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West Side Loop

Easy/Intermediate
 4.0 (2) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A loop exploring the western part of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.


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Map Key

19.5

Miles

31.3

KM

100%

Singletrack

2,841' 866 m

High

2,329' 710 m

Low

706' 215 m

Up

705' 215 m

Down

1%

Avg Grade (1°)

5%

Max Grade (3°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Features Views

Overview

A loop including parts of the Hawknest Trail, The Stagecoach Trail, the West Express, and the Axle Grease Trail.

Need to Know

Parking at the Pima-Dynamite Trailhead is free and plentiful.

Description

The Hawknest Trail begins at the trailhead just to the right of the Axle Grease Trail It wanders northeast, gaining elevation as it goes with numerous ups and downs. This is the most strenuous part of the loop.

Several miles in, there is a short side trip to Basalt Ridge Overlook. Shortly after, the end of the Stagecoach Trail is reached via a half mile of the Malapais Trail. The Stagecoach Trail meanders north and then west slowly gaining elevation with gentle slopes. After several miles, the route crosses the powerline road, then turns right at the Dove Valley Trail which becomes the West Express at the powerline re-crossing. This begins the southbound return portion of the loop.

The descent of the West Express is fast and fun, with numerous humps to cross which add to the fun. After a few miles, the West Express transitions into the Axle Grease Trail. (The continuation of the West Express veers left at this point.) The Axle Grease Trail continues the downhill southbound route, but with more twists and turns than the straight West Express. The Axle Grease Trail trail terminates back at the trailhead.

A map of the preserve is available online or at the trailhead. It is recommended to keep it handy to navigate the maze of trails in the preserve. Literally hundreds of loop options are available. The map is also online at the Scottsdale website.

Contacts

Land Manager: City of Scottsdale

Shared By:

Tom Riddle

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes

#2610

Overall
  4.0 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#104

in Arizona

#2,610

Overall
45 Views Last Month
1,258 Since Mar 27, 2021
Easy/Intermediate

0%
67%
33%
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Photos

Large Saguaro.  There are many of these along the loop.
Mar 27, 2021 near Carefree, AZ
Lots of Cholla.
Jan 24, 2022 near Carefree, AZ
View from Basalt Ridge Overlook (South).
Apr 23, 2022 near Carefree, AZ
View from Basalt Ridge (North).
Apr 23, 2022 near Carefree, AZ
View from Basalt Ridge (NW).
Apr 23, 2022 near Carefree, AZ
View from the Rawhide Wash Overlook.
Apr 23, 2022 near Carefree, AZ

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 22 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Oct 30, 2022
Frank Mulich
Jan 12, 2022
Cj Procyk