Posts Tagged "north scottsdale hiking"

Top Mountain Bike Trail in Fountain Hills

Posted by on Mar 25, 2012 in Pemberton | 0 comments

Top Mountain Bike Trail in Fountain Hills

MILES:  13

DIFFICULTY:  Easy with a few tricky spots

Just when I thought mountain biking in Scottsdale and Fountain Hills could not get any better, we discovered this great trail head that connects to Pemberton Bike trail system.  From Scottsdale, take Shea out to Fountain Hills and then head north on Palisades Road for about four or five miles until you see the signs for the Sonoran Trail Head.  Follow the road from the parking lot through the guard gate and pass a few incredible homes and LUXURY FOUNTAIN HILLS REAL ESTATE.

This trail head is a hidden gem for mountain bikers.  The facilities are probably the nicest of any trail head I have ever been to, and hardly anyone knows about it.  The parking lot is usually half empty.  From the trail head, just follow the signs for about a half mile to the entrance to Mcdowell Mountain Regional Park system.  Pay your $2 to help keep the trails open to all and maintain them and then head back into the trail and connect to Dixie Mine.  This trail is less traveled than the other main trails in the Pemberton Park, and you can connect to the rest of Pemberton with some killer views and a few great climbs and descents.  Follow Dixie Mine for a couple miles and then you will see the actual Dixie Mine.  Pretty cool little detour if time permits, but then connect back from Dixie Mine to Pemberton.  Today we took Pemberton West back into Coach Whip and then Coach Whip back to Dixie Mine.  Take a right at the Pemberton junction to add anywhere from another 8 to 12 miles of awesome fast single track.

From up at the top of Coach Whip you can take several detours up and over the Windgate Pass, or just connect to make it a great little loop back to Dixie Mine.  These are the best trails in the state and the best part about it (other than the fast single track or incredible views) is that you can take so many variations of this trail that you basically can ride it 20 times without taking the same path twice.


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The Best Mountain Bike Trail in Phoenix – Pemberton, Coach Whip, Bluff & Dixie Mine

Posted by on Jan 9, 2012 in Pemberton | 2 comments

The Best Mountain Bike Trail in Phoenix – Pemberton, Coach Whip, Bluff & Dixie Mine

Level of Difficulty:  Easy – with a few moderate climbs

Miles –  18.5

This could very well be the best mountain bike trail in the entire Phoenix area.  Drive out through Fountain Hills and head North on Mcdowell Mountain Road until you see the McDowell Mountain Preserve.  Pay your $6 at the gate (yes, it is worth it) and head back to the trail head parking, which is about 3 0r 4 miles past the gate.  Once you park head South on the the Pemberton trail until you run into Granite Trail, then head North on Granite Trail for about 10 minutes until you run into the intersection for Bluff Trail.  Turn onto Bluff Trail, then continue to to head North for a total of about 4 miles from the parking lot and there connect with Pemberton Trail again, and head Left (South).  The views are spectacular out here with large Saguaro Cacti (which FYI can only be seen in the Sonoran Desert) and large boulder rock gardens.  After heading left on Pemberton (which is south), you will stay on this past Knob Rock all the way to Coach Whip.  FYI – Knob Rock is a great little detour off of the Pemberton trail back into the boulder looking mountain that you can see just off the trail.  You can stay on Knob Rock for a short while and actually connect to the Tom’s Thumb Parking lot after going through a horse gate connecting the McDowell Mountain County preserve.

So, now take a right on Coach Whip and get ready for some gradual climbing (at least for a while before it gets pretty steep back there).  Stay on Coach Whip and get some of the best views anywhere in the Phoenix area and head on up to the lookout (where Coach Whip connects with Windmill before heading up to Windgate Pass and up and over the mountain over to the Windgate City Preserve.  Make sure you are ready for some serious climbing if you are going to attempt this (which is the easiest of the overpasses) or Bell or Sunrise for some steeper climbs up to the saddle.

Coach Whip continues for about another mile through prickly pear cactus and connects over with Dixie Mine.  Take a right and head back down to Pemberton (fast and rocky – but fun!) and when connecting to Pemberton, take a left and head back to the Bluff trail for some extremely fast and furious single track back down to the parking lot.  You won’t regret it!

 

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Windgate mountain bike trail

Posted by on Jan 1, 2012 in Windgate Trail Center | 1 comment

Windgate mountain bike trail

Miles:  About 8 (but can be extended as long as you want)

Difficulty:  Moderate (watch for hikers)

Why live in Scottsdale?  The summers are brutal, and you have to learn to deal with a bit of snobbery at times, but after going to Windgate Trail head, you will understand.  Windgate Trail Center is tucked away right between DC Ranch, Silverleaf and McDowell Mountain Ranch (some of the most expensive real estate in the area).  From the trail center you can connect to hiking and some of the best mountain biking in the State.

From the trail center you can head down Desert Park to Windgate Pass (about 3.5 miles) with some amazing views of the Sonoran Preserve and also of some of the most expensive real estate in Phoenix.  Desert Park trail is not to difficult and will wind through some great single tracks and small climbs.  Follow this until you reach the first summit where the trail connects to Windgate Pass, and then you can make the decision of going up to the Windgate Pass (another 1.5 miles of serious climbing), or head back dow Windgate Trail back to the trail center.  If you are feeling adventurous or suicidal, you can actually go over Windgate Pass and connect to Pemberton Trail (but remember you have to come back over the summit also).

Follow Windgate Pass back down to the Windgate trail and climb up to the Windgate Trail saddle for some truly amazing views of Scottsdale.

Watch out for hikers on weekends (they are everywhere).

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