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Gateway Loop Trail - MSP, AZ
details
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no permit
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1,261
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564
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This lasso loop hike in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in northeast Scottsdale has a nice balance of physical exertion and expansive views of the McDowell mountain range. From the new Gateway access parking area, go 0.4 miles over the bridge until you see the amphitheater on your left. I prefer to travel clockwise from this point to have views of the McDowell ridgeline as I climb to the saddle. It's 1.7 miles to the saddle going clockwise and 1.9 miles heading counter-clockwise from this point. From the amphitheater you can also take a 0.5 mile diversion on the Interpretive trail or make a short 0.3 loop on the Saguaro loop trail before you start the Gateway loop. The Interpretive trail is paved and has several seating areas and will open officially September 2009 with numbered stops explaining features of the desert flora and fauna.


Traveling clockwise on the loop you encounter cholla, barrel, and saguaro cactus with views of Tom's Thumb in the distance as you climb towards Windgate Pass. At 0.2 miles, you intersect with Horseshoe Trail (see below). At 1.2 miles, turn right to reach Gateway Saddle climbing another 0.5 miles to the highest point of the loop at 2378 feet.

As you cross Gateway Saddle, Thompson Peak pops into view and the McDowell pit mines are visible. Continuing down in elevation off the saddle, Bell Pass is to the left and Camelback Mountain and Phoenix Mountains straight ahead. At 0.8 miles down from the saddle high point, stay right on Gateway Loop while Bell Pass trail begins to the left. Another 0.2 miles finds the Paradise trail junction on the left, but stay straight and in 0.5 miles you will see an old fence. From the fence, it's 0.6 miles to the right bringing you back to the Access center or it's 0.7 miles to the left using the Crossover trail to the small Bell/104th St parking area (see alternate entry point info below).

If you're interested in the ranching history of the area, from the old fence go left to see the ranching ruins. This stone building was part of the Lower Ranch of the Brown family's D.C. Ranch, which at its peak had more than 4000 head of cattle on 44,000 acres. In 1885 Dr. W. B. Crosby purchased the land and registered the brand "DC" ("D"octor "C"rosby), and later various members of the Brown family raised cattle on the land from 1919 to 1966 when it was split up and eventually bought by developers.*

Two alternate entry points to Gateway Loop Trail:
With 200 parking spaces at the Gateway Access area (opened May 2, 2009), most people will start the Gateway Loop trail from this point; however, there are two other nearby entry points.

1. Park at the health club at Union Hills and Thompson Peak Parkway in the southeast corner of the parking lot. The Horseshoe trail is visible from this corner and is 0.7 miles to the intersection with Gateway Loop.

2. From the small 12-car-parking area at Bell/104th Street, follow the signs to the Gateway loop by way of the 104th Street trail (0.8 miles to hit the loop) or take a right onto the Levee trail and use the 0.2 mile Crossover trail (0.7 miles to hit the loop).


The mileage and elevation gain will vary depending on where you park and enter the loop.
Parking LocationElevationRound Trip Mileage
Gateway access center17914.4 from bridge
Bell/104th St. small lot16805.2
Health Club Union Hills16715.0
* History of DC Ranch from Nancy Lucas: Google "Nancy Lucas Scenic Drive DC Ranch" for more information.

Page originally posted 2008-01-06, revised on 2009-05-09 due to access changes.
Description 564 Triplogs  3 Topics
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Wish List 5
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 Phoenix NE
Statistics
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Popular Workout
Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 4.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,791 feet
Elevation Gain 680 feet
Accumulated Gain 838 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.59
Author Crzy4AZ
Descriptions 31
Routes 88
Photos 2,493
Trips 567 map ( 2,010 miles )
Age 44
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Photos
Viewed All Mine Following
7  2017-09-23
McDowell Mountain Loop
BiFrost
2  2017-05-28
Tom's Thumb Loop off Windgate Pass Trail
syoung
8  2017-04-30
Desert Park Trail - MSP
DarthStiller
3  2017-04-20
Tom's Thumb Loop off Windgate Pass Trail
JuanJaimeiii
5  2017-04-01
Tom's Thumb Loop off Windgate Pass Trail
JuanJaimeiii
26  2017-04-01 Grasshopper
15  2017-03-24 fishhikekayakbik
5  2017-03-07
Tom's Thumb Loop off Windgate Pass Trail
JuanJaimeiii
7  2017-03-05
East End Peak - MSP
johnlp
9  2017-03-04
Thompson Peak - MSP
syoung
7  2017-02-26
Micky D Loop
syoung
3  2017-02-26
Thompson Peak - MSP
lindaagm
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 13
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Backpack   No
Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar
Seasons   Early Winter to Early Spring
Sun  6:33am - 5:53pm
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Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Desert Park Trail - MSP
same trailhead
3.1 mi
605 ft
Gateway - Bajada Nature Trail - MSP
same trailhead
0.7 mi
16 ft
Inspiration Point via Windgate
same trailhead
6.0 mi
1,300 ft
Saguaro Trail - MSP
same trailhead
0.4 mi
72 ft
Tom's Thumb Loop off Windgate Pass Trail
same trailhead
13.0 mi
3,125 ft
Equestrian Bypass Trail - MSP
0.1 mi away
0.3 mi
21 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna
Arizona Blister Beetle
Black Tailed Gnatcatcher
Black-Throated Sparrow
Cactus Wren
Carpenter Bee
Cicada
Cliff Chipmunk
Coachwhip
Common side-blotched lizard
Curve-billed Thrasher
Desert Cottontail
Desert Tortoise
Dragonfly
European Starling
Gila Woodpecker
Gilded Flicker
Gopher Snake
Greater Roadrunner
Green-tailed Towhee
Harris Antelope Squirrel
Honey Bee
Horned Lizard
House Finch
Javelina
Loggerhead Shrike
Long Eared Owl
MacGillivray's Warbler
Mourning Dove
Mule Deer
Northern Mockingbird
Queen Butterfly
Red-tailed Hawk
Rock Wren
Sage Thrasher
Sleepy Orange
Tiger Whiptail
Velvet Mite
Verdin
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Western Tanager
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Zebra-tailed lizard
Flora
Barrel Cactus
Barrel Cactus - Red
Chuparosa
Coulter's Lupine
Creosote Bush
Desert Chicory
Desert Globemallow
Fiddleneck
Globe chamomile
Hedgehog Cactus
Ironwood
Lesser yellowthroat Gilia
Many-Headed Barrel Cactus
Mexican Gold Poppy
Moss
Ocotillo
Pincushion Cactus
Prickly Pear
Resurrection Plant
Saguaro
Scorpionweed
Strawberry Hedgehog
Teddy Bear Cholla
Trixis
White Ratany
Wild Heliotrope
Wolfberry
Meteorology
Crepuscular rays
Dust Storm
Haboob
Sunrise
Sunset
Named place
McDowell Mountains
McDowell Sonoran Preserve - Gateway TH
Mountain Spring
Pinnacle Peak
Thompson Peak
Tom's Thumb
Culture
Cactuscat Pose
Gila Petroglyph Style (Abstract)
HAZ - Selfie
Inscriptions
Mine Shaft
Stone Dwelling
Short loop with saddle views
by Crzy4AZ

