Explore the most popular trails near DC Ranch with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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The uphill on Bell Pass is tough, but well worth it. Great run early in the morning before it gets too crowded.

I had every intention of doing an out-and-back to Bell’s Pass but decided to make it a loop because the scenery was so lovely. I found it pretty moderate and completed it in just under 4 hours which mileage showing around 9.4 miles. Loved it!

Long hike delivers a good workout. Feel it’s a bit easier to do Windgate Pass first but for more climbing near the beginning, you can first head to Bell Pass. Beautiful scenery even with grassy areas near Windgate. Not the usual desert scenery. Completely enjoyed it and it took about 4 hours. Loop trail is a plus.

Nice trail but can be a bit busy on the sections that align with the Gateway Loop trail. But once your past that you will likely not see too many people. Did come across a couple mountain bike riders.

Fantastic trail run. Got to the top of Bell Pass and thought I was all done with uphill and started running too hard downhill and burned out, only to reach wind gate which took me uphill again. But that wasn't for long - good for me. The last 3 miles was all downhill and I let gravity do the work for me. Got a decent time of 2 hrs 35 minutes.

Training for a portion of the JMT and then half dome so went counterclockwise for the elevation. Beautiful trail and the weather couldn't have been better. Toward the end on Gateway trail it got very busy with walkers on the trail. Will make this a favorite of mine and a regular training hike. The trail is rocky but the views are spectacular!!

Went clockwise this morning. Enjoyed doing my ascent in the cool shadow of the McDowell mountains. Nice/gradual ascent, that left the views of Scottsdale in the rear-view mirror fairly quickly. As soon as you hit Windgate, you are away from the larger volume of folks that frequent the lower-level Gateway Loop.
The east end of this hike is really nice...vistas everywhere, nice diversity of vegetation, etc.
Going clockwise, the first .5 miles of final decent is a pain (knees/quads) but you get past all that fairly quickly.
This was a really good hike for being so close to Scottsdale.

great hike. had to switch to this one instead of toms thumb due to timing.

Hiked this counter clockwise which is much harder due to a continuous climb to Bell Pass. Some section reach 20%+ grade with extreme uneven terrain. Decent from top is a bit easier but again the rocky terrain makes it a great challenge. Don’t pass this hike up and just go prepared and with enough time to stop recover and enjoy the great views.

Challenging, but really a lot of fun.

on Desert Parks Loop

7 months ago

nice trail, partly through a very nice neighborhood.

Challenging, beautiful!

9.4 miles, unseasonably warm, breezy at times with high clouds and beautiful views...

hiking
8 months ago

This was a pretty tough hike. Just when you think you can’t go higher, you turn a bend and your ascending again. I didn’t make it the whole way around. We turned back about 2 miles in. Great workout, though. Maybe I’ll tackle this again!

Hiking counterclockwise on this trail is moderately more difficult as you encounter a steep climb the first half of the trail. There are some good stretches for trail running. Pretty good views, including Windgate Pass which is exactly as it sounds. Definitely bring at minimum a liter of water.

such a wonderful day!!! the trail is rocky so wear a good solid shoe. please bring more water than 1 bottle!!

Nice pace hiking, you can run and power walk. I will come back...

Great trail. Well marked and maintained. Excellent views. Decent for running , but rocky on the steeper sections.

hiking
10 months ago

Decent alternative loop hike to gateway loop. Although you spend a decent part of the hike on gateway.

Great hike. Did not record it since I hiked in from home. Hiked clockwise which made the climbs a little more gradual but there's definitely sections that get fairly steep going up to Windgate pass past gateway trail then coming back down Bell pass. Will do again when the valley air doesn't have as much dust hanging over town which took away from the views today.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Great hike. The views are beautiful. Depending on how early you get there, you will be shaded by the mountains-I got there at sunrise and I was in the shade for the first three miles, which made a significant difference in the level of enjoyment of the hike and the heat.

mountain biking
Tuesday, April 04, 2017

First off this is not an "easy" mtb ride. The trail is very rocky and includes a significant amount of steady climbing. Great intermediate loop!

Spring wildflowers were in bloom on April1. Rare Columbines and red Ocotillo flowers were visible among poppies and lupines. East side of Wingate to Bell Pass trail has spectacular views.

Great views and vistas.

hiking
Saturday, February 25, 2017

Great new trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. I would call this an alternate to the more popular Gateway Loop trail, although you take the Gateway for part of this hike. Once you get to the turn off for the Gateway saddle, continue on to the Windgate Pass Trail. You hike through the beautiful canyon as the views get better with elevation. At the next fork in the road, you can either continue on to the Windgate Pass or turn left for the Desert Park trail. I took the Desert Park as it gently descends down the valley. There are some nice houses in the distance and a golf course nearby. The last part of the hike had me going through washes with beautiful, lush vegetation. This trail is very quiet and I like it because the scenery changes quite a bit. I would definitely come back again!

what an outstanding Trail. We drove in from Las Cruces New Mexico yesterday and I decided to hike to inspiration Peak. Once I got there I decided to push up to Wingate. and of course, once I got there decided I might as well just complete the entire Loop and get to Bell Peak and back from that side. Phenomenal!

An awesome hike to do when there is good cloud cover. Did it in about 3.5hours after a good rain and the greenery was awesome.

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