the backside of the loop on the Feldspar Trail
, and then take a right onto the Marcus Landslide Trail
. This route eventually leaves you at the Boulder Trail
, which you continue on before reaching the Coachwhip Trail
At the first major saddle near the junction for East End Trail, the trail becomes littered with loose, eroding granite (think kitty litter). Windgate Pass Trail
is aptly named, as the saddle provides a great spot to take a break and dry off! Once past this point, you'll be able to enjoy a rolling descent all the way back to the parking area where you started your journey.