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Desert Park Trail - MSP, AZ

no permit
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Guide 70 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
2.1 of 5 by 14
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance One Way 3.14 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,711 feet
Elevation Gain 605 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 5.16
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31  2019-02-23
Gateway hike - snow day
17  2018-10-29
Gateway Loop Trail - MSP
4  2018-10-13
McD lil' Loop
17  2018-03-08
Lookout Trail - MSP
14  2018-01-23
Tom's Thumb Loop off Windgate Pass Trail
6  2018-01-17 RowdyandMe
7  2017-09-30
McDowell Balloon
8  2017-04-30 DarthStiller
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar
Sun  6:15am - 6:26pm
Official Route
17 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby

Author Full Detail Guide
Desert hiking on backyards of luxury residential and golfing community 'DC Ranch' with following accent into the hills.

Alternate access via Desert Camp Dr is another option.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

  • MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 1
    area related
    MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 1
  • MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 2
    area related
    MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 2
  • MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 3
    area related
    MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 3
  • MSP - Approved Climbing Areas 2011
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    MSP - Approved Climbing Areas 2011
  • overview map
    area related

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.

Most recent of 14 deeper Triplog Reviews
Desert Park Trail - MSP
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McDowell Balloon
Needed to stay in town. This is my go to area for in town, time crunched hikes.
Temps were nice to begin and a bit warm at the end for this cowboy.
Breezes kept it decent most of the day.

All the beautiful people were out today.
Saw a young couple with 2 toddlers in baby backpacks in 100 degree temps, 3 miles from the TH going up as I was going down.
Not sure how smart that was. But didn't see them on the news last night.
Desert Park Trail - MSP
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I just did this trail today with two of my kids (11 and 9). We started out at the Bell and 104th trailhead, hiked up and around part of the gateway trail and then up to Inspiration Point for lunch. We decided to try the Desert Park Trail on our way back to the car. The hike itself is not strenuous, but we didn't have any sort of GPS or anything and before we knew it we were lost among the zillion dollar mansions of Silverleaf and couldn't find our way out. We ended the day asking a helpful golf guy for a ride to the exit and walking down Thompson peak back to the car. I definitely won't repeat this trail, there are too many other places to hike to get lost like that! ](*,)
Desert Park Trail - MSP
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McDowell Loop
My go to area when I need a workout hike or am limited in time.
Lots of loop opportunities from 5 to 30 miles and as much AEG as you can bite off.

Perfect weather with plenty out enjoying the day. East of the ridgeline you rarely see another. I scrambled south off of the Thompson Peak Trail to meet up with the Quartz trail. On the Quartz trail I spooked 3 mule deer that never went more than 40' from me.
Desert Park Trail - MSP
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Quick after work hike in the McDowells. I went out of my way to avoid the heavily congested areas.

Desert Park Trail :next: Horseshoe Trail :next: Gateway Loop :next: Levee Trail :next: Equestrian Bypass
Desert Park Trail - MSP
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Well this wasn't the hike I had planned for today. I work late last night and finally made it to bed just after 2am.
But I still had time for a hike and headed out to the McDowell's. I had not pick out a hike yet but when I got to the trailhead it was crazy.
I decided to turn off on the Horseshoe Trail to get away from the crowds and it worked :y: . When I reached Desert Park Trail I decided to take it and glad I did. I only saw a few people on this trail and it was a nice hike through DC Ranch. There are some really nice homes in this area and it was nice and quite.
Once I got back on the Windgate Pass Trail the traffic picked up. But the weather was great and the desert was incredibly beautiful.
Tomorrow is Saturday and I do have it off so in the morning Ford Canyon here I come.
Desert Park Trail - MSP
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McDowell Loop
I had afternoon plans, so I had to stay close to the valley. With the freakish cool/wet May Saturday, this worked out perfectly.

I don't get many hikes, where the hike mileage is greater than the driving distance or where I can get in close to 15 miles and be home before noon.

Temps were perfect and the clouds from the previous night's storm, made a decent hike into a great hike. The climb up the Tom Thumb Trail from the SW, the Lookout Trail, and the East End Trails... are my favorites in the McD's. The weather added a new kick to them.

Saw nobody for the first 2 hours and then was surprised at the lack of people out enjoying. I ran into the masses once I got to the Gateway Loop portion of my hike.

Saw JJ and his entourage climbing Bell Pass on their way to Thompson Peak.
Desert Park Trail - MSP
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Sunday morning hike by myself. Haven't done this trail in a long time - lots of new houses since last time. Saw hardly anyone until got to Windgate trail then on Gateway was a virtual army of people and dogs. To be expected on a Sunday. Hit Saguaro loop quickly before back to the car.

chuparosa in shaded areas and washes
Desert Park Trail - MSP
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Horseshoe to Paradise Trail
I'm trying to log some cheap and close-by mileage, to reach 400 miles for the year 2014. I figured I'd hit Paradise Trail for the first time so as to knock that out of my "MSP trails hiked" list, and kill two birds with one stone. Paradise was nicer than I thought it would be, actually. But I did stop mid-trail after I'd reached my mileage goal, before the residential scenery backdrop started.

Horseshoe to Gateway Loop to Paradise.
Desert Park Trail - MSP
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Horseshoe TH to Tom's Thumb Trail
Horseshoe TH up to Gateway Loop with the intention of reaching Inspiration Point. Instead, I moronically turned left at the Tom's Thumb Trail juncture instead of keeping straight, and wound up exploring some new trail for a while. This route took me downhill though, so I'd lost the complete workout I was looking for and turned around after a while.

Too hot and muggy for a September morning. Can it be winter already?
Desert Park Trail - MSP
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Horseshoe to Gateway Saddle
Tried the Horseshoe Trail for a new route this morning. Connected with the Gateway Loop clockwise, up to the saddle spur (junction of Gateway Loop and Windgate Pass trails), and back. May stick to this as my workout routine since I can walk to it from home (which adds about .75 miles each way).

Permit $$

Map Drive
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.


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
page created by AndreyP on Mar 31 2010 11:21 am
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