62.9 miles
6,191 ft
-6,190 ft
3,779 ft
High Point

This is the long loop of the AES McDowell Mountains course, at approximately 63 miles.

No longer on the AES race schedule, but the route may be ridden anytime!

Detailed Description
AES: McDowell Mtns Long 2015 (Defunct) is a 63 mile moderately popular expert route located near Scottsdale Arizona. This mountain bike only route can be used both directions and has a hard overall physical rating. This route includes 32 trails. This route climbs 6,191 ft with a max elevation of 3,779 ft then descends -6,190 ft.
Local Trail Association
Local trail association
Desert Foothills Mountain Bike Association (www.dfmba.org)
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45 Reviews & Comments

  • + 1
5SOuMNoT (Aug 7, 2022 at 11:30)
Trail Coachwhip
pretty steep lots of loose rocks i have ridden both ways uphill and downhill will wear you out
  • + 1
Ddemlong (Jul 20, 2022 at 5:56)
I did the gooseneck loop and really liked the ride. I don't care for the southern portion as much as I like Browns but this was a good loop. The first half of the ride was relatively flat. One you approach the mountain the trail gets much thinner and there is a pretty steep climb, but drop it down a few gears and even a beginner/intermediate can do it. Coming around the mountain the trail gets even thinner with drop offs but its manageable. Coming back around the hill is a nice down hill section with some great views if you continue down rock knob and pemberton. If you keep on pemberton there is some nice fast down hills with a bit of a climb back out before going flat again. All in all great ride.
  • + 1
Rider51 (Jan 13, 2022 at 11:35)
Really nice going down (west to east), as there's a lot of flow. You dan pick up decent speed on this trail. The trail is barely blue, but there are several rocky sections (none that require hike-a-bike), and plenty of sections of loose over hard that do qualify it as intermediate. Some of these techy sections come right after fast hard pack, so use a little caution if you're flying down it.
  • + 1
baldybrucetires (Dec 28, 2021 at 19:48)
I love this trail! Go east to west. Up: a few hike a bikes. The down is rowdy, chunky, techy and fun! I walked 2 sections on the down. It's nice to have a bike bell as there were lots of hikers (although it's Xmas season right now). Biked back on Via Linda road. I hope the locals don't hate me for pointing out this gem!
  • + 0
Adventurejunky1 (Dec 21, 2021 at 15:09)
The section north of Dixie Mine is fun and easy, the section south of Dixie Mine is challenging. I dismounted 6 times. It’s beautiful and worth the effort imo.
  • + 0
Ceasarmm (Dec 9, 2021 at 15:17)
Trail Desert Park
Stay away from desert pass, specially the direction Trail Forks shows. Very unpleasant trail with nothing but river rock and gravel, can’t pedal at all! I do a lot of rock gardens, black technical trails but this route is not even fun. Now, If you managed to make it, you will connect to black diamond Widgate Pass, down hill and with all the rocks, that one is fun.
  • + 0
Adventurejunky1 (Dec 7, 2021 at 10:07)
Trail Coachwhip
This has chunky rocks on the section to Dixie mine. I can survive it on the downhill but end up walking it if I try to ride up it due to the chunky loose rocks.
  • + 0
LongStebe (Apr 16, 2021 at 18:32)
Trail Coachwhip
There is another, thinking Dixie Mine trail, lose rocky section on this trail. It continues on from a fairly good climb to a rocky descent. I did have to dismount on the climb but was able to ride most of it
  • + 0
LongStebe (Apr 16, 2021 at 18:29)
I guess that gentle pitch turned into a steeper pitch with lose rocky climbs. I switched from 1/2 squish in the back to full switch for this one. I still had to dismount a once or twice briefly.
  • - 1
Ropetorope (Feb 14, 2021 at 15:12)
Sucks! Going down. Good for climbing to sunset down.
  • + 0
trailhound61 (Jan 28, 2021 at 23:08)
Not for the faint of heart. Crazy steep in places. I was pedalling with such force and pulling on the bars so hard, I thought I might flip over backwards. I was scared to ride down several sections. Extremely sketchy. Once was enough.
  • + 0
Lindseymo1 (Jan 13, 2021 at 11:33)
This is a very rocky and somewhat technical climb. I would put this at the harder end of Blue, possibly even a Black. I usually stick to Blues, and this was definitely a lung buster for me and required some walking. It’s a nice challenge though for an intermediate rider looking to test their skills.
  • + 0
Sandra0JSLGX (Jan 11, 2021 at 9:07)
