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Tom's Thumb TH to Gateway TH, AZ

no permit
253 9 0
Guide 9 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
3.8 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Shuttle 8.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,802 feet
Elevation Gain 1,700 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,400 feet
Avg Time Hiking 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.5
Interest Peak
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
22  2018-11-28
Hog Heaven Loop - McDowell Mountains
105  2017-04-01 Katzen4
59  2015-04-07
Marcus Landslide Trail - MSP
75  2015-02-16
Marcus Landslide Trail - MSP
3  2014-04-26
McDowell Meander
7  2014-03-14
Tom's Thumb Trail - MSP
4  2014-02-22 soren2004
Author soren2004
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 1
Photos 75
Trips 46 map ( 260 miles )
Age 39 Male Gender
Location Queen Creek, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Mar, Apr, Feb → 6 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn
Sun  6:10am - 6:34pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Trans-McDowell Hike
by soren2004

This is a shuttle hike from the Tom's Thumb Trailhead to the Thumb and then down into the Gateway Trailhead.

It's easier to hike down from Tom's Thumb than up from Gateway, but either direction works.

The first section up to "Tom's Thumb" is the most challenging part of the hike. Continue on the "Tom's Thumb Trailhead" until the first sign directs you off to the right (north) to the Thumb. After visiting the Thumb, backtrack to where the East End Trail intersects the Tom's Thumb Trail and heads south. The trail is (as of 2014) very well marked.

From there it is downhill until the trail crosses the Gateway Loop Trail. At this point turn to the west (right) and climb up to "Inspiration Point". This is the second major climb of the hike, but not nearly as tough as the Tom's Thumb initial ascent. Once past "Inspiration Point", it's mostly downhill to the Gateway Trailhead.

Water is not currently available at the Tom's Thumb Trailhead, but restrooms are open. Water and restrooms are currently open and available at Gateway.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2014-02-24 soren2004
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Tom's Thumb TH to Gateway TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Fan and I did a loop with the Gateway TH and the Tom's Thumb TH.

    We started at the Gateway TH and took:
    - Saguaro trail
    - Gateway Loop trail
    - Bell pass trail
    - Prospector trail
    - Dixia Mine trail
    - Pemberton trail

    Fan And took a break and split up for a bit. Fan would do a shorter loop by continuing down the Pemberton to the Rock Knob intersection.

    I did a longer loop by taking:
    - Pemberton trail
    - Granite trail
    - Delsie trail
    - County Park Connector
    - Saguaro Nest trail
    - Gooseneck trail
    - Rock Knob trail (meet up with Fan)
    - Marcus Trail
    - Tom's Thumb Trail
    - Windgate Pass Trail
    - Gateway Loop trail
    - Saguaro trail

    Things of interest
    - We saw a guy on a unicycle about 2 miles in. He only rode the unicycle on the smooth sections.
    - I saw a deer in one of canyons on the south side of the McDowell’s.

    It rained on us twice during the day.

    I like the new Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve trails. I'll be back to check out more of them.
    Tom's Thumb TH to Gateway TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    McDowell Meander
    The Weather that never happened cancelled the original plans, so it was time to play close by with multiple bailouts if it ever happened.

    Got rained on lightly 3 times, only once hard enough to put on the rain coat. The wind was relentless. At the end of the Lookout trail and the top of Thompson Peak you could barely stand. Finally got to hit a ridgeline off the prospector Trail that has always interested me. Took a break in the fold up lawnchair that is stashed up there.

    3 Videos if you are bored....

    The Lookout and Tom's Thumb area

    The Ogre's Den

    Thompson Peak
    Tom's Thumb TH to Gateway TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    First trans-mcdowell hike with Peter, Troy, and Don. Tom's Thumb TH was nearly empty at 7:30am and the trail was very quiet. Took about an hour to reach the thumb. The gateway side of the trail was very busy when we walked out at 12:30pm.

    Perfect hiking weather early in the morning. Wouldn't want to do this later in the afternoon.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    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 soren2004 on Feb 24 2014 8:12 am
    2+ mi range whistle
    blow it hard
    help comment issue

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