A beautiful beginner-friendly loop that sees much less traffic than the Pemberton Loop.


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FATMAP difficulty grade



The Escondido Loop is easy to reach from one of McDowell Mountain Regional Park's main trailheads, yet it sees a fraction of the traffic that the popular [Pemberton Loop](https://fatmap.com/routeid/1239938/mcdowell-mountain:-pemberton-loop) receives.

This lack of traffic makes for a peaceful ride on delightfully-narrow singletrack, despite being located in this popular park. The route as mapped begins from the main Pemberton Loop trailhead and begins by following a short section of that trail.

After just 1.3 miles on the wide, smooth Pemberton Trail, take a right onto the signed Escondido Trail.

You'll immediately notice that the singletrack gets narrower and twistier.

You'll begin to drop in and climb out of small washes as you swing around the massive cacti. Soon, the trail begins to descend along a beautiful benchcut into the bottom of a large wash at the base of the mountains.

From here, the ride gets a bit hillier as you climb up and down the sides of dramatically larger washes.

Essentially, these are the bottoms of the washes that run through all of McDowell Mountain Park.

Here, near the border of the downhill side of the park, many washes come together to form more substantial valleys. The trail tread through this section is narrow and flowy, with rubbly rocks providing a little bit of technical challenge.

Even with a bit of rubbly challenge, this ride still only warrants an "Easy" difficulty rating. After twisting in and out of washes and valleys for several, you'll round the end of the small mountain ridge and make your way back toward the Pemberton Trailhead on the Lower Shallmo Wash Trail.

Here the trail is, again, smoother and easier to pedal. The Escondido Loop is a delightful beginner-friendly ride, and it's simultaneously perfect for cross-country riders looking to wrack up miles.

For an even longer ride, combine Escondido with Pemberton.