Bell Pass McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Bell Pass trail elevation profile

Climb To The Ridge Of The McDowell Mountains

One of many possible adventures from the popular Gateway Trailhead, this moderate climb to Bell Pass is a slightly shorter alternative to the full Bell Pass/Windgate Pass loop. The route begins by following the Gateway Loop trail counterclockwise, passing several other junctions before eventually connecting with the western end of Bell Pass trail. While the Gateway Loop turns north to a lower saddle, Bell Pass trail continues northeast toward the ridge between McDowell Peak to the north and Thompson Peak to the south.

The path makes a generally direct approach to the ridgeline with some short switchbacks as the grade gets steeper over the last mile. While the climb and descent offer consistent views west, reaching the pass opens the view east to the lower Verde River valley and the Four Peaks Wilderness beyond. Bell Pass trail goes on past the saddle, connecting with several other trails on the eastern slope of the ridgeline.

More Adventures