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kid friendly

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Great hike to get your heart pumping and see some lovely views in a short time frame. My kids love it but it might be a little challenging for younger kids or adults with balance problems. It's also too tight and busy for me to want to take a dog.

Amazing views from the peak. Had hike at just over 4 miles. Very rocky but not difficult. Go early as it becomes very busy with runners and dogs late morning. I started at 6:30 and hit lots of traffic on my decent.

First trip to Arizona. Finished a class up early by a few hours so hit the trail! Beautiful and great for a beginner with so many other people out and about I felt safe to continue on being a visitor. Glad I packed my water.

One of my favorite hikes...not really hard and magnificent views. You can also extend the hike to pretty much as much distance as you want.

Meh. It's OK but there's nothing that would bring me back out to do it again. If I had more time, some of the other trails that branched off of this loop had promise.

If the McDowell mountains were a nice jewelry store and you were looking for an engagement ring, this hike would qualify for the bargain basement ... that value corner option that will have to do when funds are limited. Continuously rocky throughout, I felt like I was “driving” down a poorly managed road/drainage wash full of potholes in desperate need of resurfacing. The second star comes from the views of the East Valley/South Scottsdale at the top of the range.

P.S. I will cop to bias in that I have been spoiled hiking all through the north side of the McDowells (Tom’s thumb, Brown’s ranch mountain, Granite mountain, Fraesfield, McDowell mountain park) for some time which are far superior in everything desert hikers want versus this trail. It’s like comparing the South rim of the Grand Canyon with the North rim.

Love to take guests on this trail!!

Loved this trail! it is a bit challenging and technical but great one. Lots of people with dogs only I worry a bit for small ones but they seem happy. moderate crowded.

I hiked this trail a couple weeks ago on a Sunday. It was my first ever hike. Was told by many I picked a tough one for my first ever hike. It was very tough for me. Very steep. I stopped quite a bit on the way up. Sometimes to rest others for the many scenic overlooks. Just about everyone was very friendly. It was quite crowded. Some runners too. The top was amazing with great views. There was a couple people on the top of the thumb too.

I am a novice at hiking. This was my third trail. Started a couple weeks ago. This is my favorite so far. Didn’t seem as long as everyone says. I like to go slow to take in the views. So many good views on the trail. It’s a decent incline to the peak. The last 1/4 mile to the peak was tough and parts you wondered where the trail was. But once at the top the views are amazing in all directions. Going down was a little difficult with so much loose gravel over rocks. Very small parking lot.

Great hike! Gradual inclines and amazing scenery! I want to explore other trails branching off this one.

Loved it! visiting from Charlotte, NC. Never hiked much. This was a fun time for me!

Greta trail, I hike on average 10-15 miles per week and this was still pretty difficult for me. I stopped a lot but it was so worth it at the top! I went in December and the weather was perfect. Very traveled on the weekends, so best to go early.

This is the perfect trail to see the beautiful surroundings of AZ. It could be a short or a long hike. I would recommend hiking boots because the rocks are endless. And dogs are welcome!

12.5 Miles

Moderate in difficulty. Watch your step on this trail, as there is a lot of loose rock and soil that can make it a bit hazardous. Hiking sticks are very helpful, and I recommend them.

I hiked up to Tom's Thumb, then connected to Gateway, took the Saddleback loop and hiked back up Gateway to the Tom's Thumb trail head..I used this hike to prepare for my September Grand Canyon rim to rim. I hiked it during the summer between June through September. I used this approach for the inclines and experience hiking in heat. Gateway going down will give you a false sense that it's and easy trail. Coming back up, almost all the way without shade for 5.5 miles will change your mind. Twice I ran out of water on the trail. Remember, there is no water at the Tom's Thumb trailhead. This route was excellent training for the Canyon. I actually felt that hiking the Canyon in September from north to south rim in one day was easier than hiking the Tom's Thumb and Gateway trail. Take extra water, twice what you normally carry if hiking this combination in the summer.

We connected to the corral trail from Brown's Ranch trail and then up to Cathedral Rock, looped back to corral trail up to upper ranch trail and then back down to Brown Ranch trail. It was a great hike! This trail is easy, but has some elevation changes.

on Tom's Thumb Trail

16 days ago

17 days ago

Great hike, starts w a heavy dose of ascension with great views all along the way. We also did the Lookout 0.5 mile trail and that offered great views of the McDowell mountains and the valley.

So, me and my mom went on this trail for a hike. We wanted an easier one because it was kind of sunny and hot. It was pretty level and we hiked for a while and just followed the lost dog trail until we got to Taliesin Look Out. It was fun on the way back because the sun was behind the clouds, the weather was very nice, and it was mostly down hill or completely level so it was very easy. I suggest that you bring some music and some snacks because we hiked 3 miles there and back. Thank you for reading!

Started at around 8 am Saturday morning and got there just as some of the early birds were finishing so got a great parking spot!
beautiful hike and I would say definitely moderate ( some parts pretty easy and more challenging near the top)
my Fitbit clocked it at 3.75 km up so 7.5 km total. would do again but hopefully get there for sunrise next time

22 days ago

For regular hikers is moderate. If you're not a regular hiker this is a difficult hike. First half is almost all uphill very steep switchbacks. Then a short section of level then another steep climb to the top. Sunscreen & water!

very rocky trail..lots of short switchbacks ..takes a lot of time.start at trailhead for this hike..more mileage from preserve trailhead..go early..lots of water and dont forget sunscreen..I needed some on the way down..had to borrow..great views

A bit of a climb in the first 1/3 then pretty easy to the top. Great views of Scottsdale at the top and Fountain Hills just before the top. Really enjoyable hike.

Per the Preserve docents and the info on display at Gateway trail head, this is a 9.5 mile loop. I went counter-clockwise to get more incline in the first part of my hike. Recent storms have washed a lot of dirt and sand off the trails. I prefer that as it leaves a more packed trail, although somewhat more rocky, and currently, footing is solid. Fabulous views in the canyon! I actually had to sit down on the trail in the most treacherous, steep part to avoid loosing my footing due the high winds the day I hiked. Took 4 hours total.

24 days ago

Nice incline for the first 1.5 miles. Breathtaking views. Slippery and steep on the way down. Not for casual hikers.

25 days ago

Took about an hour and fifteen minutes just keeping a brisk walking pace. Got in and out just before sunset. Really rocky in most parts of the trail so look where you are going. Not too much elevation but it’s a good quick hike.

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