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blueBlack Windgate to Bell Pass Loop

  4.4 ( 10 ) Favorite


10.5 mile 16.9 kilometer loop


Ascent: 2,082' 635 m
Descent: -2,081' -634 m
High: 3,190' 972 m
Low: 1,691' 515 m


Avg Grade: 8% (4°)
Max Grade: 36% (20°)


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Trail shared by Tom Dobson

An awesome and challenging 10 mile loop starting at the DC Ranch Village Parking Lot.

Tom Dobson

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Daylight only.


This is an incredible 10 or so mile loop around the McDowell Park. Hike clockwise to an easier ascent through Windgate Pass or counter clockwise for a more difficult ascent through Bell Pass. You'll encounter very few people once you leave the Gateway Loop Trail.

Need to Know

Knees up, toes up!! These trails can be a quite rocky.


From the Village, head down the Horseshoe Trail past the Desert Park Trail to for about 3/4 mile where it ties into the Gateway Loop Trail. Go north (left) to hit Windgate first. Hike about 1/4 mile to the base of the first minor climb and then roll for a couple miles to the next signed split. Straight (east) is the start of the Windgate Trail. Make your way past the Horseshoe Trail tie in and Tom's Thumb to reach Inspiration Point, a great place for sunrise viewing. Keep truckin' up to the pass and you'll understand the name.

Head back down to the desert floor on some fun downhill rollers before turning right onto the Bell Pass Trail. Don't worry, you can't miss the signs. Climb again for about a mile and a half and you'll reach the Bell Pass waypoint.

From there on, hold onto your socks as the downhill hiking makes for either an incredibly fast run, or a stumbling hike on the switchbacks to the Gateway Loop Trail. Turn left (south) at the Gateway Loop Trail at follow around clockwise past the Gateway Trail. Turn off to the Horseshoe Trail which takes you back to the Village.

Breathe hard. Its good for you.

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We need help with the following missing trail information:

Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, History & Background


Land Manager: City of Scottsdale

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May 11, 2019
Todd Molz
Apr 4, 2019
Rachel H
Feb 6, 2019
Chris Sandeen
Dec 16, 2018
Guy Granger
Did Bell Pass first. This is a lonely and beautiful trail in winter. Except as you get back toward the trailhead, where there are lots of folks 9.4mi — 4h 35m
Nov 12, 2018
Sophia B
So much wind the first four miles. Saw a muley. 10.5mi
Feb 23, 2018
Ron Turner
A bit rocky but very pretty Trail. 9.5mi
Feb 10, 2018
Hanna Betsacon
Dec 31, 2017
The Turk

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 10 votes


  4.4 from 10 votes
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