“An awesome and challenging 10 mile loop starting at the DC Ranch Village Parking Lot.
— Tom Dobson
Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This is an incredible 10 or so mile loop around the McDowell Park. Run 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. Run 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 running 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 Trailhead. Turn off to the Horseshoe Trail
which takes you back to the Village.
Breathe hard. Its good for you.