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McDowell Competitive Track

The classic race track used for the Cactus Cup.

Mountain Biking Moderate

16 km
223 m
223 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
476 m
High Point
544 m
McDowell Competitive Track Map

The McDowell Competitive Track is the classic singletrack trail that has long been used for the Cactus Cup race. While the trail is open for riding even when the race isn't taking place, the entrance to the trail has a posted sign warning that this track is specifically designed for high-speed riding and racing. All of these trails are one-directional, and you should expect riders to be coming through at high rates of speed. No hiking, running, or horseback riding are allowed on these trails.


Mapped here is one of the longest route options on the Competitive Track, but as you ride along, you'll notice a number of splits and decision points. There are tech trails, flow trails, and shorter and longer options, allowing you to tailor the ride to your desired length or difficulty.

However, regardless of what the signs say, even the "technical" trails are not very technical in the grand scheme of mountain biking. Even McDowell Mountain Park offers much more technical trails over on the Windgate Pass -> Bell Pass Loop.

Overall, the singletrack here is smooth and flowing, with short, punchy climbs and descents. There aren't any extended climbs or long downhills to be found on the course. Instead, it's up and down, up and down, the entire time.

Indeed, this trail appears to be the perfect venue for a lap-style race, and after riding it, I can see why the Cactus Cup remains so popular even to this day. Even outside of race day, this popular bike-specific trail draws tons of riders looking to crank out the miles on the entertaining swoop and flow of the Competitive Track.



Mostly stable trail tread with some variability, with unavoidable obstacles 8in/20cm tall or less. Other obstacles such as rock gullies and steep sections may exist. Ideal for lower intermediate riders.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Flow
  • Singletrack
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area