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Tom's Thumb Trail South is a 11.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back 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 accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 11.3 miles Elevation Gain: 2,559 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

bird watching

running

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no shade

running
rocky
28 days ago

A little crowded until you make the turn away from Inspiration Point. Overall, a fun and challenging run, especially the switchbacks up the near the top. If you want less traffic in the summer, take extra water and go later in the day. It will be hot, so know your limits.

hiking
2 months ago

Flowers are currently stellar. First few hours you will climb. Never super steep...but definitely a push as you get higher. Incredible views towards top. Very green right now. Water flowing down side canyons. When you connect at top with folks climbing shorter route from other side it gets busy. On way down many loose rock sections. Start early and you will be in the shade for most of the climb...if not all...depending on start time. I do not drink much and easily went through 1.5L of water.

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail. I always freak out a bit going to Gateway. Parking lot is always packed and start of trailhead is crazy with people. But once you get about 2 miles in it thins and then only serious hikers.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

Nice 12.2 mi. hike all in 5:02. Excellent weather. Watch out for the hoards on Gateway Loop portion...

hiking
6 months ago

A rugged and varied trek. Totally doable with a little patience and staying hydrated. An early start, like many hikes in the area, is a good idea. Much preferred to the northern approach (that trail is shorter & steeper). Plus, if you are feeling good there are multiple connecting trail options to extend the the hike.

hiking
6 months ago

We did this hike 10/25/2019, started late morning. Fantastic hike! About 12 miles up and back. Great views and decent elevation change made for a good challenging hike. The trail varies from rocky to plain dirt with an emphasis on the former. Take lots of water as it's still plenty hot out! When you get to Tom's Thumb you are supposed to touch the rock per local tradition. Nice views of the valley and rock formations. Well worth the effort!

hiking
7 months ago

one of my favorite teails. Shaded 1/2 of the trail, not smooth but rocky

hiking
muddy
8 months ago

Great scenic hike. Did it in 3.5 hours. Start early.

hiking
9 months ago

Tough training hike from Gateway Trailhead up to Lookout Point. Got hot over the last 3 miles.

hiking
9 months ago

Took not enough water, will never forget it.

hiking
bugs
no shade
over grown
rocky
9 months ago

Challenging, steep inclines, aggressive fire ants, bees, snakes, No shade. Gets very hot during the summer. Unfortunately, A lot of people get rescued here. Even if you start very early, there is still a risk of loosing water or exhaustion due to the climb. Best to do during winter if you’re not acclimated to the heat.

hiking
Sat Apr 13 2019

I would recommend starting early. We started at 7:30 and got back at 1. We sat at the top and ate lunch. Beautiful views. Trail is rocky. Pretty wild flowers.

hiking
no shade
over grown
Sun Apr 07 2019

hiking
over grown
rocky
Sun Apr 07 2019

While the views along the trail are spectacular, this trail is both demanding from a length and vertical change perspective. Also as you get close to the top, the trail does narrow considerably, and vegetation is knee high, making it difficult to spot rattlesnakes. On the positive side, going early does have a significant portion of the trail in shade.

hiking
Thu Mar 28 2019

Nice trail. Can be busy. Seems to be a lot of people with dogs

muddy
snow
Mon Feb 25 2019

hiking
Sun Dec 16 2018

one of the longest trails iv’e ever done. start early because it will take you all day and bring a lot of water/food. also i was the only one on the entire trail so i’d recommend hiking with someone in case anything happens. it was as peaceful as can be and extremely scenic. it sure is an extensive trail but the view at the end is totally worth it.

Tue Nov 20 2018

Rocky in some parts and tough climb at end but worth it.

Mon Oct 15 2018

My favorite McDowell trail - rugged but beautiful and very doable!

hiking
Sat Sep 22 2018

Loved this. I ended making it a loop (Gateway to Windgate to Tom’s Thumb to East End to Bell Pass to Gateway = ~15 miles); part of the reason I love this area is how customizable the trail options are. Started out early and most of the incline was in the shade, and hardly anyone was out and about. Highly recommend. Great views, interesting terrain, and very well-marked (with maps available too!).

running
Sun Sep 09 2018

One of the most beautiful and scenic trails in the McDowells. Includes a little bit of red rock, desert brush, granite rock, and washes with varying terrain. Get ready to greet a few deer and rattlesnakes on the way.

hiking
Sun Sep 02 2018

hiking
Mon Mar 19 2018

A really beautiful and challenging hike. I took a few detours but primarily followed the AllTrails map which was well marked. My favorite part was the final climb to Tom's Thumb which was steep making it a great workout. The views vary throughout the trail keeping it really interesting. I would definitely recommend taking a few liters of water or at least doing it during the cooler months.

hiking
Thu Mar 01 2018

Great views on the way up to Tom's Thumb, lots of loose rocks in areas of the trail so footing could get tricky for some

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