Explore Nemo's Journeys - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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I did this hike on a Tuesday morning and only encountered two other small groups while I was out. A nice, quiet hike with incredible desert views and plentiful saguaro. As other reviewers have noted, going counterclockwise will get the hardest part of the hike done first and then a nice descent for the second half. There is a self pay fee at the trailhead where you are asked to put three dollars in an envelope and keep the receipt for proof of payment.

What makes a trail 5 stars for me is always the vistas. This one really has it all.

Really nice trail, (if only dog’s owner could just pick
Up after their own dog),

Best trail on south mountain !

hiking
1 day ago

Getting to Tom's Thumb isn't too difficult. There are often people climbing Tom's Thumb, which is cool to get a picture of. You can see a video of people climbing Tom's Thumb here: https://youtu.be/GuhSPPx4L-Y

Beautiful views. A little bit of a challenge but well worth it.

hiking
6 days ago

By far the best marked trail I have ever hiked and the most well maintained. There are many hills for photo opportunities are you head to the Thumb". If you are feeling a little more adventurous, look for the Miner's Cave and The Ogre's Den (not accessible), those were 2 cool additions I found during this hike.

hiked up to the peak with my 12 yr old, nice views at the top and not too steep. Elevation at the peak before the loop is about 1959 ft, good workout for kids.

Did this hike a month ago and it was awesome!! Moderate difficulty, the hardest part is the incline in the beginning, but then it evens out for the rest of the hike. Moderate to highly trafficked at the beginning but felt the crowd thins out as you keep going. My friend and I went to the tunnel and Fat Man's pass, both were super fun to see. Got a little lost at one point trying to find the tunnel but easily found our way back. The views at the lookout points are incredible, you can see the entire valley. I would definitely say you could bring a beginner here. Most of the trail is in the sun. Also note there's a parking lot at the trailhead, but to access it, don't enter through the preserve's main entrance areas (just go directly from 24th or adjacent streets).

hiking
9 days ago

Hiked this about a month ago and the weather was (and still is) perfect. The first half on the way up is challenging and steep, but after that it's pretty easy climbing to the summit. Would definitely recommend using the lookout points to catch your breath and drink lots of water. This probably wouldn't be where I take a novice for a first hike. The views were absolutely incredible though! Most of the trail is in the sun. Would say it's moderately trafficked and well-marked, I doubt anyone could get lost. The parking lot is right at the trailhead, with restrooms and water; the park is really clean and well-maintained. Definitely plan on coming back soon!

Moderate trail and decent workout. Nothing extraordinary to see, mostly the same terrain but I always recommend South Mountain in late winter to see the vegetation start blooming. Makes for a pretty hike but watch out for bees.

rock climbing
9 days ago

Up, up and up some more. With all the climbing you earn the views.

hiking
9 days ago

A great workout with beautiful views all along the way. This is a gravel trail with good inclines so you can definitely break in your trekking poles. Reaching Tom’s Thumb felt very accomplishing and was well worth the hike. Very friendly people on the trail. Bring plenty of water. I will hike this again!

Wow, this has to be the prettiest trail in the Phoenix area. The rocks are amazing! But wow, what a climb! Kicked my butt! 4.2 miles took me 3 hours. 2 hours up, 20 minute rest on top and 40 minutes down. But what breathtaking views!

Holy cow, we did this trail end to end and doubled back some. Total mileage was over 18 miles. Only part we didn't retrace our steps on was between Dreamy Draw area and 7th St. Not much for elevation, a few spots here and there, but great for mileage. Lots of mountain bikers and some horses. The guy in the visitor center was very helpful explaining the trail. We bought a great trail map of N Phx mountain area.

Great trail, pretty easy and has nice views at the end.

hiking
13 days ago

This trail did not disappoint! I am in decent shape and huffed and puffed up this sucker...lots of stops to enjoy the scenery” aka catch my breath, but the views going up and at the top are 100% worth it! I chose this over Camelback for a Sunday afternoon and it could not have been more perfect! Highly recommended!

Wonderful Hike! We didn’t go to the Fat mans pass but did go to the tunnel. Saw the a gorgeous sunset on the way back on National to Javelina.

Tougher at start but lightens up. Views are wonderful!

+1 for hiking it CCW, staying right at the fork to do the north section of the Elephant Mountain trail before the Spur Cross section. You will be facing the best views the whole time going this direction and you'll do the harder section earlier.

hiking
16 days ago

Great views. Starts out with incline but then levels out during second half of the ascent.

Good trail. Moderate to hard. Good to train with just enough hills. Good for MTB riding as well

Once again a great hike with absolutely beautiful destinations! Sadly there seem to be more people not taking their trash and other items out with them. Some people left behind an air mattress, shoes, dirty clothes, bottles, cans and other trash. if you hike it in, hike it out or don’t bother going. It is a disgrace that some humans ruin things for others. I would agree that if you were going to have your belongings packed into the canyon for you that you should use the helicopter. There are still several horses and mules along the route that had bleeding saddle sores and other injuries. That stuff aside, it’s a place worth checking out if you are lucky enough to get a permit.

This was the most fun I have ever had. climbing down a cave then realizing I have to climb down using chains and then there's a huge ladder thats wet from the mist of the most beautiful waterfall. I faced my fear of heights. then we take the trail and get to take off our shoes and socks and make our way across the water not once but 3 times on this hike (and 3 times on the way back) when it seemed to never end we got to those final ladders to get up top above Beaver Falls and that feeling you get is just so worth the hike. Amazing view. Amazing feels.
Not ok for kids, adults only

on Tom's Thumb Trail

19 days ago

Awesome! Well marked trail with so much natural beauty. Really good workout with lots to see. We made frequent stops so we could soak it all in. Highly recommended!

hiking
19 days ago

Challenging hike for beginners but definitely doable if you take regular breaks. This is one of the prettiest hikes we’ve done in the Phx area. The views are stunning and you’ll be so glad you did it. A little tricky coming down due to the loose gravel but if you take your time it’s fine.

hiking
19 days ago

great trail. beautiful view. I would do it again.

hiking
21 days ago

This was an exhilarating and challenging at the same time. I did this counter clockwise and so glad I did. Actually, I felt like I got the hard stuff out of the way first, and enjoyed my descent down after all the climbing I did. The views are incredible! Don't forget to stop every once in a while and turn around to see the sweeping desert views. Start early as this takes a while to do. Recommend this trail to get your heart pumping and your adrenaline keyed up!

hiking
21 days ago

Great hike even with those that aren’t the strongest hikers. 95% of the hike is paved - it was pretty heavily hiked during the morning hours on a Saturday in Spring.

Watch out for the rattlesnakes! We had one sitting right in the middle of the trail on our way back down.

Usually prefer the forests of WA state, but this rocky trail won me over and it is a great spot for kids. Rock slides, Fat Man Pass, views, cactus all made it interesting from start to finish!

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