On Presidents Day I was visiting the Scottsdale Arizona area. I had the entire day to myself and wanted something to do.
Part of me wanted to go back to the Lost Dutchman State Park and take on some other trails. However, I had memories of visiting the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy area last year with my brother and we had done about a mile to a mile and a half of it before bailing out (it was raining).
It was a fairly mild hike and definitely beautiful. I pulled up the above website and made a plan to visit.
The trail is probably one of the best runner trails I've come across in a while. There are some rocks and baseball side boulders embedded into the dirt, but I figured the trail easy to run on. I did come across several trail runners.
Being that it was a holiday, the trail was loaded with dog walkers, casual hikers, families and more adventurous types like myself. On the main Gateway Loop Trail, I came across other people every few minutes. This part of the trail is a 4.5 mile loop. The trail has some minor climbs to it, but it is great for the beginner hiker or dog walker.
However, I took a spoke and did the Windgate Pass. All told, I did 9 miles and you can check out my route here.
There are far less people who venture off the Gateway Loop trail. I only encountered about half a dozen people.
The trail is extremely easy to follow. There also isn't any water on the trail, so carry enough based upon the weather.
I visited Inspiration Point which offers a beautiful view of the Scottsdale valley and then I proceeded to Windgate Pass. Windgate lived up to its name -- it was hollowing wind there. You get another view of the Scottsdale Pass as well as "no man's land" further to the east. It was very peaceful there.
There are several loops you can do so be sure to pick up a free map at the parking area. There is also an incredible amount of cactus in the area which add a unique element to it.
This is a great hike to go on if you are a beginner or casual hiker.