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Boulder Trail - MMRP, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
2.8 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Distance One Way 1.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,281 feet
Accumulated Gain 265 feet
Avg Time One Way 0.5 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 1.98
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
10  2019-03-16
Granite Trail - MMRP
16  2019-02-15
Marcus-Boulder-Coachwhip-Windmill-EE-TT - MSP
13  2019-02-08
Wash Day plus Marcus Landslide - MMRP/MSP
13  2019-01-25
Lost Wall Loop Plus
7  2019-01-12
Toms Thumb Marcus Landslide Loop
9  2018-12-07
Lost Wall Loop - extended version - MSP/MMRP
14  2018-11-09
Hog Heaven Extended Loop
15  2018-08-31
Marcus-Boulder-Coachwhip-EE-TT - MSP/MMRP
Page 1,  2,  3
Author neilends
author avatar Guides 8
Routes 16
Photos 182
Trips 140 map ( 670 miles )
Age 47 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Jan → 7 AM
Seasons   Early Winter to Late Winter
Sun  6:14am - 6:25pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Overview: Short connector trail between the Marcus Landslide and the rest of the McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

Hike: This is a relatively flat and easy stroll from the Marcus Landslide into the interior of the MMRP. There is official signage marking its end points as of this writing. If you're heading east from the Landslide, you'll eventually connect with the Pemberton Trail, where you'll have to decide whether to head north or south. Views to the east are sweeping and of the Superstition Mountains including clear views of the Four Peaks and Weaver's Needle. You can also see Mt. Ord. Views to the west are of the McDowell Mountains and East End Peak in particular, in addition to the landslide. This network of trails in general is more popular with mountain bikers than with hikers, which you'll understand once you see how flat the terrain is. The route is fairly easy to follow. If you attempt this in warm weather, bring sufficient water for desert hiking.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2014-08-17 neilends
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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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Boulder Trail - MMRP
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Tom's Thumb-Marcus Landslide area loop
Linda and Marlee joined me for a nearly 11 mile loop in the McDowells.

Starting at Tom's Thumb Trailhead, we hiked up Tom's Thumb Trail, went down East End, continued east one Windmill and then Coachwhip, turned left onto Pemberton, and left again on Boulder. When we hit the Marcus Landslide Trail, we turned left to do the interpretive loop before heading back to the trailhead.

We saw a number of other trail users on Tom's Thumb and Marcus Landslide, but not many on the other trails.

No snakes today, but we did see a number of bunnies. We also saw a deer as we were starting out.
Boulder Trail - MMRP
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Hog Heaven Loop plus a walk in the park
On Friday, Jan 19, I led a group of seven (counting myself) on a hike of the Hog Heaven Loop in the McDowells. Starting at the Tom's Thumb Trailhead, we hiked a very short ways on Tom's Thumb Trail, turned left onto Mesquite Canyon, and then left again on Feldspar. We then turned onto the climber's access trail that goes through Mesquite Canyon. We followed this to and then past Hog Heaven and continued up to the Thumbnail Pinnacle. We continued on along the ridge leading to the East End (peak); several of us summitted there. We returned to the Tom's Thumb Trail via yet another climber's access trail.

When we got back to the parking area, after saying our goodbyes, I headed out on Marcus Landslide, turned left onto Boulder, left onto Pemberton, and left onto Rock Knob. I then hiked Marcus Landslide until I got to the side trail leading to the prominent mushroom boulders near the Sven Slab climbing area. The trail continues on - sort of. I ended up hiking past the Energizer / Hawk boulder that I used to climb in my younger days. I followed the Sven Slab climber's access trail back to Marcus Landslide, turned left onto Feldspar, and then left again onto Tom's Thumb where I hiked up a short ways in order to reach my distance goal for the day.

It was a great day - the highlight of the day was the Hog Heaven Loop. It's a really fun loop with awesome views along the way. Route finding went really well too - but, of course, I've done it a bunch of times.
Boulder Trail - MMRP
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Marcus Landslide Clover Loop
My Monday hike got cancelled so I texted Kathy to see if she was up to anything. Yep, "Karl has to run. We were going to go to the 128th street Toms Thumb Trailhead. He was going to run and I was going to do Toms Thumb-Windgate-Coachwhip-Marcus Landslide Loop. Then...drum roll...Tacos and Tequila!" Well she got me with the Tacos and Tequila. Altho I revised the loop since we had to meet Karl at the end and I didn't know if I could get 'er done in time.

