East End Trail - MSP, AZ | HikeArizona
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  This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Preferred" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

East End Trail - MSP, AZ

Guide 171 Triplogs  2 Topics
  3.4 of 5 
no permit
314 171 2
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1.38 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,580 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,047 feet
Avg Time One Way 0.5-1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 4.87
 Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Ruins & Historic
 Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
8  2022-12-06
Windgate-Thumb-East End-Bell Loop
9  2022-11-04
Dixie Mine Crazy 8 Loop
6  2022-10-09
Tom Thumb Coachwhip loop
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McDowell's Hike
36  2022-02-18
Tom's Thumb Eastern Loop
7  2022-02-16
Dixie Mine Super Loop
9  2022-01-25
Tom's Thumb Loop off Windgate Pass Trail
9  2021-12-23
Hog Heaven Loop - McDowell Mountains
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 13
author avatar Guides 8
Routes 16
Photos 183
Trips 144 map ( 677 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Paradise Valley/Sedona
Associated Areas
list map done
Phoenix Region
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
Expand Map
Preferred Feb, Mar, Jan, Dec → 7 AM
Seasons   Early Winter to Late Winter
Sun  7:27am - 5:53pm
Official Route
61 Alternative

Descent from chaos into serenity
by neilends

  Likely In-Season!
This trail features excellent views and a fun scramble along a steep (14% grade) and narrow trail. Heading south will take you away from the crowded Tom Thumb Trail, as the crowds are more interested in Tom's Thumb than in exploring the rest of the Preserve. And, it features an ol' miner's camp stocked with an old oil stove, mining tools, and other miner stuff, called the Ogre's Den.

Ogre's Den
This is worth a sub-heading to emphasize this unique highlight of the area. But I'll leave any detailed descriptions of what exactly this is and where exactly it's located to the reader's efforts (or searches on the HAZ forum, hint hint.) There is a logbook in the den. Good luck.

The East End is a north-south trail that can be reached via Tom's Thumb Trail on the north, or the Windmill Trail on the south. If you choose its shortest access point, from the north, you will be starting at an elevation of about 3,600 feet, walking right past the Tom's Thumb spur, and quickly making your way downhill. Some care should be exercised on this trail due to its grade, and a minimal amount of loose rock.

Although it's obvious that the Tom's Thumb area is normally saturated with hikers and even high-fitness runners when the weather's nice, the crowd rapidly disappears as you make your way down. I did encounter a handful of curious gawkers who had decided to aimlessly keep walking in the same direction, without a plan and obviously without maps. But on realizing that a vast network of trails was ahead of them plus a big downhill that would have to be reversed, they stopped, mumbled to each other that "there was nothing much to see out there" (all the better for me that they erroneously think so), and returned home. Within minutes, then, I was in complete and total solitude and hopefully, you will be too.

The views straight ahead as you slowly make your way down a series of easy switchbacks are scrumptious. You're looking at large, mysterious boulders alongside the hill you are descending while gaping into the heart of the McDowell-Sonoran Preserve. Directly ahead of you is a small canyon that will soon serve as your general route. As you hike your way around a narrow curve (not precarious), Thompson Peak with its radio towers will come into view, along with the trails leading up to and around its summit.

Once the route begins to flatten and you start walking alongside the small canyon you'd spotted from above, the trail will soon come to an end upon meeting the Windmill Trail. The elevation at this point is about 2,600. From here, you can choose to turn left (east) on the Windmill and start hiking into the McDowell Mountain Regional Park, the officially-marked boundary of which is about a one-mile, flat stroll away. Or you can turn right (west) and begin hiking on the Windgate Pass Trail to Windgate Pass (elevation 3,031), and beyond.

The downhill hike for East End Trail is not terribly strenuous, being downhill. If you are hiking it uphill/northbound, ample water for desert hiking is a must during warm weather.

Not allowed in the MSP.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2014-08-20 neilends
  • 2018 Southern Region
    area related
    2018 Southern Region
  • 2018 Gateway
    area related
    2018 Gateway
  • 2018 Tom's Thumb
    area related
    2018 Tom's Thumb

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

 Permit $$

Connector trail - Not Applicable

To Tom's Thumb Trailhead
1) 101 (Pima Freeway) to Frank Lloyd Wright
2) East on Frank Lloyd Right to N Thompson Peak Parkway
3) North on Thompson Peak Parkway to McDowell Sonoran Preserve Gateway Trailhead to drop off first vehicle
4) Then North on Thompson Peak Parkway to Pima Rd
5) North on Pima Rd to Happy Valley Rd
6) East on Happy Valley Rd until it turns north and changes to 116th st.
7) East on Ranch Gate Rd to 128th St
8) South on 128th to Park Entrance

From Exit 36 of AZ-101 Loop North, head northeast on North Pima Rd 4.7 miles to East Happy Valley Road. Turn right onto East Happy Valley Road and drive 4.3 miles to Ranch Gate Road. Turn right onto Ranch Gate Road and travel 1.3 miles and then turn right onto North 128th Street. After 1.0 mile on North 128th Street, you'll be at the trailhead gate. No water at the trailhead! Bathrooms are non-flush.

If you just pop in the coordinates of the trailhead, it's very possible that your GPS unit will tell you to wrong turn from Happy Valley Road onto Alameda Road at ( 33.706667, -111.832396 ). Don't do it! Those GPS units don't know that there's a locked gate at (33.694441, -111.813335).

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 34.8 mi, 55 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 135 mi, 2 hours 24 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 149 mi, 2 hours 37 mins
page created by trekkin_gecko on Aug 20 2014 9:13 pm

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