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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Windgate Pass Trail - MSP, AZ

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478 179 1
Guide 179 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
Rated
3.3
3.3 of 5 by 27
 
0
Statistics
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 3.15 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,153 feet
Elevation Gain 887 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,130 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.92
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Collective Slideshow
Recalculates 2018-11-08 12:11 am
11  2018-10-26
Toms Thumb-Windgate-Windmill-East End - MSP
KBKB
4  2018-10-13
McD lil' Loop
The_Eagle
1  2018-08-26
Tom's Thumb Trail - MSP
johnlp
3  2018-07-04
Lost Wall Loop plus - MSP
KBKB
17  2018-03-08
Lookout Trail - MSP
RowdyandMe
14  2018-01-23
Tom's Thumb Loop off Windgate Pass Trail
RowdyandMe
1  2017-12-10
Tom's Thumb Loop off Windgate Pass Trail
trekkin_gecko
12  2017-11-24
Windgate Bell Loop
DarthStiller
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 9
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Expand Map
Preferred   Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan → 7 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  7:00am - 5:24pm
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Official Route
 
59 Linked
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Bell Pass - Bell / 104th TH
Bell Pass - Bell / 104th TH
0.9 mi away
7.1 mi
1,577 ft
Peak 2658 - MSP
0.9 mi away
Peak 2796 - MSP
0.9 mi away
Peak 3515 - MSP
0.9 mi away
Bell Pass Trail - MSP
0.9 mi away
3.3 mi
1,240 ft
Saguaro Loop Trail - MSP
1.0 mi away
0.3 mi
56 ft
Crossover Trail - MSP
1.1 mi away
0.2 mi
13 ft
Drinkwater Peak - MSP
1.3 mi away
0.4 mi
59 ft
Desert Park Trail - MSP
Desert Park Trail - MSP
1.3 mi away
3.1 mi
605 ft
Gateway - Bajada Nature Trail - MSP
Gateway - Bajada Nature Trail - MSP
1.3 mi away
0.7 mi
16 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Steep climb with a sweet pay-off
by neilends

Likely In-Season!
Overview
This is a well-developed but steep trail (about 400 feet per mile) with great views throughout. The highlight, Windgate Pass, offers views of the Superstitions to the east and White Tanks to the west. It can only be reached from one of 3 other trails: Gateway Loop from the southwest, Windmill from the east, or Tom's Thumb from the north.


Hike
The easiest access point for this trail is probably the Gateway Loop Trail. From the well-equipped and popular Gateway Trailhead, you'll hike along the clockwise portion of Gateway Loop with a steady but moderate climb for about 1.6 miles. This is a crowded section that's frequently used as part of a workout loop by mountain bikers, trail runners, chatty neighborhood residents and, based on one sighting I recently had, a unicyclist. Fortunately, you'll lose the crowd at the approximately 1.6 mile mark, because their loop turns off to your right at an officially marked sign, while you will continue straight. It is at this point that the Windgate Pass Trail officially begins.

The climb becomes noticeably steeper within minutes, relative to the Gateway Loop stretch that got you here. At mile 1.3 (i.e., mile 2.9 if you started at the Gateway TH), you will reach Inspiration Point, elevation 2,700 feet. This is a nice spot to scramble around a bit and find a boulder to sit and enjoy the expansive, westward views of North Scottsdale. Off in the distance you can also see Camelback Mountain and, on clear days, the White Tank mountain range in the far West Valley. There is a petroglyph I found on a rock somewhere in this area, although some English-speaker decided to add to its historical record by bizarrely scratching the year "1842" right next to it. Whether someone did this in 1842 or 2014 is probably unknowable. But the petroglyph right next to it does look authentic.

Hiking an additional, approximately 1 mile will get you to the next point of interest, which is Windgate Pass. To get here, the climb becomes tougher, but in exchange your reward will be sweeter. I think this is the funnest stretch of the trail, because it follows a narrow ridgeline (nothing precarious) with beautiful views of the inner canyon and of the now much closer Tom's Thumb. Tom's Thumb will soon disappear from view. As you reach the Pass, your view eastward unfolds jarringly to views of the Superstition Mountains, some 40 miles away. Weaver's Needle is visible to the southeast, and the Four Peaks are visible directly east. Between the Superstitions and you lies the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation. Behind you as always are great views of the McDowell Mountains you've been hiking through, and North Scottsdale beyond them. Hiking on past this point will connect you to any number of further trails in the network.

Water Sources
None. There are water fountains at the Gateway TH.

Camping
Not allowed in MSP.

neilends
  • 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
    area related
    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.

Permit $$
None


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Connector trail - Not Applicable

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
page created by joebartels on Aug 12 2014 3:26 pm
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