Tom's Thumb Via North Side Loop Trail

MODERATE 36 reviews
#18 of 68 trails in

Tom's Thumb Via North Side Loop Trail is a 3.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Scottsdale, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 3.9 miles Elevation Gain: 1,236 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Tom's Thumb is the prominent granite bump in the McDowell Mountain preserve. Easily visible from the Scottsdale area, Tom's Thumb Trail from the north side provides some great views of Phoenix as well as looking out toward Four Peaks and Weavers Needle. The trail is very well manicured and is a great hike except for some steep elevation gains.

4 months ago

great hike. loved all the flowers. a little tougher than I thought it would be, one of my kids doesnt like to hike so she complained about the climb up. it is not a loop trail though, need to turn around once you get to the thumb.

4 months ago

A wonderful way to spend a March weekend. Flowers in bloom and scenic views for miles. If your in shape a healthy walk if not, just go slow. A few tight passes but the real work is the first 1.5 miles with steeper inclines and switchbacks as you climb. Worth the effort!

hiking
off trail
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Probably the BEST hike I’ve taken in Arizona, and I’ve done quite a few in this region and Sedona. The weather was perfect today and the flowers in bloom made it extra impressive. The elevation gain was challenging, but not daunting. The path was clearly marked and not as rocky as most other hikes in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Views were unbelievably beautiful, mystical, and majestic!

hiking
4 months ago

Today was the first day it was open after last week’s snow (Yes, you read that right! Apparently 7 inches at the bottom and 18 at the top.) This map shows as a loop - but the steward turned us around at Tom’s Thumb as the other side is not maintained. It took us just over 2 hours there and back. Amazing views and gorgeous flowers.

hiking
5 months ago

Well maintained trail of mostly decomposed granite. Relatively smooth and one of my favorite running trails. Tough uphill but the rewards are great and a pretty short trail. Scrambling over the boulders is fun but easy to lose your way. That was the original trail I did back in the 90s and as many times as I did it, sometimes I still slip off trail.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful hike, STAY ON WELL MARKED TRAIL, there is no formal loop. The right (north) side of this ‘loop’ is just a climbing access trail. It is NOT MARKED, and is a hand over hand scramble. If you stick to the well marked trails you will be fine.

8 months ago

This is actually an out and back hike. You are required to stay on the trails within the Preserve and the trail only takes you out and back. The views on the return are still stunning and new, despite being along the same trail.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike, starts w a heavy dose of ascension with great views all along the way. We also did the Lookout 0.5 mile trail and that offered great views of the McDowell mountains and the valley.

hiking
11 months ago

Good hike with lovely views both up and down the mountain. Be sure to keep going, because, at the top, the first large rock outcropping you approach is not Tom's Thumb. You'll need to walk around that to get to Tom's Thumb. I hiked this trail on one of Phoenix's first over 80-degree days, thus got lucky to see a Diamondback on trail. It made the hike that much more meaningful. This trail is well maintained, wide enough to accommodate people passing each other.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Once we reached Tom's Thumb we could not find the trail around the backside, not marked at all. Had to return the same way we came up.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Nice trail for family. Be careful to stay on the loop, and not go on East End extension.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The first half of the trail up to Tom’s Thumb had high elevation gains and was fairly steep and intense. Behind the thumb and down the other side was not marked and very difficult and involved climbing over many rocks with very steep down grades. The GPS was great to use and worked well. It was really neat but should be considered difficult as often times I had to use my hands and sit on my butt to get down.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Great hike..trail is a bit hard to find and navigate on the backside of Toms thumb- but it is totally worth it!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Quite difficult on the return as you move pass Tom’s Thumb. Hard to find the trail at times but you will very likely be by yourself on this second half of the loop. Many people on the first half who basically go to thumb and then return back the same way. Some beautiful views along the way.

hiking
Saturday, November 11, 2017

Toms Thumb is a moderate to difficult trail in the McDowell Preserve. Though it is a bit of a hike (no pun intended) to get out there it is well worth the drive. Once you arrive at the shared trail head you will find ample parking and no-flush restroom facilities. The hike itself is absolutley beautiful and offers rare unimpeded views of beautiful desert landscapes from within the city limits. The first mile or so does include switch-backs of various difficulty so boots are recommended but 3+ liters of water is mandatory. The terrain flattens out, eventually winding down into a small gulley and then back up to the actual Thumb. To get to the Thumb itself you must follow a relatively primitive but very obvious "Climbing Access Trail" for about a quarter if a mile. I highly reccommend this added bit to see the thumb up close. On cool winter days one can often sit and watch trad climbers scale the 60ft summit block.

hiking
Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Nice hike up to the top and back. Many, many different wildflowers were in full bloom. Beautiful views from the top. I would rate the hike as difficult!

hiking
Sunday, April 16, 2017

Great morning challenge!! Lots of up and down! Trail gets a little hard to follow near the top because so many people have walk off the trail. They do have volunteers at the top and bottom and even in between to ask questions! Lovely scenery and huge rocks! There is a breeding pair of Prairie Falcons up at the top please be respectful of their space!

hiking
Sunday, February 12, 2017

This is a good, but rough, hike. Completely worth it, but get ready to work for the reward. It starts out flat, but then you quickly start to ascend to the top. A series of switch-backs and uphill steps that don't really let up until you get to the top. But once you get there it suddenly seems worth it. The views are stunning, and the natural formation of the rocks is amazing. We did the hike mid-week and only saw about 15 people the whole hike. The parking lot is big and there are large restrooms at the information center. Be sure to bring plenty of water!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Tough incline, never lets up until close to the top. Heavily traveled so early is better, view form the top is well worth it. Once you get to the top many don't know but there is a small hole where rocks have fallen, crawl inside and you will pop out on a cliff with an amazing view and have sitting room for two to three, i

Thursday, January 05, 2017

fun ramble. good views from the top.

hiking
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Starts easy but u are sure in for a climb. Thank you to the Dc boys that helped me on the way back.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A good strong ascent to the top of a very recognizable landmark in the Phoenix valley.

hiking
Tuesday, February 06, 2018

hiking
Sunday, January 07, 2018

hiking
Sunday, December 24, 2017

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Load More

Featured Trails