Tom's Thumb Trail - Hike, Mountain Bike, and Rock Climb near Scottsdale, Arizona
~12940-12998 E Paraiso Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85255, USA,Scottsdale,Arizona
33.69459081, -111.80148701
15.6 miles NE of Scottsdale, Arizona
Address: ~12940-12998 E Paraiso Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85255, USA
GPS: 33°41'40.5"N 111°48'5.4"W
Maps | Directions
State: Arizona
Trail Length: 4.70 miles
MTB Difficulty: Intermediate
Trail Type: Out & Back
Hike Difficulty: Intermediate
Elevation Gain: 1236 feet

Restrooms Pet Friendly

Hike, Mountain Bike, and Rock Climb

Tom's Thumb Trail is a popular trail on the McDowell Sonoran Preserve due to its unique thumb-like granite rock formation. This is a 4.7 out-and-back, intermediate trail because of its 1,200 ft. elevation gain, and its rocky, gravel trail. 

Start from the Tom's Thumb trailhead, the northernmost trailhead in the McDowell Mountains (you can hike from Gateway trailhead, but it's an additional 5 mile hike). This trailhead has plenty of parking and restrooms, however, no water sources, so be sure to bring lots of water with you before you take off. 

Basically immediately into the hike starts the switchbacks and elevation gain, that essentially continues until you reach the thumb. There will be markers for other trails along the way, but there is no connecting trail, just stay on the main path. Once you make it to the thumb (catch your breath and massage out your aching calves and quads), enjoy the stunning views seen from the top. There are plenty of spots to sit or explore. 

You'll return to the trailhead the way you came. Be aware that it is steep on the way down, so proper footwear is encouraged to avoid falls or accidents. This trail is pet friendly.

659 Edited by kworthen

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Never modify trail features. Ride trails when they're dry enough that you won't leave ruts. Speak up when you see others on the trail and always yield to hikers, horses, and others coming uphill. Always ride on the established trail.

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Be courteous, informed, and prepared. Read trailhead guidelines, stay on the trail, and don’t feed the wildlife.

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  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

Directions

From Scottsdale, Arizona

  1. Head north on N Scottsdale Rd toward E Indian School Rd (276 ft)
  2. Turn right at the 1st cross street onto E Indian School Rd (2.2 mi)
  3. Turn left to merge onto AZ-101 Loop N (10.5 mi)
  4. Take exit 36 to merge onto N Pima Rd toward Princess Dr (0.5 mi)
  5. Turn right to stay on N Pima Rd (0.7 mi)
  6. Keep right to stay on N Pima Rd (4.0 mi)
  7. Turn right onto E Happy Valley Rd (4.2 mi)
  8. Continue onto N 118th St (0.1 mi)
  9. Turn right onto Ranch Gate Rd (1.3 mi)
  10. Turn right onto N 128th St (1.0 mi)
  11. At the traffic circle, continue straight (0.4 mi)
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Guest Review/Comments

/5

meganemaple

1/11/18 12:02 pm 12/5/15
Wonderful hike! It was a great experience for both the adults and younger members of out group. The view was also fantastic.
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Tom's Thumb Hike - Scottsdale, Arizona by Xplore More
Toms Thumb Arizona from the air by cvedeler

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