On January 10th 1998 McDowell Park opened the 1st of 3 loops of a new competitive track at the park. Today, the track offers three loops totaling 15 miles: one for the experts, one for intermediate riders, and one for the average rider. Each loop offers a variety of obstacles to test the riders skills. The track consists of steep inclines, swooping turns, technical descents, and rugged terrain. This competitive track is geared for mountain bikers who want to test their skills as riders. Joggers and equestrian riders are welcome to give the track a try too. The Long Loop of the track was designed for the average rider but is used by all. The Sport Loop is for intermediate riders and experts. The Technical Loop is for the expert rider. This portion of the track offers swooping turns, very technical descents, and steep inclines.
Construction of the track began with a generous donation from Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc. Numerous volunteer groups including the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, Greenway Middle School National Honor Society and various other volunteers have worked to construct the track loops. The Parks and Recreation own construction crew installed the parking lots, access roads and other support facilities.
The McDowell Mountain Competitive Track was the site of the 1998 and 1999 Cactus Cup Race. Over 2,500 racers participated in the 1998 Cactus Cup race. Over 30,000 spectators watched the event. The track will continue to be the race site of many competitive events each year. The track was designed specifically for fast competitive riding. It consists of 3 interconnecting trails. The Sport loop is 3 miles long starting with a very gradual climb and turning into fast, tight twisting singletrack. The Expert loop is 2.9 mile long with a couple of steep drop offs and a catwalk climb. It is designated for expert riders only, but it isn’t that technical. Although, one of my friends broke his collar bone during the last race there. There are some loose rocky fast descents, so be careful. The long loop is 8.2 miles long and consists of fast singletrack with one minor climb. When ever I feel like hammering out some miles as fast as possible, I go here. It is great for race training, because it resembles most race courses. Watch out for Cacti, it lines the trails throughout this area. The trails are marked very well in this area.
Take Shea Boulevard to Fountain Hills Boulevard. If coming from the east valley, take the Beeline Highway to Shea and turn left to find Fountain Hills Boulevard. Once on Fountain hills Boulevard head north on and follow road through Fountain Hills and into desert. The street will turn into McDowell Mountain Road. About 4 miles down, the park will be on the left. Once in the park, the trail is on the left just inside the park. Park there and choose a trail. The Sport loop is located at the west end of the parking lot. The Expert loop is located at the southwest end of the parking lot. The Long loop is located at the east end of the parking lot. There are trail maps available at the park entrance. There is a $6 fee per car at the park entrance.
Season: Fall, Winter, Spring
Mileage: 14.1 Miles