The thumb is sticking up on the horizon on the far left
You might recall I hope to climb to the summit of Arizona’s highest mountain in June. So I’m in training.
First time I’ve seen a backhoe doing trail repair
I started this hike at the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead at the north end of the preserve. I made it to the base of the landmark then turned around and came back the same way. Total trip length is between 4 and 4.5 miles and I figure a 1000 feet of vertical elevation gain. The footing is mostly gravel/dirt. Lots of folks were hiking it with less sturdy shoes than mine. It took me 1 hour and 50 minutes round-trip.
At the base of Tom’s Thumb, overlooking Scottsdale and the Valley of the Sun far in the distance
On the way down I was wishing I’d brought my trekking poles to take some of the strain off my knees.
Click for trail details.
The thumb up close and personal
On March 23, 10 or so scouts and adults from Scottsdale’s Boy Scout troop 131 did the headlined 10-mile hike. It was preparation for the rim-to-rim Grand Canyon hike later this year. Everyone finished in under five hours. I did it in four hours and five minutes, with few stops. Total vertical elevation was 2,500 feet. The trail guide says this is a “very difficult” loop. The difficulty is mostly in the grade (slope) rather than footing.
The north trailhead for Tom’s Thumb trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Tom’s Thumb is in the middle of the horizon.
Close to the top of Tom’s Thumb trail
Tom’s Thumb is in the middle of the horizon; much more impressive when you’re closer than this.
Tom’s Thumb trail
Tom’s Thumb trail
Saquaro cacti reaching for the sky
A surprising natural spring probably between trail markers 13 and 14 on Tom’s Thumb trail, about 2,600 feet above sea level and 1,100 feet below the peak
These flowers will probably be gone in a couple weeks, only to return next Spring
River of rocks created by landslide on East End trail
The intersection of East End trail and Tom’s Thumb trail
Trails are marked well, so you shouldn’t get lost.