Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Tom’s Thumb Day Hike
when Trip Report : February 13, 2021
  Trip Report : February 13, 2016
  Trip Report : January 16, 2010
where McDowell Sonoran Preserve
the hike     This is the most challenging hike in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and worth the effort. The hike from the Gateway Trailhead is quite a bit longer and more strenuous than from the north side. Initially we are following the Gateway Loop to the Windgate Pass and head up the most strenuous part of the hike, the East End Trail. From there we go to the base of Tom’s Thumb. In what looks like a giant rock garden, we’ll have our lunch break and refuel. On our way out, will take the Lookout Trail 0.5 miles long with about 300 feet ascent, a spur trail brings us to the Lookout at 3,858 feet. The views from here are great; almost 360 degrees. You can see where you’ve been and where you are going. See Map and Route on AllTrails.
    Returning on the same trail, we take the Tom’s Thumb Trail down the switchbacks to where it joins the Windgate Pass Trail. The final stretch will be returning on the Gateway Loop trail.
    If someone volunteers to lead a shorter hike, a group can hike up to the summit of Bell Pass and return the same way. This would make a 7.2 mile hike with 1400 feet elevation gain.
distance 14 miles
time 5-7 hours
EC +-3200' elevation change
elevations 1800' (Trailhead) to 3858' (Tom’s Thumb Lookout)
type Lollipop Loop
starting at
Gateway Trailhead 18333 Thompson Peak. Pkwy, Scottsdale
on trail 100% — Gateway, Bell Pass, East End, Tom’s Thumb, Lookout, Windgate Trails
rating "B+"     Rate yourself as a hiker.
dogs allowed no
cost The club allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.
weather Scottsdale
meet 7:30 AM at the Gateway Trailhead, near the bathrooms.
•  Exit the 101 to take Bell Road east to Thompson Peak and turn left.
After 0.5 mile turn right into the Gateway Access Area.

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updated February 15, 2021 © Copyright 2021, Arizona Trailblazers.  All rights reserved.