After taking the dirt road 128th St from Dynamite to the TH, we met Scott from Tucson. It was definitely cool and I kept my vest on the whole time. We headed out to the Marcus Landslide Trail which I think is a pretty trail. You get to see cool big boulders and of course the landslide, Submarine Rocks, the fountain and in the distance the Superstitions and Four Peaks. It was an overcast day and there was also a haze above the river.

We hooked up with the Boulder Trail to take us over to the Pemberton Trail. We did encounter a few bike riders on these two trails but very few hikers. Next up was the Rock Knob Trail and it was a beauty. You go through a cholla forest and reach an old pay station. We enjoyed the views in this area all around. From there we hooked up with the Caballo Trail (.4 mile) which I had planned as an out and back but as it turned out, it takes you up to the Tom's Thumb TH so we took that route.

We took a quick restroom break and continued up the Tom's Thumb Trail looking for what my route called the East End Trail (not the one on the south side) that becomes Mesquite Canyon Trail but it is actually called Feldspar Trail. Of course there was much more traffic on Tom's Thumb Trail but once we turned off on to Feldspar, we were back on our own again. Feldspar was a pretty trail too with nice views to your right and ahead. We did encounter an REI class instructor as they would be having a class today. There are several climbing route access points from this trail. I always enjoy the Sven Slabs area. It just looks like it would be fun to climb up there.

We were about back at the TH when Karl called to ask where we were and when we looked toward the parking area we could see him. So it was good timing. Karl had left the lights on in his vehicle so Tonto gave it a jump and then we were off for "Tacos and Tequila" :D ! at Juan Jaime's. We sat out in the sun as we experienced very little of that this morning on our hike.

[ youtube video ]

Boulder Trail - MMRP
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Toms Thumb Marcus Landslide Loop
Linda, Linda, Susan, and Ben joined me for a 9.5 / 10.75 mile loop (with nearly 2200 feet of total ascent) starting from Tom's Thumb Trailhead. We hiked up Tom's Thumb Trail, down East End, turned left on Windmill, left on Pemberton, left on Boulder, and then right on Marcus Landslide. When we got to the intersection with Feldspar, Linda K joined me for a short scouting trip for my rappelling session on Saturday. The rest returned to the trailhead via Marcus Landslide.

Linda K and I continued up Feldspar and then turned left onto the climber's access trail which leads to the Morrell's Wall Parking Lot crags. My wife and I used to climb in this area way back when and I recalled that bees were occasionally a problem on the scramble down from the top. (There are a number of two or three bolt anchors at the top of "7 Up" and "Back To the Wall" now, but back then they didn't exist, so the descent was to scramble down.) For Saturday, my plan was for us to scramble to the top and rappel down. I was concerned that Africanized bees might be a problem for the scramble to the top. In any case, I scrambled up to where I remember seeing bees, but found none. (Yay!)

After satisfying myself that bees wouldn't bother us on Saturday, Linda and I returned to Feldspar, and then hiked a short way back down Tom's Thumb Trail to the parking lot.

The morning was cool and cloudy with some light rain that started midway through the hike. It rained just enough to bring out the desert smells that rain brings.
Boulder Trail - MMRP
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Heather and I hiked a ten mile loop starting from Tom's Thumb Trailhead. Starting on Tom's Thumb Trail, we took the first climber's access trail to the right. This trail led us to the ridge upon which Tom's Thumb is situated. We continued past Tom's Thumb to Tom's Thumb Trail, turned left and descended (mostly) to the intersection with the East End Trail. We took East End down to Windmill, the returned via Coachwhip, Pemberton, Boulder, and Marcus Landslide.

The climber's access trail which we hiked early on (which forms a significant part of the so called "Lost Wall Loop") is steep and loose in spots, but I found it much easier to follow than in the past where I would often get lost for a while by inadvertently following a wrong path. Either I'm getting better at it or some work has been done on this trail to make it somewhat easier to follow. That said, you still need to look carefully.

On my past two times out on this climber's access trail that goes near the Lost Wall, I went the other direction, descending the trail. It's definitely easier from a technical standpoint to go up rather than down. As mentioned above, the trail is very loose and it's easier to deal with the loose conditions when ascending.

We saw a tarantula midway up the climber's access trail. It was near a hole in the ground which was probably its home.

Later on, after we had gained the ridge, we saw a Sonoran Coral Snake. It was pencil thin and perhaps two feet in length. It wasn't interested in staying near us. I did get a few pictures, but they're not as good as I would have liked.

