Bell Pass and Windgate Pass Loop
This is a difficult loop trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
The Gateway, Bell Pass, and Windgate Loop trail begin at the Gateway Trailhead in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale. This is a very well maintained trailhead with a lot of parking, water and restrooms. Often there are volunteers who are a part of the McDowell Stewards who are on hand to answer questions about the trails or the park.
The trailhead has a few different hiking options for various length trails but you will want to cross the scenic bridge and follow the Saguaro Trail up to the Gateway Loop Trail. Follow the Gateway Loop Trial toward the North East until you come to the Windgate Pass Trail. This section of the trail is usually busy with many hikers, trail runners and some mountain bikers but as you get further into the park the foot traffic will die down and you will have the trail mostly to yourself after a few miles. The Windgate Pass trail is pretty rocky and very steep in some sections. You will feel the elevation gain as you hike on to the Bell Pass section of the trail. When you reach Bell Pass the trail will smooth out and you will come upon beautiful views of Four Peaks and the Superstitions in the distance. If you time it right, you can also see the fountain in Fountain Hills going off, it goes off on the hour. Following Bell Pass around you will experience more elevation gain until you get to the saddle where you will start a steep descent back to the Gateway Loop Trial. This is a challenging hike that offers beautiful views and in the spring you will see fields of wildflowers.
Sights to See
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