Tom's Thumb to Bell Pass

HARD 114 reviews
#5 of 44 trails in

Tom's Thumb to Bell Pass is a 11.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Scottsdale, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking and is best used from October until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

11.3 miles
2837 feet

dogs on leash


mountain biking

trail running

wild flowers


1 day ago

A must do...
Just enjoy the views, and have fun.

1 day ago

Arrived at 6:35am to a locked gate, no sign saying when it would open and no parking at the gate area. No reviews mentioning the opening hours! Sunrise to sunset I later found out. The trail was heavily trafficked at 7:30am on a Saturday morning. The hike was absolutely gorgeous though!

5 days ago

just did the loop yesterday, taking advantage of a little cold front that just came through. Had light drizzle - it was even chilly at some points - just fabulous! Hardly anyone on the trail once you go beyond bell pass. Steep, rocky inclines but with great views and well worth it . Does take time though. Made it to Tom's Thumb in 3 hours which included stopping for lunch. Another 2.5 plus to get down. (not a trail runner!)

17 days ago

If you are looking for a great trail to practice before a big trail race, this is it. With just a little over 3k in vert, this loop can be technical and requires for you to bring lots of water. Usually very busy from the start of the Gateway trailhead, but once you pass the Gateway Loop sign, then the trail is all yours!

18 days ago

what a beautiful hike!!! it had some great views, a little too busy for my liking but it was still nice. only hiked about an hour in a half in, can't wait to do the loop though

24 days ago

Nice climb, great parking. Excellent place to rock climb without gear. Incredible views.

1 month ago

Wonderful hike if you want to stretch yourself. It took us 6 hours total We are 50+ age recreational hikers. Took 2 L of water per person and drank every drop. Having done toms thumb several times it was fun to approach from the opposite side. Get away from the crowds and take this hike!

2 months ago

Great hike. Weather was prime! 16-18 degrees c (sorry I'm Canadian). Beautiful scenery. Not many peeps on the trail once you got a few kms away from the trailhead. Really loved the connector between Tom's Thumb and Bell pass. I would say being in shape is a requirement, but it wasn't too hard. Pce.

2 months ago

3 months ago

Are you in hiking shape? Are you prepared? Then your ready to go! Enjoy varying terrain from packed trail to technical ascents and descents. You'll find the gains at at a moderate rate and only a handful of big step ups. Views are legit. Be sure to side trek over to Tom's Thumb. I ran the loop in reverse and added some distance by taking the saddle back to the head. Started shortly after sunrise and walked with the sun at my back for 2nd half. Otherwise high exposure with only a few areas to take cover. Wear a hat and bring plenty of water.

4 months ago

Other than the length of this trail, it's pretty simple. Just bring lots of water and not be hung over as hell like me and my friends were.

6 months ago

great place to get ready for the Grand Canyon.. Watch out for wildlife, snakes, deer, birds, and coyotes.

9 months ago

"This is the hike that never ends
Yes it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started hiking it
Not knowing what it was
But people kept hiking it just because...
This is the hike that never ends..."

This was very challenging due to the distance. It took me 4 hours 15 mins for the complete loop. Definitely slather on the sunscreen, wear a hat, and bring plenty of water.

10 months ago

This is definitely the hike you want if you are looking for a tough workout. I took the slight detour to see Tom's Thumb and my recording showed ~12 miles total for the entire day. Absolutely bring more water than you normally would.

10 months ago

This is a terrific hike, but it delivered me a beat down. My track recording showed 12 miles, not 11.3 as advertised, but nevertheless I was whipped by mile 8. Lots of climbing. Bring more water than you think you need.

10 months ago


10 months ago

It was a good hike up to tom's thumb from gateway access area, I then took east gate around to bell pass to loop around a little longer then I planned for my day. Completed a little over 14 miles, but I was done at 10 miles and could longer enjoy my hike and just wanted it to be over, but I'd still do it again just not too soon.

11 months ago

Great views! Excellent challenge!

Over prepare, bring extra water- 2L+

trail running
11 months ago

This trail has some really fantastic views and is definitely worth your time. Keep in mind though that this trail is very steep in places and extremely rocky. Would be great for hiking but I ran it and it was pretty rough since it was so rocky. I can't even imagine trying to do this on a mountain bike, yikes. If you are going to run this just plan on a slow time and enjoy yourself, it is definitely a trail you should do if you live in the area. Check out Tom's Thumb as it is only a few tenths of a mile off the main loop. Take some extra water and some solid shoes and you will have fun on this one.

Friday, February 10, 2017

It was a good hike. Tough but so worth it!

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