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Thompson Peak Rd - MSP, AZ

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Guide 181 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
3 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 2.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,292 feet
Elevation Gain 1,690 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,708 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.25 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.99
Interest Peak
Backpack No
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12  2019-03-14
Thompson Peak via Adero Canyon
2  2019-03-14 DixieFlyer
9  2019-02-24
Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
6  2018-12-31
Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
29  2018-12-11
Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
6  2018-03-24
Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
7  2018-02-17
Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
9  2017-03-04
Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6
Author DixieFlyer
author avatar Guides 15
Routes 188
Photos 2,385
Trips 176 map ( 2,195 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Fountain Hills, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:10am - 6:34pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
by DixieFlyer

Thompson Peak Rd. doubles as a service road to the summit of Thompson Peak and a hiking trail to the summit. The trail connects the Dixie Mine Trail to the summit of Thompson Peak, the 3rd highest peak in the McDowell Mountains.

Thompson Peak is the most recognizable peak in the McDowell Mountains due to its height and to the communication antennae and towers atop the peak. Thompson Peak Rd. runs 2.3 miles from the Dixie Mine Trail to the Thompson Peak summit, gaining around 1,700' in elevation over that distance. The road is really, really steep in places, and some segments of the road are paved in order to enable service vehicles to get up to and down from the summit.

At some points the grade of the road is 35-40 degrees, making it a really tough (some would say brutal) ascent and descent. If you are training for Cactus to Clouds, Rim-to-Rim, or another similar hike, or if you simply want a good workout, hiking this road/trail is a good choice.

Hiking this road is best in cooler weather. There is lots of sun exposure, and if you hike it in hot weather you'd best be in good shape and have plenty of water.

One other piece of advice: make sure your shoes are tightly tied for the descent!

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.

2019-03-14 DixieFlyer
  • MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 1
    area related
    MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 1
  • MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 2
    area related
    MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 2
  • MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 3
    area related
    MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 3
  • MSP - Approved Climbing Areas 2011
    area related
    MSP - Approved Climbing Areas 2011
  • overview map
    area related

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
Thompson Peak Rd - MSP
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
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
Thompson Peak Rd - MSP
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Gateway Big Loop Trail - McDowells
This is for those wanting something more than the standard Gateway Loop trail provides.

This hike started at the Gateway Center, taking the Gateway Loop trail counter-clockwise to the Paradise Trail. The Paradise trail ended being a much nice trail than I'd expected. On the map, I saw the track going through neighborhoods, but actually you don't see allot of them, and it ends up being a nice "stretcher" of a hike, for what is to come later. From Paradise to the Quartz trail until it ended, and then the .8 mile bushwhack up the hill to the saddle at N33 38.423 W111 48.189, to meet up with the Thompson peak trail. This section was a bit dicey in spots and was slow going due to the loose rocks and 3 stops to remove Cholla from my ankles.

Once on the Thompson Peak trail it was a steep slog to the top. When you start getting close to the top, this without a doubt is the steepest concrete I have ever been on. I kept wondering how in the heck they even poured it. Now it was quite windy today, and I had problems keeping my hat on at times, but once I got to the top...... it was cold and it was a gale force! I took a quick video and some shots and retreated down a ways to find some protection from the wind and eat some lunch.

Down to the bottom of Thompson Peak trail and off on the Prospector trail. I really like the east side of the McDowell's, the trails are in great shape and you feel like you are miles from the city. Next, I met up with the Bell Pass trail and took that over to Windgate Pass, and down to meet up with the Gateway loop trail and back to Gateway Center to finish things up.

I was really surprised today that with the cooler temperatures I didn't see more people out there today. Once I was off the Gateway Loop trail proper, and until I got back on the Gateway Loop trail proper I only saw one person all day. (and he was driving down the Thompson Peak trail from the towers. That's basically 6 hours with seeing nobody.

Loved the cool weather...

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
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
The closest trailhead to the Thompson Peak Rd. is the Golden Eagle Trailhead in Fountain Hills. The address is 14425 E Golden Eagle Blvd, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

To get to the Trailhead, from Shea Blvd. in Fountain Hills take Palisades Blvd north for 3 miles. Turn left at Golden Eagle Blvd. and go another 3 miles to a Guard Station; trailhead parking will be on the left just before the station.

You will have to walk 0.6 miles through the Eagle's Nest Community to get to the Dixie Mine Trailhead. The trailhead is the entrance to the McDowell Mountain Regional Park(MMRP). Pay a $2 per person fee and go on the Dixie Mine Trail for about 2 miles until you come to a "T" junction. At the junction the Dixie Mine Trail continues to the right, and Thompson Peak Rd. will start if you take a left. Follow the road for 2.3 miles to the top of Thompson Peak.
page created by DixieFlyer on Mar 14 2019 5:59 pm
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