McDowell Competitive Track – McDowell Mountain Regional Park

McDowell Competitive Track

McDowell Competitive Track

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.

Trail Map

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.

Skill: All
Effort: Easy-Medium
Type: Loops
Season: Fall, Winter, Spring
Mileage: 14.1 Miles

McDowell Competitive Track Photos

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Rating: 9.2/10 (5 votes cast)
McDowell Competitive Track - McDowell Mountain Regional Park, 9.2 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
About Racerx

An Arizona native, Jeff has been mountain biking and racing since 1997. A father of 2 awesome children Ryder and Skylar. He is the owner of Excelnet Media, an Internet Marketing company.


  1. Robert Damora says:

    I just read your review of the Fort McDowell mountain bike competitive trails, and I enjoyed reading the information. I am returning to the Phoenix area from Texas, and I am looking forward to riding this trail.
    I am a beginner mountain biker (most of bikes have been MTB’s) but as long as I have lived in Texas, it is difficult to find any good mountain bike trails in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
    I look forward to returning to Arizona, and doing some good MTB riding.

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  2. Great trails! All levels available. Camping fees have gone up in the last few years. Now, $18 – $20 per night.

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  3. Hot but worth the effort. Try all the loops as there is something for everyone. Just out two weekends ago (middle of July) and so long as you ride between 6-9am, you’ll enjoy the ride. Take 2-3 liters of water minimally.

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  4. GSXRScott says:

    Fantastic fun. As you pass the pay station kiosk it’ll be the first parking lot on your left. These trails are really fast. Lots of rolling desert single track weaving its way up and down through cacti. Lots of high speed twisties on top of which many of the turns are cambered. $5 to get in but well worth it.

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  5. This was a great set of tracks. I did the Sports Track. It was three miles and it was so much fun, I did it twice. Went at 12:30pm on a Sunday and it wasn’t crowded at all. Excited to go back and try the technical trial.

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