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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, ok. I know there have been many posts about these trails, I've read them.
My buddy and I are planning to hit the McDowells in a week or so, and we've never ridden up there, save for the the competitive loops. I definitely want to make it to TT, which trail should we take. Don't mind some hiking. I appreciate any advice!
 

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I ride that area almost every weekend around 8am. I like to park at Gateway go up Bell last 5-10min is hike a bike, then up East End trail last 20min is hike a bike than down Tom's Thumb (the best part). Its about 12miles and it takes me a little over 2hrs depends on traffic.
 

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I'm with Maad, from Bashas work your way toward Windgate and split off to the left to TT all the way up, it's really not as bad a climb as it's reputation would leave to to believe. And the descent down the Fountain Hills side is awesome. Then back over to Bell Pass and Bashas.
 

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I'd stick with Bashas or the Gateway Visitor's Center. A buddy and came out via the 104th St. lot once and a truck that had been parked there when we went in, had it's passenger side window laying on the ground below when we came out.
 

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bazooka_beard said:
Ok, ok. I know there have been many posts about these trails, I've read them.
My buddy and I are planning to hit the McDowells in a week or so, and we've never ridden up there, save for the the competitive loops. I definitely want to make it to TT, which trail should we take. Don't mind some hiking. I appreciate any advice!
The ability level of people on this forum are all over the place. Im a decent rider and have no issues with trails like Pass Mt but the climb up TT is no easy task. Its unrelenting. Unless you are in the god like mountain biking category that does the Quad bypasses be prepared to walk. That being said when I did TT I started at the Gateway TH and took the Desert Park trail around to an unmarked trail which is like an old gravel road. I took that up to where the TT trail comes in from the right. This way you bypass all of the climb up Windgate which left more energy for me to get up TT. Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The climb is most of the fun, man!

Steelmonkey: Are you the steelmonkey from steelmonkeyaz.net? If so, we are going to be taking your double bypass loop route. Looks to be fun. My buddy just moved here from Georgia, so I wanted to show him the top of the best mountain range in the North Valley.
 

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Just road at Gateway yesterday... If you can avoid the weekend, or you can get out early... DO IT. TONS of hikers there.
 

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Windgate over and Bell Pass back is a good starting point. If you opt for Tom's Thumb I'd still take Bell Pass back.

Sunrise is probably my favorite but you have to link that into a much bigger loop.
 

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Douger-1 said:
Unless you are in the god like mountain biking category that does the Quad bypasses be prepared to walk.
I and the guys I ride with are far from god like, we ride the whole hill, ironically we walk a section or two on the gateway trail leading to the windgate tt split, not tt itself. For me the switchbacks are crazy tight and I walk the switchbacks, but the climb itself while steep isn't insane. Now this was on my geared bike, have yet to try it on the ss.
 

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Steelmonkey: Are you the steelmonkey from steelmonkeyaz.net? If so, we are going to be taking your double bypass loop route. Looks to be fun. My buddy just moved here from Georgia, so I wanted to show him the top of the best mountain range in the North Valley.
Yup, that would be me. You should have a ball. Weather's great, it's beautiful out there and the ride is very doable, but challenging enough so that when you get back to the car, you have that nice feeling of accomplishment at a good ride behind you. Have fun!
 

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I did windgate to the pass and down bell. Holy crap they hate mnt bikers over there!! I have never gotten so many dirty looks and rolled eyes when going by. Glad I had my headphones in case someone said something that would make me mad! So like a previous post said avoid this trail on weekends!! I won't be surprised if someday in the near future they close this off to bikes.
 

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nsavarirayan said:
I did windgate to the pass and down bell. Holy crap they hate mnt bikers over there!! I have never gotten so many dirty looks and rolled eyes when going by. Glad I had my headphones in case someone said something that would make me mad! So like a previous post said avoid this trail on weekends!! I won't be surprised if someday in the near future they close this off to bikes.
surprising. I have not had anything like that sort of negativity. imo, the hikers in the McDs who go beyond the double-track on gateway loop or the lowers of Lost Dog etc are generally pretty aware, and respond pretty well to good, friendly communication. use your bell - people find it very disarming and appreciate the effort.
 

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nsavarirayan said:
I did windgate to the pass and down bell. Holy crap they hate mnt bikers over there!! I have never gotten so many dirty looks and rolled eyes when going by. Glad I had my headphones in case someone said something that would make me mad! So like a previous post said avoid this trail on weekends!! I won't be surprised if someday in the near future they close this off to bikes.
Havent seen that either. Theyve usually been really nice and polite and move aside quickly. Some even shout ACTUAL encouragement depending on where on the trial I am.
 

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nsavarirayan said:
I did windgate to the pass and down bell. Holy crap they hate mnt bikers over there!! I have never gotten so many dirty looks and rolled eyes when going by. Glad I had my headphones in case someone said something that would make me mad! So like a previous post said avoid this trail on weekends!! I won't be surprised if someday in the near future they close this off to bikes.
Been riding here since the trails were opened a few years ago and have never encountered any hiker reaction like you described. People have actually stopped to watch me finish climbing sections on Gateway and gave compliments!!!
 

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tjkm said:
Been riding here since the trails were opened a few years ago and have never encountered any hiker reaction like you described. People have actually stopped to watch me finish climbing sections on Gateway and gave compliments!!!
I guess maybe it was a bad day :)

I'm going to do this Toms Thumb thing for the first time today around 2pm. I'm taking my new SX trail so won't be as fast as I usually am with my 29er. But want to try this bike down those switchback!!
 

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randyharris said:
I and the guys I ride with are far from god like, we ride the whole hill, ironically we walk a section or two on the gateway trail leading to the windgate tt split, not tt itself. For me the switchbacks are crazy tight and I walk the switchbacks, but the climb itself while steep isn't insane. Now this was on my geared bike, have yet to try it on the ss.
The fact you have even considered riding Toms Thumb on a SS puts you in a category far beyond mine. Plus the majority of you who ride the Quad bypass routes are very humble. A single bypass is a very tough workout for a mere mortal like myself. I always think to myself while riding out there "I cant believe people can ride all of these trails in one ride". Very impressive.
 
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