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Tom's Thumb to Bell Pass is a 11.1 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 May. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 11.1 miles Elevation Gain: 2,906 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

mountain biking

bird watching

running

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Gateway to Tom's Thumb to Bell Pass.

hiking
1 day ago

Nice hike. Not much shade after you pass Toms thumb to bell pass.

1 month ago

This is a great high intensity quick hike. It's 7km hike to a peak of 1,200 meters. Bring trail running shoes and water as it can get warm. Best time to go is just before sunrise.

hiking
no shade
over grown
rocky
1 month ago

Got super lucky avoiding snake bite, pay attention.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

AllTrails needs to change the name of the trail. It should be Gateway to Toms Thumb via Bell Pass. It was exactly 13 miles from the parking lot. Gateway- bells pass- east end - toms thumb trail- toms thumb- toms thumb trail - west gate pass - gateway . (We went counterclockwise) . Very well maintained ; very lightly trafficked ( covid outbreak social distancing). Excellent views. I give it a 4 because of the footing ( rocky albeit no need to scramble)

hiking
2 months ago

This listing is a little confusing - it says Tom's Thumb TO Bell pass, but it starts at Gateway. You can definitely do that - start at Gateway, and hike out and around to hit Tom's Thumb and Bell Pass. That would be more like Gateway to Tom's Thumb and Bell Pass. Anyhow... ;) There is another option that isn't on AllTrails, which is starting at Tom's Thumb, taking the trail to Gateway Loop, looping around the north side of Gateway, and then turning off before you loop it, up to Bell Pass, then up East End and back to Tom's Thumb where you started. These hikes are great training hikes for Grand Canyon hikes, etc.

hard

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Great 12.7 mile loop for a late winter hike. Saw no animals.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked at the beginning of Feb. Lovely trail, well maintained, easy to follow, the miles flew by while I was chatting with my friend. Great views.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

The back side of the pass is gorgeous! It’s definitely 13+ miles.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

Took Gateway to Tom's Thumb to Bell's Pass this morning. Helluva workout. I think I was a bit more tired than usual since I did the Goat Camp trail in the White Tanks a few days ago. Gateway trail this morning was barren. No people so it was awesome. There were about a dozen people at Tom's Thumb, but no one went back out to Bell's Pass. Had the whole place to myself. Great workout and beautiful scenery FYI - My Garmin 64st clocked it at 13.04 miles with 3,367 feet of climbing with the trail to Tom's Thumb peak.

running
no shade
rocky
4 months ago

I’ve been on this trail twice (in December each time) and both times clocked it to be around 12 miles. I prefer to go counterclockwise starting on the Gateway Trail to Bell’s Pass, East End to Tom’s Thumb and connect back to Gateway. I try to run as much as I can. There are spots that are fairly rocky which make it a bit tough and the climb on Bell’s Pass and then again at the top of East End prove challenging as well. I like how isolated these trails are though. Gateway Trail can get quite crowded but I rarely see anyone on East End and only a few on Bell’s Pass. There are some great views once you get back in a few miles. I definitely suggest lots of water and some snacks if you plan to be out there for a few hours. Even if it’s not hot you’ll work up a sweat and you’ll be feeling the incline in your legs.

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail! While the East End Trail portion is difficult it is definitely worth it for the amazing views.

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

Did this trail 7/26/19. Been working up acclimation in warm weather for a while now and have been looking to do this to do this route. Went clockwise Gateway to Tom's Thumb to East End to Bell Pass back to Gateway and home. Very long hike well over 11.1 miles, I'd say closer to 15. Alot of up hill and switch backs going up Tom's Thumb. Made it there in about 2 hours. Coming back east end was a quick descent, you go around the back and at one point are closer to Fountain Hills than Gateway trailhead. Back up to Bell Pass, then finally back down towards Gateway. Super long trail, it was a great work out. Ran out of 3L of water and 2 powerades with about 2 miles left. It took about 4.5 hours for me to do this trail. Good sense of accomplishment. It's a beautiful trail. I've covered most of the McDowalls now. It's a great way to see how the trail system here connects and to know where you are. If you have the time and are ready and willing to test yourself, I highly recommend it. Bring plenty of water and extra electrolytes.

hiking
bugs
Sat May 25 2019

hiking
Mon May 06 2019

So I did this on Sunday May 5th. Did the loop counter-clockwise: gateway loop to Bell Pass, then to Windgate trail, up Tom’s Thumb and finished on Gateway trailhead, total just under 26km, or 16miles. Lots of loose rocks on Tom’s Thumb, lots of opportunities for ankle sprains! I would recommend hiking shoes/boots and even polls if you have them. Went on a sunday morning, very few people on Bell Pass, none on Windgate(and no phone service on some parts), and crossed 4 person on Tom’s Thumb. This hike was demanding because of the length of it, bring snacks and a lot of water!! I brought 7L(almost 2Gallons) and barely had anything left by the time I hit the end. Tom’s Thumb trail has a lot of switchback to go up, feels less demanding then climbing Camelback’s Echo trail(which I did the day before), the vues are great, well worth the effort! Overall a great hike with awesome scenery! Would recommend!

hiking
off trail
rocky
Thu Apr 25 2019

hiking
Thu Mar 28 2019

Can be busy

hiking
no shade
rocky
Sun Mar 17 2019

I have done this loop both directions. 13 miles. This is my favorite in Scottsdale preserves. I clocked in at 7.5 hours both times but I like to go steady to take in the views. I probably wouldn’t do it in summer. Drank 3 liters of water in a lovely spring weather so probably need 6 in summertime. Bring food as well. East End is quite isolated and serene. Very rocky with loose gravels too so hiking poles and high top boots helped. Wildflowers were stunning against boulders backdrop at the summit.

hiking
no shade
rocky
Sat Mar 02 2019

This was my first ”long distance” day hike, and it was pretty great! Clocked in around 13.83 miles total. I did the loop clockwise, and there was a nice variety of terrain. The start of the Trail, as well as the area around the Thumb, can get pretty congested with people, but there were times where it felt like I was the only one on the trail which was nice. I packed 5L of water, and I ended up drinking a little over 2L (better safe than sorry haha) Make sure you pack Some snacks because there where a few times where I needed the extra energy boost. I’m thankful is was cloudy and sprinkling when it did it, because there’s not much shade. Keep an eye out for the occasional Mountain Biker, but when I did it on a Saturday, I saw maybe 4, and each one was very courteous. All in all, this Trail was a great experience, and I can’t wait to do more long distance ones.

hiking
Sat Feb 23 2019

Great trail. I've hiked it a couple times but today 2-23-19 was special with all the recent snow.

hiking
Sun Feb 17 2019

A very enjoyable trail. I added actually going to Tom's thumb and it came out to 12.9 miles. This hike has a little of everything you can get in the Phoenix metro area besides water and shade, but those are pretty rare anyway. The best part was east end - there was no one else on it so the entire time it was me, the wildflowers and thousands of birds. If I had wanted to, I probably could have forgotten I was so close to civilization.

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