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Sunday, January 2, 2011

GATEWAY LOOP

GATEWAY LOOP McDowell Sonoran Preserve One of more than two dozen designated trails within this Sonoran desert preserve, the Gateway Loop is a good way to get to know the area. One of the best benefits of hiking in the preserve is the abundant, directional signage and the beautifully maintained trails---even novice trekkers will have no trouble getting around. Gateway Loop swings around the foothills treating hikers to ever changing vistas that culminate at a particularly fine scenic saddle. For a more ambitious hike, the Loop is also a “gateway” to other trails like Windgate Pass and Bell Pass that climb to the higher elevations and ever better views. HIKE DIRECTIONS: From the trailhead, go east, cross the bridge and hike 0.1 mile to the amphitheater area. From here, continue 0.3 mile east along the Saguaro Trail to the junction for Gateway Loop. The route is somewhat less steep on the uphill when hiked counterclockwise. The entire route is well-marked. LENGTH: 4.5 miles roundtrip RATING: moderate ELEVATION: 1,780-2,375 BEST SEASONS: October - April GETTING THERE: From Scottsdale, exit Loop 101 at Bell Road. Go east to Thompson Peak Parkway, turn left (north) and go less than a mile to the Gateway Trailhead on the right. FACILITIES: restrooms, maps and there are usually very knowledgeable preserve stewards on hand to assist you. HOURS: open daily sunrise to sunset DOGS: leased dogs are allowed. Owners must pick up after their dogs. INFO: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy: McDowellSonoran.org, 480-998-7971 City of Scottsdale: ScottsdaleAZ.gov/Preserve, 480-312-7013 MORE PHOTOS: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=704725&l=3c9248c213&id=1795269672

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