One of the best cross country loops at McDowell Mountain Park.









FATMAP difficulty grade



McDowell Mountain Park is an exceedingly popular mountain bike trail system in the Phoenix Metro Area.

While flooded with locals and visitors alike, tourists tend to flock to the area thanks to one of the best campgrounds in the Phoenix area.

While you’ll have to book your campsite months in advance if you want to stay during peak season, the miles and miles of singletrack rideable directly from your campsite make the planning well worth it. The Pemberton Loop, mapped here, is one of the easiest-to-follow cross country loops in the network.

This ~14-mile loop rolls through the wide-open desert terrain on smooth, fast singletrack.

With only 827 feet of climbing and descending, it’s relatively flat in the grand scheme of things, but if you pay attention, it does climb gradually along the first half of the ride and then descend back to the trailhead.

The smooth, non-technical trails in the area—of which this is one—make the trail system at McDowell Mountain Park popular with cross country and endurance racers looking to escape the mid-winter cold and snow in the northern reaches of the country.

Combine a great campground with easy access to miles and miles of singletrack in one of the warmest cities in the country, and you have the perfect recipe for a mid-winter training getaway! Source: