Gateway and Tom's Thumb Loop Trail

HARD 41 reviews
#17 of 50 trails in

Gateway and Tom's Thumb Loop Trail is a 9.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Scottsdale, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from October until April. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

9.6 miles
2,103 feet

dog friendly



horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips



wild flowers


Starting at the 104th St trailhead, head toward the Gateway loop trail. Turn right at the Gateway loop. Next take the Bell pass trail and be prepared for a steep climb. Once you hit Bell pass, breathe a sigh of relief as you head down to the Windgate Trail. Follow the signs taking you back toward the Gateway loop trail. Follow the sign toward the Gateway trailhead, but stay left to follow the signs for the 104th st trailhead. This is about 10.5 miles of solid butt kicking trail. The views are amazing!

7 months ago

Almost 12 miles,At least that’s what All trails tracked is as .Very rugged at times worth it once you get to Tom Thumb
Starting at the Gateway to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve parking area. Plenty of parking ,restrooms ,water they even had a gentleman there if you had any questions.Take the Saguaro Trail to the Gateway loop trail toward Wingate pass to Tom thumb trail. Once at the top you will have a beautiful view at 3845 feet . I came back the East End Trail connected to Bell pass trail back to Gateway Loop, Trail head. Tom Thumb trail and East End Trail are very rugged, Trails are very well marked. Take plenty of water!!

8 months ago

It was amazing! The pinnacle peak trail is a nice warm up, but for experienced hikers this provides better cardio:)

8 months ago

Great beautiful hike. A very good workout that has a "total" elevation change of 2600 feet from bottom to top back to the bottom. I would label it "hard" for most folks. If you maintain over 2.5 mph you will get a good workout. Took me 3.75 hours round trip. Great views all the way-especially at the top. Bring lots of water and a snack. Oh, about 11.2 miles round trip from the gateway.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Very pretty, not too hard

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Great and challenging trail. Wonderful scenery.

Monday, March 13, 2017

I'd love to hear if anyone has recently hiked this loop as it is mapped. I attempted it on March 10 in a clockwise direction. The section on the mapped trail from the northernmost point (on Tom's Thumb trail) southeast to Windgate trail is no longer a trail in this park. There are vestiges, but it did not appear that anyone has hiked that section in quite some time. I was unable to follow the former trail, and had to backtrack down the Tom's Thumb trail. I suggest that this loop be removed from AllTrails. A similar loop that uses trails that actually exist here is the Gateway - Bell Pass - Windgate Loop Trail.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Did Gateway and Tom's Thumb Loop Trail today. I had been to Tom's Thumb before, but not this way The trail starts in far North Scottsdale off of Thompson Peak Parkway. When I was a kid, we lived at 84th Street and Shea, and back then that was as far north as Scottsdale went. Now, that's more like mid-town Scottsdale. Alas, that's progress. I arrived today just before sunup at around 6 am and there were already lots of cars present. I headed off on the Gateway Trail, continued to Windgate, and then took off on the Tom's Thumb trail. I did not travel up Windgate, but I will probably go back to do that. You might say I cheated because I hiked only about 5.75 miles until I came within sight of Tom's Thumb, and then turned around and headed back. Still, 11 1/2 miles is not too bad and I saw plenty. My hike topped out at 3542 feet where there was a cool wind blowing. I was glad I had on a long sleeve tee shirt! I paid the price for climbing up that far. There were switchbacks, but that was still a climb of over 2000 feet. The trail is mostly well groomed although in spots it took on the look of wilderness. About midway through there is a fragrant pool of standing water and a little stream. The pool is filled with tall reeds and it's very popular with the bees. The trail was quite busy today. I went alone and I was alone for most of the hike, but I probably passed 30 other hikers going up and down. Near the end there were mountain bikes at the lower elevations. I somehow made a wrong turn on the way down and I wound up walking extra far to get back to the car. I made it anyway, and I was very pleased. Hiking in the McDowell Mountains is excellent.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

love it, can usually get it done i. 4 hours and 30 minutes. So worth it but brutal. coming down kills your toes hahha

Friday, December 16, 2016

Another fun one to do in the evening.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

I was really excited to go on this trail because I saw it was rated five stars and that it would be a long hike. It is definitely a long hike but not a hard hike. This is more of just a trail. This trail loops you around the mountain. There are no rocks to climb or boulders to go over, just a trail. There are points where you go up and down but it is a slight incline/decline. This path has loose rock that you are stepping on the whole entire time so you have to be careful of where you step. I suggest if you do this loop you turn to the left and go around that way. Also bring plenty of water. This hike took me about 2 hours and I had a steady pace going. This would be a great hike to go on with a friend.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

It's a hard one for sure, wear stable footwear for the loose rocks, no doubt one could twist their ankle something fierce near the beginning. Don't forget water either -- two liters was not enough on a 65 Degree day.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Saw a Coral snake on this hike (not a King snake, have the video)! Great hike with varying terrain and views. Did this one in the summer, not the best time at all - take a lot of water and carbs!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Great long distance hiking! Stunning views! Not crowded during the week. A very hard, fun hike.

recorded toms

7 months ago

7 months ago

8 months ago

8 months ago

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Thursday, March 02, 2017

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