When we got to the intersection with the East End Trail, we spoke to a Preserve steward who clearly thought we were nuts to do the route that I had planned. He didn't try to talk us out of it, but he did ask Heather whether she had ever done this route before. (I told him that Heather had done longer and harder hikes with me in the past.)

A short while later, while we were hiking down the East End Trail, we encountered a very fit trail runner named Anika (not sure about the spelling). She had a 17 mile run planned for the day. What really surprised me was that she was able to accomplish it with just a small water bottle tucked into the waistband of her running shorts. I've seen her on at least two other occasions - she's very fit.

It started getting warm when we got to the Pemberton Trail in McDowell Mountain Regional Park. As we approached the Boulder Trail, I polished off the first (of two) 3L water reservoir that I had brought with me. I think I drank about 4L total for the day.

Heather hadn't hiked the Marcus Landslide Trail before, so we paused at a several shady spots along the way and looked at the rock formations. There are a number of interesting mushroom boulders along the way. Plus, the entire area is studded with boulders almost anywhere you look.
Boulder Trail - MMRP
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For Friday's hike, I did a loop starting from the Tom's Thumb Trailhead: Up Tom's Thumb, down East End, then continuing around on Windmill, Coachwhip, Pemberton, Boulder, Marcus Landslide, and Feldspar, with a short section of Tom's Thumb (again) to finish up.

My friend Linda accompanied me on the hike up Tom's Thumb. It was good to see her again after her (continuing) recovery from her knee injury.

We noticed several new signs to overlooks on the Tom's Thumb Trail. We also noticed that the recently added gabions seem to be working well to allow drainage without erosion.

I've been experimenting with wearing long sleeve shirts to help stay cool. The one I wore seems hot at first, but became quite comfortable once I started sweating.

The weather is still warm with temps between the low 80s when I started to the mid- to upper-90s when I finished. I drank at least 4L of water on the hike.
Boulder Trail - MMRP
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Toms Thumb Marcus Landslide Loop
This was an ambitious desert hike for mid-August, for me. It was a success but not without challenges. My route was Tom's Thumb, East End, Windmill, slightly aimless wandering by accident for just a bit and back to Windmill, Coachwhip, Pemberton, a trail that didn't show up in my research but that followed the GPS track that was marked by the county as "Boulder Trail," and on to Marcus Landslide for the final stretch. (Note: I've confirmed that Boulder Trail exists on the official MMRP map but not here on HAZ. I just added it to HAZ. To complete the loop, then, you hike north on Pemberton but then turn left at Boulder Trail, which takes you to Marcus landslide.)

I started at 5:30am. I brought 4 liters of water in two 3L and 1L hydration packs. I finished the 3L with only 2 miles to go and thought I wouldn't need to switch the packs out. And I was wrong. I started feeling just a tad icky after about a mile, and decided to find shade, sit down, switch the hydration packs, drink up, and splatter water all over my head to cool down. That did the trick and I got a strong second wind to comfortably push me to the end, by which time it was 10:30. But I shudder at the thought that I even debated whether to bring the extra 1 liter. Most of this hike was sun-exposed. I'd slathered on gobs of sun screen, and enjoyed my wide-brimmed hiking hat (but am thinking I'd like something a bit less floppy in the future.)

The hike up to the Thumb spur was fantastic, despite kicking my fanny. The climb was very crowded, which I noted for a future hike to the actual Thumb (goal: show up earlier than everyone else so I can have it almost to myself for a few minutes). East End and onward was totally peaceful though. 3-4 friendly mountain bikers passed me but I met no other hikers.

I will say that Coachwhip and Pemberton were kind of disappointing. They're flat and the trail is super smooth, without a lot of features. The views of the Supes are nice while walking along, I guess. But mainly these stretches just impressed upon me that I should try mountain biking the McDowell Regional Park some day. Those bikers were having a lot more fun than I was.

The interpretive signs by the Landslide were fun to read and a nice reward for the distance I'd just covered. I feel great having finished this loop, much less in August, and I also like that I hiked into the county regional park for the first time. But I probably won't duplicate this exact loop in future. For this desired distance, I'd be better off hiking from Thumb TH to Gateway TH, all within the MSP.

Some milestones:

- Longest hike I've completed in 18 years.
- First time in northern portion of MSP, and in MMRP.
- Second straight 50-mile hiking month in my life.
- Most miles hiked in one month, lifetime

Permit $$
Maricopa Regional Parks - Fees more info

$7 per vehicle,$85 annual or trade your first born for the life pass

$2 walk, bike or horse ride into park

Map Drive
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 neilends on Aug 16 2014 10:37 pm
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