Some sections pretty rocky and rough. Other parts smooth and easy.
  • + 1
Kathrynh (Dec 9, 2020 at 19:03)
I agree that the eastern portion should be rated blue due to the exposure and chunky while climbing - I definitely would not tell a beginner to ride from Fraesfield TH to Dixileta
  • + 0
ea247 (Oct 20, 2020 at 15:35)
Beautiful. Lots of diverse desert flora. Pretty easy biking
  • + 0
Jwinston (Apr 18, 2020 at 8:43)
The pavement near the top was so steep I couldn't even push my bike anymore. I ended up ditching it before the final switchbacks and walked up the rest. Great view, bucket list adventure, but nobody does this one twice.
  • + 0
ThatGuy-MTB (Apr 3, 2020 at 18:09)
Riding North to South there is a somewhat short uphill section that leads into a great DH section where you can really open the bike up. There are many blind corners though so be sure to call out as you near them to avoid hitting someone coming south to north. There are some small mounds that you can utilize as jumps on the trail as well. Overall it is a well groomed trail that allows you to enjoy the desert whipping by you.
  • + 1
Ampfrog (Mar 31, 2022 at 4:08)
Note: Riding CW is definitely easier than CCW. However, definitely not "downhill". Still XC, but a fun cruise! And yes, keep an eye out for those mini-air rollers.
  • + 0
ThatGuy-MTB (Apr 3, 2020 at 17:58)
Easy entrance trail that links to many of the trails in this system. Can get pretty congested here so check your speed for sure.
  • + 0
RDeP (Jul 28, 2019 at 21:05)
Trail Latigo Trail
This is a great trail to start on and head towards granite mountain by going east. Take this To Turpentine for a nice ride around Granite Mountain! We have some footage for you on insta @averageriders
  • - 1
STGDSS92 (Feb 11, 2019 at 16:59)
Wouldn't call this a blue trail..parts of cholla loop are harder than the "spicy" parts of granite mtn loop.... still really fun and flowy. Lots of photo ops, the overlook is amazing.
  • + 1
Ampfrog (Mar 31, 2022 at 4:05)
Not sure what trail you were on, there is nothing around the entire Cholla loop that is as "spicy" as the Granite Mtn Loop. Granite has switchbacks with rocks to say the least, Cholla is beginner all around unless you know the B-lines for harder challenges. Did you end up in the Diablo areas north of Cholla?
  • + 1
jwind (Jan 7, 2019 at 19:42)
Trail Tom`s Thumb
Many routes have you going up this. I have no idea why. Go down it young padawan. Rough, rowdy and awesome!
  • + 0
mlofgran (Dec 25, 2018 at 18:36)
I'd like to hear if anyone has actually been able to climb the whole thing on their bike. Steepest pavement I've ever been on in my life. I walked more than half the paved segments. Views were incredible. Be ready for a temperature change by the time you reach the top.
  • + 1
STGDSS92 (Dec 12, 2018 at 10:48)
Some rock gardens on the eastern portion of the trail when it rides along a mountain ridge. Also a very small creek crossing after recent heavy rains. I would give the eastern portion of it a more intermediate rating.
  • + 0
Solerider (Nov 25, 2018 at 15:58)
Very beautiful trail! East going east to west is a tough and technical hike with some hike a bike. I would consider going west to east if possible.
  • + 1
mtbracerrrr (Jun 12, 2018 at 15:33)
Trail Desert Park
Great Trail to ride!
  • + 0
RideThoseTrails (Mar 22, 2018 at 20:03)
Take a bike lock or take a chance so you can leave your bike and climb up to Sunrise Peak.
  • + 0
Calendarmon (Mar 9, 2018 at 10:23)
Yes, that downhill section from Taliesin Lookout south has the roughness of most Arizona blue trails, but the elevation change of a green in my opinion. I did this trail a few times with my 2006 26" entry level full suspension mountain bike. I find that section easier if you approach it faster, standing up, and lifting the front end on a few spots. I find climbing that section North is a bit more like a blue trail.
As far as the rest of this trail, North bound is a long uphill battle with few spots for relief. There are a few wash sections that are a little challenging to climb because the switch backs kill most of your speed. South bound is one rougher section and the rest is decently smooth downhill.
  • + 0
speedy-mctightroll (Feb 25, 2018 at 13:25)
PU u
  • + 0
Greggsta (Feb 17, 2018 at 14:16)
That was a hard up, had to hike a couple of steep rocky sections that you could clean if you weren't bagged as balls. Nice scenics, saw about 30 or 40 hikers along the way up and down, (Saturday afternoon). Everybody let's you guy when your climbing. Most are rooting for you, haha.

