3 miles
622 ft
-1,019 ft
Avg time

Windgate Pass Details

  • Riding area
    McDowell Mountain
    Fountain Hills, Arizona
  • Difficulty rating
  • Trail type
  • Bike type
    AM, XC
  • Trail Usage
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Climb Difficulty
    Black Diamond
  • Physical rating
  • Season
    Year round
  • Global Ranking
  • Land Manager

The three main routes for crossing the McDowells are Tom's Thumb, Windgate Pass, and Bell Pass. Of these, Windgate Pass Trail offers the most climbable trail, though it is by no means easy. It is most often climbed from west to east, mainly because most of the riders come from the west side and driving around through Fountain Hills is time consuming. It is a long climb, taking around an hour to summit from the Gateway trailhead, and there are only a few easy sections to catch your breath. There are 3 or 4 really difficult sections where the pitch increases, loose rocks abound, and most riders dismount for a bit. As a downhill, it is 100% rideable for most riders and easier than the Bell Pass DH. Still, the overall rockiness makes it difficult to get a flow going.

Access Info

Most commonly accessed from Gateway Loop Trail. Alternate entries on the west side include Desert Parks Trail and Tom's Thumb Trail. From the east side, access via Coachwhip, Windmill, East End, or Bell Pass Trails.

Local Trail Association
More Stats for Windgate Pass mountain bike trail
  • Altitude change
    -397 ft
  • Altitude min
    2,175 ft
  • Altitude max
    3,035 ft
  • Altitude start
    2,572 ft
  • Altitude end
    2,175 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    2 miles
  • Distance down
    1 miles
  • Distance flat
    497 ft
  • Avg time
  • Avg reverse time
  • view trail stats
on Jun 11, 2017
Very Dry
Avg: 2.5 (8 votes)

view (39)
Layers winter
Trail Style
  • ?
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Directions to windgate-pass trailhead (33.664860, -111.800130)
update trails status or condition

Windgate Pass Trail Reports

Jun 11, 2017 @ 12:46pm
Jun 11, 2017
Lots of climbing if going west to east. Some of it might be hike-a-bike for unskilled climbers. Occasional hiker and other mountain bikers. Very...
Mar 24, 2017 @ 6:44pm
Mar 24, 2017
Great doable climb with great rewards on the descent
view all reports »


more »
88 |
Jan 20, 2017 @ 3:41pm
Jan 20, 2017
Windgate Pass, My City
86 |
Jan 20, 2017 @ 3:41pm
Jan 20, 2017
Windgate Pass, My City
84 |
Jan 20, 2017 @ 3:39pm
Jan 20, 2017
Windgate Pass, My City
82 |
Jan 20, 2017 @ 3:38pm
Jan 20, 2017
Windgate Pass, My City

Routes with this trail

more »
McDowell's climbing training suffering route
21 miles
McDowell Madness
47 miles
Quadruple Bypass
29 miles
West to East McDowell Loop
27 miles

1 Review & Comments

  • + 0
flag Tanman34 (Nov 15, 2017 at 8:43)
 Very difficult trail! Steep gradients with excessive amounts of rocks. Still over it cause of the challenge but I recommend sufficient armor for this- ( knee and arm pads at least)

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