RSVPs are open now.
10:00 am is the start time from the trailhead; there are no carpool arrangements
We will hike from Gateway Access Trailhead around the Windgate/Bell Pass Loop, about 9.5 miles in total. The plan is to make this a twice a month hike, alternating between going around the loop clockwise or counter-clockwise. For the first hike this week, we will go up Bell Pass in a counter-clockwise route.
From the trailhead, a short connector trail takes you to Gateway Loop Trail at .4 miles. To the right on Gateway Loop Trail, the trail climbs at a moderate rate before reaching a junction with Bell Pass Trail. Bell Pass Trail continues climbing moderately further east and northeast into the preserve before beginning a steep climb leading up to the pass.
From the pass, we will continue on Bell Pass Trail down to its intersection with Windgate Pass Trail, which proceeds to the left up and over Windgate Pass. At the end of Windgate Pass Trail, continue on Gateway Loop Trail and follow it back to the access trail to the trailhead.
Significant portions of these trails are rocky, though the trail surface on the east side of the mountains tends to be less so. Sturdy shoes / boots are recommended.
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve website is located here. (http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/preserve/)
Information below has two values: the first value is for Bell Pass and return; the second is for completing the loop.
Rating: DIFFICULT; DIFFICULT
Trail type: loop
Estimated hiking time: 3.5-4.5 hours.
Total distance: 9.5 miles.
Lowest elevation: 1,721 feet.
Highest elevation: 3,215 feet.
Change in elevation: 2,176 feet.
What to bring: plenty of water, snacks, a hat and wear hiking shoes/boots
Carpool location: none.
Directions to the Trailhead: Gateway Access Area is located at 18333 N. Thompson Peak Parkway, Scottsdale, AZ. [33° 38' 56.23" -111° 51' 32.96"]