Always be super curteous and wish people a good hike, and pull over for groups, kids, old, or crazy animals.

The downhill is so worth it! If you like chunky rock drops there's tons of them. And drops with tight switchbacks looking down into the valley. I loved it!

Was super respectful of climbers on the down, keeping speed in check and letting loose a little when I could.

If you came at a time better suited to bombing this without people it would be worth it.

I did Sunrise Trail West to East and exited at Sunrise Trailhead, then rode the 'burbs to get back to Lost Dog.

Great fun, great workout, great downhill.
  • + 0
WJS1962 (Jan 7, 2018 at 17:09)
West-to-East is the ONLY way to ride this trail. The east side is a fun technical downhill, but would be a hike-a-bike uphill.
  • + 0
WJS1962 (Jan 1, 2018 at 19:58)
Trail Tom`s Thumb
Worst MTB trail, ever. Total hike-a-bike.
  • + 0
Tanman34 (Jan 1, 2018 at 12:29)
Sweet Trail! Quite easy but fun and fast. One of the few trails in the area that you can really open up on
  • + 0
Tanman34 (Dec 31, 2017 at 6:58)
Yes I agree- for an experienced rider this is an easy trail but it is by no means suitable for beginners. It is rough and rocky with some washes and such.
  • + 0
Tanman34 (Dec 24, 2017 at 11:19)
Trail Rock Knob
Fun fast single track connector to Pemberton.
  • + 0
Tanman34 (Dec 23, 2017 at 21:05)
I would be amazed someone could find a climb harder than this. I am a great climber.... yet it is so Streep I had to take frequent breaks. At one point my garmin read 41%. About 3/4 way up u reach a radioactive warning sign. Make sure breaks are in good condition before descending
  • + 0
Tanman34 (Nov 15, 2017 at 8:44)
Trail Desert Park
Good trail to warmup for windgate Pass. Much easier alternative to taking gateway loop trail
  • + 0
Mdz537 (Sep 24, 2017 at 15:10)
Rocky climb
  • + 1
Scooter1969 (Apr 9, 2017 at 15:58)
Curious who rated this a green.... would love to see them go north to south of that hill... I'd have to rate it at least a blue going DOWN...
  • + 1
Scooter1969 (Mar 5, 2017 at 19:26)
Fun ride - if you're looking for the rock climbing aspect - not your trail but a fun workout and great open scenery!
  • + 1
Scooter1969 (Dec 30, 2016 at 12:11)
Trail Desert Park
Only rode southern half (accessed via TPP) and very rocky - trail is well defined but lots of rocks. I enjoyed riding it and would do again.
  • + 1
Scooter1969 (Dec 19, 2016 at 23:01)
East to west is great climb
  • + 2
DrHog (Oct 22, 2015 at 21:51)
Only way to connect Brown's Ranch area with the rest of McDowell Mountains. A good trail, but needs a little more climbing and descending to make it great.
  • + 1
DrHog (Nov 29, 2014 at 21:07)
This is a gorgeous trail, and pretty easy for beginners and kids.
Deleted threads/comments are hidden


  • Riding area
  • Primary Activity
    Mountain Bike
  • Difficulty rating
    Black Diamond
  • Route Type
  • Bike type
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Physical rating
  • Ridelogs
More Stats for AES: McDowell Mtns Long 2015 (Defunct) mountain bike route
  • Altitude min
    1,617 ft
  • Altitude start
    1,621 ft
  • Altitude end
    1,621 ft
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    26 miles
  • Distance down
    27 miles
  • Distance flat
    10 miles
Avg: 3 (2 votes)
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
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  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
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  • Ideal
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Pemberton Trail, AZ Epic MTB Handcycle Footage!!!
Pemberton Trail, AZ Epic MTB Handcycle Footage!!!
8:06 | 43 | comments: 0 | favs:
Feb 17, 2022

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