Monday, December 16, 2013

Mountain Biking at McDowell Mountain



We’ve been biking our little legs off almost every day since we arrived, and with over 40 miles of trails in the park there is no danger of getting bored. And the best part is you can get to them all in just a short ride from the campground. Thanks Mark and Boonie for convincing us we needed mountain bikes!

We tackled the 15 mile Pemberton Trail on Friday but because we decided to take another trail to get to it, which turned out to be over three miles uphill, then took a wrong turn which added a few more miles, we didn’t quite make the entire loop and still ended up riding almost 18 miles.


There was a 10 hour mountain bike race on the Pemberton Trail Saturday, so there were lots of bikers scoping out the race course. We enjoyed talking with several people who were planning to race, and saw quite a few riders pass by while we were stopped for lunch.



It’s a nice trail, not too technical, except for a few very long rocky ups and downs. I only had to get off and walk the bike up a portion of one steep hill, but I think if Jim hadn’t stopped in front of me I could have made it.

The trail passes by an old ranch at one point. We stopped to read the signs and take a look.

McDowell Mountain December 2013

We took a shortcut back and were happy to finally see the campground.


We rode our bikes over to watch some of the racing on Saturday. You could enter solo and ride the entire 10 hours, or be part of a two, three or four man relay team. The race was limited to 285 riders.

We could see the tents in the staging area from our site.


We watched for a few minutes then took a ride on the North Trail, which is in a really pretty area of the park.


From the North Trail.




Yesterday we tried a new trail our neighbor told us about, which isn’t even on the park trails map yet. The Escondido Trail is a six mile loop, and we found it to be more difficult than the Pemberton. More climbing, and lots of twists and turns along steep drop offs. Not sure we will tackle that one again, but it may be easier a second time around now that we know what to expect.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but we really like it here. And so does Sophie.



  1. Such beautiful scenery. Sure enjoyed your pictures. Sophie looks like she has her eye on something!

  2. Looks like a wonderful place for your biking. You know, I don't think I remember you ever not liking the places you stay. :)

  3. Guess I'm just easy to please!

  4. Looks like some great trails. We enjoyed riding our bikes on the trails near Congress, AZ a few years ago. Guess we'll have to get back on the trail sometime in the near future.

  5. Wow...another outstanding place. Riding a bike through that area, I think, would give a totally different experience. What a wonderful day you two had.

  6. Now you need to buy a couple of helmet Go Pros video cams, so we can ride along :))
    Box Canyon Mark

  7. "but I think if Jim hadn’t stopped in front of me I could have made it. "

    Hee, hee.

    1. Yeah, he did that to me a couple times. I think it makes him mad I can go uphill faster than he can, but he always beats me on the downhill. No fear!


  8. What fun! We're staying at McDowell for 2 weeks this February and look forward to biking these trails. Thanks for the sneak peak :)

  9. These are some of the best mountain bike trails we've ridden anywhere. I don't like really technical stuff where I end up walking the bike more than riding.

  10. Beautiful biking there. I love your photos!

    Sophie is adorable.