McDowell Mountain Rim to Rim

HARD 2 reviews
#31 of 42 trails in

McDowell Mountain Rim to Rim is a 14.3 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Scottsdale, Arizona and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is accessible year-round.

14.3 miles
3359 feet
Point to Point


trail running


no dogs

trail running
7 months ago

One day I decided to just make this one up. I've run every inch of the McDowell preserve so for me this was just something I sort of had to do. This is an entire Rim to Rim from the South Sunrise trail head all the way to the North Tom's Thumb parking lot. It claims 14.3 on here but my trail watch put it more like 16.7. You're almost on the Fountain Hills side of the preserve the entire way. You breach a peak at Scottsdale only on Sunrise peak and then again on Tom's Thumb. There's also a way to do it on the Scottsdale side which I've been meaning to do ran out of cooler weather this year so that will be another review. Essentially the trail is Sunrise trail head to sunrise peak....come down the north side of the peak and you'll get to the horse tie off at the junction between the Andrews Kinsey and the Sunrise trail down to Lost Dog. Take Andrews Kinsey until it meets the Sonoran trail.....the Sonoran trail to Dixie Mine which then eventually catches the road up Thompson peak. A little jaunt up the road leads you to Prospector Trail which ascends to meet Bell's pass just south of the pass. Keep going north to the junction of where you can choose to go up East End (the backside of Tom's Thumb) or up Windgate. Go up East End and it's like a different planet. Word to the wise: If Mountain Lions live in the McDowell's East End is definitely their home. Then once you summit East End you're at Tom's Thumb and you can run down to the trail head....and hopefully your ride back is waiting :)

26 days ago