This lasso loop hike in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in northeast Scottsdale has a nice balance of physical exertion and expansive views of the McDowell mountain range. From the new Gateway access parking area, go 0.4 miles over the bridge until you see the amphitheater on your left. I prefer to travel clockwise from this point to have views of the McDowell ridgeline as I climb to the saddle. It's 1.7 miles to the saddle going clockwise and 1.9 miles heading counter-clockwise from this point. From the amphitheater you can also take a 0.5 mile diversion on the Interpretive trail or make a short 0.3 loop on the Saguaro loop trail before you start the Gateway loop. The Interpretive trail is paved and has several seating areas and will open officially September 2009 with numbered stops explaining features of the desert flora and fauna.


Traveling clockwise on the loop you encounter cholla, barrel, and saguaro cactus with views of Tom's Thumb in the distance as you climb towards Windgate Pass. At 0.2 miles, you intersect with Horseshoe Trail (see below). At 1.2 miles, turn right to reach Gateway Saddle climbing another 0.5 miles to the highest point of the loop at 2378 feet.

As you cross Gateway Saddle, Thompson Peak pops into view and the McDowell pit mines are visible. Continuing down in elevation off the saddle, Bell Pass is to the left and Camelback Mountain and Phoenix Mountains straight ahead. At 0.8 miles down from the saddle high point, stay right on Gateway Loop while Bell Pass trail begins to the left. Another 0.2 miles finds the Paradise trail junction on the left, but stay straight and in 0.5 miles you will see an old fence. From the fence, it's 0.6 miles to the right bringing you back to the Access center or it's 0.7 miles to the left using the Crossover trail to the small Bell/104th St parking area (see alternate entry point info below).

If you're interested in the ranching history of the area, from the old fence go left to see the ranching ruins. This stone building was part of the Lower Ranch of the Brown family's D.C. Ranch, which at its peak had more than 4000 head of cattle on 44,000 acres. In 1885 Dr. W. B. Crosby purchased the land and registered the brand "DC" ("D"octor "C"rosby), and later various members of the Brown family raised cattle on the land from 1919 to 1966 when it was split up and eventually bought by developers.*

Two alternate entry points to Gateway Loop Trail:
With 200 parking spaces at the Gateway Access area (opened May 2, 2009), most people will start the Gateway Loop trail from this point; however, there are two other nearby entry points.

1. Park at the health club at Union Hills and Thompson Peak Parkway in the southeast corner of the parking lot. The Horseshoe trail is visible from this corner and is 0.7 miles to the intersection with Gateway Loop.

2. From the small 12-car-parking area at Bell/104th Street, follow the signs to the Gateway loop by way of the 104th Street trail (0.8 miles to hit the loop) or take a right onto the Levee trail and use the 0.2 mile Crossover trail (0.7 miles to hit the loop).


The mileage and elevation gain will vary depending on where you park and enter the loop.
Parking LocationElevationRound Trip Mileage
Gateway access center17914.4 from bridge
Bell/104th St. small lot16805.2
Health Club Union Hills16715.0
* History of DC Ranch from Nancy Lucas: Google "Nancy Lucas Scenic Drive DC Ranch" for more information.

Page originally posted 2008-01-06, revised on 2009-05-09 due to access changes.
© 2009 - 2017 hikearizona.com

-
  • MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 1
  • MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 2
  • MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 3
  • MSP - Approved Climbing Areas 2011
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Permit $$
None


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To Gateway Trailhead
Take the 101 to the Princess Drive/Pima Road exit. Go north on Pima Road to Union Hills Drive. Turn right (east) on Union Hills Drive to Thompson Peak Parkway. Turn right on Thompson Peak Parkway and head south about 1/2 mile to the Gateway Visitor Center on the left. There's plenty of parking and nice facilities here.

or

Take 101 to Bell Road exit (by way of either FLW Blvd exit 39 arriving from the south or Pima/Princess exit 36 arriving from the north). Go East on Bell road 1.7 miles and turn left onto Thompson Peak Parkway. The Gateway is 0.7 miles on the right. (18333 N. Thompson Peak Parkway)

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) - 28.4 mi, 36 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) - 126 mi, 2 hours 6 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) - 141 mi, 2 hours 33 mins
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