The easiest way to access this trail is from the parking lot at 104th St and Bell Rd. From there, the 104th St. Trail
will take you out to the beginning of Gateway Loop Trail
. Catch your breath, stretch your legs and say a prayer. This loop knows no mercy. Expect and prepare for lots of loose, jagged/sharp rocks (read: flat tires), rolling switchbacks, and hike-a-bike sections. Lots of excellent views as well.
Gear recommendation: helmet, elbow & knee pads, gloves.
This is not for the faint of heart. Keep an eye out for trail markers. They are well marked and easy to read!
104th St. Trail
--> North onto Gateway Loop Trail
--> Straight onto Windgate Pass Trail
--> South (right) onto Bell Pass Trail
--> Left at the junction for Gateway Loop Trail
--> 104th St. Trail
and back to the parking lot.
You're going to work for this one. It's about six miles of MOSTLY technical climbing until you reach the summit of Bell Pass Trail
and begin the three-mile downhill.
Once at the summit, a water and snack break is suggested. Stretch your legs some more. INSPECT YOUR BIKE for anything that may be loose. This point offers a great view of the McDowell Mountain Regional Park to the east along with a view of the famous Fountain Hills fountain. The descent is 80% singletrack, very steep with lots of switchbacks, and loose rocks. The price of failure will be painful to say the least.
Once you get back on the Gateway Loop Trail
, the trail opens up but you need to keep watch for hikers. Early morning and late afternoon there will be tons of them. Enjoy!