Wednesday, November 14, 2012

McDowell Mountain Regional Park, a Mountain Bikers Paradise

We've relocated to McDowell Mountain Regional Park in the NE corner of Scottsdale, AZ. We've got a campsite that opens onto nothing but desert and miles and miles of trails that are mostly used by mountain bikers.

We've joked with the other campers here that it seems to be a mecca for senior mountain bikers! At this time of year there are mostly seniors camped here and they are a healthy, physically active bunch.

The trails are awesome! Mostly hard packed desert dirt, meandering through cactus gardens, some lightly rocky sections, uphills are gentle, some swoopy sections through giant boulders, expansive views. Besides the 50 miles of general trails, there is a competitive track where you can test your skills.

The park was ravaged by fire in 1996 and you can see the scars on cactus throughout the park, but in the last 16 years the plants have come back nicely, making for a wonderful place to stay and enjoy the desert.

We've seen a coyote walk near our camp in the afternoon, then moments later call to his pack and listen for the answering responses. LOVE being in a campground with natural space around you, instead of neighbors all lined up in a row.

Sunrise from our camp site

Our camp site...nothing but desert outside our door.

This beautiful, old saguaro has burn damage but managed to survive the 1996 fire.

Mushroom granite rocks!

One of the swoopy sections


  1. We've always skipped this park in favor of the one up by Cave Creek... but it looks great.So thanks! I think we'll try it come January.
    Box Canyon Mark

  2. We love McDowell Mountain Park. We were just looking at our calendars to see when we can book it over the next few weeks. Enjoy!

    1. We found out about it from Wheeling It and are enjoying it immensely!

  3. Looks like a great spot. We tried to book at McDowell or Cave Creek for next week, but with Thanksgiving they are all booked up. So we'll boondock at the shores of Lake Pleasant through the Thanksgiving Holiday and then try for McDowell. What site are you in? I might try and book that very site (assuming you won't be there). Where are you off to next?

    1. We are in, and like, site 62. 60 is also very are all of the sites along the side we are on. Really, any of the perimeter sites in the South loop are great! Inner ones are fine, but for privacy and views, the perimeter are wonderful!

      Tomorrow we head for Usery Mtn Regional Park for 2 nights, then Quartzsite for 2 nights (to check it out because we'll come back thru there end of Jan) then San Diego for 2 months. Tucson end of January.

      It's weird to have everything planned out so far ahead!

    2. We were in 61 for Thanksgiving. Don't you just love that park? We're going back up in January.

    3. Absolutely loved it! We will be back!