Pemberton Loop Trail - kovaa sport

Pemberton Loop Trail

Pump up those tires, throw on your favorite jersey, clean off your shades, and get ready to hop on your bike because - IT'S TIME TO RIDE. 

Oh, and welcome to our blog where we will be discussing all things cycling in and around the greater Phoenix, Arizona.

For our first ever post (cheers to that) we will be looking at one of our favorite mountain biking trails - the Pemberton Loop at McDowell Mountain Regional Preserve.  This 15.7 mile loop winds through the desert landscape offering unobstructed views of Browns Peak, more cacti than you can count and an occasional glimpse of the famous Fountain Hills fountain if you're lucky.

A 45 minute drive from metro Phoenix, McDowell Mountain Regional Park is mountain bikers paradise.  With over 40 miles of trails ranging from easy to difficult there is something for everyone at McDowell.  The park is open from 5am - 9pm daily (May 1 - October 31) and from 6am - 8pm daily (November 1 - April 30).  While weekends tend to be the busiest, the park has never felt overcrowded during any of our visits.  Please note that a $7 entry fee is required for each vehicle entering the park. Oh, and did we mention that eBikes are allowed in the park?! 

When you arrive, we recommend starting your ride along the Pemberton Loop from the parking lot at the end of Shallmo Dr.  There are restrooms, water fountains, picnic tables, and plenty of room to park and get your bikes set up for the ride.  You can view the map here, but the guide at the check-in station should be able to provide you with directions if needed.

Once you're unpacked and ready to go the trail can be accessed at either the North or South end of the parking lot.  Look for the 'Pemberton Trail' signs and you'll be on your way.  If you decide to ride the trail clockwise (departing from the South side of the parking lot) you'll find yourself winding through a small canyon and wash basin to start.  Around the 2-3 mile mark there is a rocky climb section. After that near mile 6 there is one more short rocky climb followed by relatively smooth trails for the rest of the ride - perfect for XC enthusiasts.  Neither section is very difficult, but it's worth noting in case you prefer to avoid riding up rocky hills.  Alternatively if you ride counter clockwise (departing from the North side of the parking lot) you will have a relatively smooth climb around the trail, ending the ride with a descent over the rockier portions of the trail as you head back towards the parking lot.

One added bonus on the Pemberton Loop are the various rest stations scattered along the trail.  These huts offer a great place to stop and get some rest in the shade, and some even have tools to repair your bike if needed.

A quick easy ride just outside of Phoenix with amazing desert views, the Pemberton Trail Loop is a must ride for mountain bike enthusiasts in the greater Phoenix area.

Happy riding!

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