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Rock Knob Trail - MSP / MMRP, AZ

no permit
132 32 0
Guide 32 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
3.3 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,682 feet
Accumulated Gain 5 feet
Avg Time One Way 0.5 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 1.12
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
8  2019-03-20
Gooseneck Trail - MSPC
7  2019-03-17
Marcus Landslide Trail - MSP
10  2019-03-16
Granite Trail - MMRP
6  2019-03-03
Gooseneck Trail - MSPC
24  2019-02-12
Pemberton Trail - MMRP
13  2019-02-08
Wash Day plus Marcus Landslide - MMRP/MSP
11  2019-01-18
McDowell Meander
9  2018-11-16
Wagner-Delsie-Gooseneck-Rock Knob-Bluff - MMRP
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author Crzy4AZ
author avatar Guides 31
Routes 96
Photos 2,577
Trips 583 map ( 2,087 miles )
Age 46 Female Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Feb, Nov, Jan
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:50am - 7:03pm
Route Scout App
Official Route
9 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Photogenic granite outcrop
by Crzy4AZ

This trail segment is split between the McDowell Sonoran Preserve (0.5 miles) and the McDowell Mountain Regional Park (0.6 miles) and is a picturesque short trail that allows scenic loops between the two multi-use areas.

The GPS route and this description will start from the closer access point in the MSP (McDowell Sonoran Preserve). From Tom's Thumb Trailhead (23015 N 128th Street) where there is equestrian parking and regular parking but no water, you take Marcus Landslide trail 0.4 miles to junction with Rock Knob trail.

The 0.5 miles of Rock Knob trail that are in MSP are lined with thick chain-fruit cholla and have a winding view of the beautiful Rock Knob granite outcrop. Sunrise and sunset cast spectacular light on Rock Knob formation and will get you many "likes" on social media posts of your pics. At 0.2 miles you intersect with Gooseneck Trail which links you to miles of Central and Northern trails all the way north to Granite Mountain.

At 0.3 miles you will see ranching artifacts under an old mesquite tree. You cross into the McDowell Mountain Regional Park (MMRP) at 0.5 miles and there are paths for approved rock climbing routes. In some older rock climbing documents and books, the Rock Knob area is referred to as "Knob Hill" but the adopted MSP Rock Climbing Plan in 2011 made the official name change to Rock Knob.

If you want to read the official rock climbing guidelines for the MSP approved in 2011 - read here.

Continue on Rock Knob trail within MMRP to the intersection with Pemberton Trail. You can connect to backside of Windgate Pass by taking Pemberton to Coachwhip to Windmill Trail. Or you could take Pemberton Trail to Boulder Trail and make a little loop to Marcus Landslide trail. Many great options by foot, bike, or horse in this area.

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

2015-01-08 Crzy4AZ
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  • MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 2
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    MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 2
  • MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 3
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    MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 3
  • MSP - Approved Climbing Areas 2011
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    MSP - Approved Climbing Areas 2011
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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.

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 Crzy4AZ on Jan 08 2015 7:18 am
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