Reatta Pass Loop, starting from the corner of Pima Rd & Happy Valley Rd.
A popular climb in northeast Scottsdale, just west of the McDowell Mtns, is Reatta Pass. This 600 ft climb starts from the corner of Pima Rd and Happy Valley Rd. Go east on Happy Valley for a few miles till you reach Alma School Rd. The grades along this stretch range from 2-6%, (mostly in the 3-4% category). Then turn north along Alma School, where the grades are again in the 3-4% range. You’ll wind around a corner, just east of the volcanic up thrust known as Pinnacle Peak:
Photo Copyright © 1982 by Bryan Flamig.
View of Pinnacle Peak from the corner as Alma School Rd swings east. This was taken in the early 80s, before all the development in the area, and unfortunately, the land in front of the peak is now filled with homes and a golf course.
After going around the corner, you’ll swing northeast and eventually pass a water tower and an old saloon-style building, which has a sign proclaiming Reatta Pass, at 2850 ft. However, my GPS pegs this section at around 2550 feet, (and my GPS is fairly accurate), so I don’t know where the extra 300 ft are supposed to come from.
The top of the climb (at 2646 ft) is actually at the junction of Alma School Rd with Dynamite Blvd / Rio Verde Dr. A gas station on the southwest corner makes for a good place to stop for water/snacks.
I’ve shown this route going west at this point down Dynamite Blvd – which makes for a good climb of its own coming the other way. The “Dynamite Hill” climb has 3-6% grades. After reaching Pima Rd, you can go south to complete the loop. If you are so inclined, you can make multiple laps up and around Reatta Pass, but most cyclists visit this climb on their way elsewhere, either as a short side trip on the way north to Carefree, or as part of a loop going down Nine Mile Hill (Rio Verde Dr), and on to Fountain Hills.
Note there is a sister climb to Reatta Pass, which follows Happy Valley Rd past Alma School, and loops around to 115th St, and ultimately Jomax Rd. I often do both of these climbs on the same trip.