McDowell Mountain Regional Park

Nestled in the lower Verde River basin, the 21,099-acre park is a desert jewel in the northeast Valley. Elevations in the park rise to 3,000 feet along the western boundary at the base of the McDowell Mountains. Visitors enjoy a full program schedule, over 50 miles of multiuse trails, and spectacular views of the surrounding mountain ranges. A stroll through the park will allow visitors to likely see deer, javelina, birds, and coyotes.

$6 per motorized vehicle entry

16300 McDowell Mountain Park Dr.
MMRP Arizona 85255
Park Map

McDowell Competitive Track

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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. Great ride at Gateway Park – Bell Pass to Windgate Pass, back by way of Desert Park, about four hours, two passes, some hike a bike, but great technical sections and plenty of real fun. Free parking, nice facilities at the trailhead, pick up a map to see the loop, then head out a few miles of singletrack to the south (also part of the shorter Gateway Pass Loop). Take a right at Bell Pass trail and start to slowly climb through the wash a few times, finally getting to hike a bike at the foot of Bell Pass. Stronger riders can ride but I hike the 3/4 mile of switchbacks, catch my breath and the views in both directions at Bell Pass, then singletrack down and counterclockwise up through a gradual climb to Windgate Pass. Another rest, then killer downhill to join with Tom’s Thumb trail briefly before taking a right onto Desert Park, which after a short climb is nearly all downhill on a joyride, ending up on a level section that joins back up at the trailhead.

    I do Desert Park because the trail back to the start (Tom’s Thumb, joining the final counterclockwise loop leg of Gateway Pass) is a severe rock garden and not as fun as the slightly longer Desert Trail.

    Want a serious (~7 hour) ride? Don’t take the left onto Windgate Pass but keep going to East End, something like 1200 feet gain over .9 miles of switchback to Tom’s Thumb, then a serious crazy set of switchbacks for a couple of miles down back to the trailhead.

    Others do Gateway Pass, a much shorter loop with some pretty rocky sections and very cool technical drops on the south section.

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  2. Forgot to mention that I don’t do Gateway Pass because I’ve done two OTBs on that short piece…I’m still cranky about that.

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