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Thumb Peak - Castle Dome Mountains, AZ

no permit
21 3 0
Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Southwest > Yuma NE
3.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,158 feet
Elevation Gain 1,240 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,246 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.33
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
11  2018-03-28 Jim_H
10  2015-12-12 chumley
Author chumley
author avatar Guides 74
Routes 667
Photos 13,162
Trips 1,416 map ( 10,534 miles )
Age 46 Male Gender
Location Tempe, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Kofa National Wildlife Refuge USFWS
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:20am - 6:43pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Thumb your nose at the big eye
by chumley

This is the second-highest peak in the Castle Dome Mountains and offers excellent views across the entire range, as well as distant views across the entire Kofa NWR and much of southwest Arizona.

Getting to the hike likely takes longer than the hike itself. Check drive directions for details.

To gain this peak, begin at the end of the road near the Big Eye Mine deep in the Kofa Wilderness. Follow the wash upstream about 100 yards as it turns to the right. Turn left and climb out of the main wash on the small ridge above the wash that enters from the left. For the first half mile or so it is easier to hike on the ridge above the drainage as the footing is flat and the vegetation well-spaced. At the .4 mile mark you approach the main drainage coming down from the mountain above. Stay to the left along a narrow knife ridge and continue up the main drainage to about the .75 mile mark.

You may find more success staying out of the drainage, but the side-hill footing can get annoying. Dropping into the drainage is a more direct fall-line climb, but features more brush and occasional catclaw. Pick your poison.

After about 3/4 mile and climbing about 600 feet you will turn sharply to the left and climb a very steep slope directly to a notch in the ridge. The very imposing cliff face below the summit will be on your left. There is a small spire on the ridge and you should aim for the obvious notch to the left of it. This section climbs 500 feet over a quarter mile.

Once on the ridge, cross over to the east side and traverse along the slope to the northeast corner of the peak where you can scramble the final 100 feet to the summit. There is a short 10-foot climb that some may consider to be an easy class-4. Exposure is minimal and if you've made it this far the climb should be no problem for you. Once on the summit, enjoy the views, sign the register, and head back the way you came.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2015-12-14 chumley
    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
    Thumb Peak - Castle Dome Mountains
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    My plan was to drive to hike Thumb Peak this day and Castle Dome after on Thursday. I figured I could make the trailhead as I watched parts of a youtube video of the drive which seemed to show the road to be decent enough for my Outback. It took me 75 minutes to drive that 10 miles, and I was getting sick of the road. When got to the 10 miles in "technical" section, I got out to examine the road. Maybe I could get down safely, maybe not, but up and out was what I was really concerned with, also, a short section in the lower part of the gully was concerning, too. I could have road walked if it was a great hike, but it was already late enough in the day that walking for 2(?)+ hours to complete the last 5 miles of road would have prevented me from completing the hike and then setting up camp. It wasn't worth it.

    I will say that I am still interested in this hike, even if I took it off my wish list. So, if you read this and are planning a trip with a sufficient vehicle to access it, and you want me to join you, I would be interested. I'm sure there with be a lot of takers.

    So, with Thumb out of the question for me, I decided to head for my main event, a repeat of Castle Dome. Castle Dome was actually what got me to want to drive out here, as I love that hike, the summit, and the views. It always feels much higher than it is, and the last few hundred feet are a lot of fun. Well, I didn't get any further than the Museum, as the road which was always gated at both ends, is now pad-locked and closed to the public. It wasn't in December, per another hiker I met, but it is now, and there are signs showing this at the KOFA entry kiosk. Too bad.

    There is an alternative, but that takes a lot of time, and is reported to be very rough. Lacking options and short on time, I opted to head to Signal Peak, and enjoyed a repeat of that hike.
    Thumb Peak - Castle Dome Mountains
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    After the long 15-mile drive around the southwest corner of the Kofa NWR into the heart of the southern Castle Domes, we set up to reach the summit of Thumb Peak. I had only a print out of some beta I had found online somewhere, and it was pretty good, except we headed out of the wash and up toward the peak too soon leaving us with a bit of a traverse at the base of the cliffs before climbing the correct hillside up to the ridge. There was a 12 foot climb below the peak that Dave said was class 4. Maybe. But simple and not exposed so pretty easy.

    A nice rugged peak with good views over the southern Castle Domes. The register had all the usual suspects, but not many more. It appears that one or two annual visits is all it gets.

    Fun way to grab a few more miles and another peak in the Kofa Wilderness. Thanks to Bob and Dave for being good sports about the whole thing! A pleasure to have you both along for the ride :)

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    Travel on US 95 from Yuma 30 miles north or from Quartzsite 50 miles south to the signed Castle Dome Mine Road (The first two miles are paved and the remainder is well-graded gravel). Proceed 8.5 miles from US95 to an unsigned road that veers off to the right. Reset your odometer and follow this road as it snakes in a predominantly southward heading, passing private property around the 3 mile mark at the Colorado Mine, before turning east around 6 miles. The road crosses many sandy washes and travel is slow but steady. At 9.75 miles the road enters a narrow canyon which offers a short technical section that experienced drivers may accomplish in 2wd, but most should not attempt to pass here without 4wd. At the 10 mile mark, the road enters a wash before exiting a half mile later. At the 12.5 mile mark, the road enters the Big Eye Wash where it meanders until the road ends at the Big Eye Mine at the 15 mile mark. This road is surrounded by the Kofa Wilderness and all old side roads are marked closed. Staying on route is not difficult. Driving time from turning off Castle Dome Mine Road will be a minimum of 1 hour.
    page created by chumley on Dec 14 2015 10:43 am
    3 pack - loud whistle
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