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Thumb Butte South Area Loop, AZ

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Guide 25 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Prescott W
3.1 of 5 by 7
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 9.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,694 feet
Elevation Gain 600 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,850 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 18.85
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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7  2019-04-20
Thumb Butte - Potts Creek to West Spruce
10  2018-07-07 ThirstyLizard
15  2017-05-06
Mt Francis - Williams Peak - Thumb Butte Loop
23  2017-05-06
Mt Francis - Williams Peak - Thumb Butte Loop
8  2014-05-26 gregrev
17  2014-05-23
Thumb Butte Trail #33
3  2010-06-30 MEWhiteman
13  2010-05-17 JimmyLyding
Page 1,  2
Author MEWhiteman
author avatar Guides 40
Routes 91
Photos 790
Trips 351 map ( 2,703 miles )
Age 75 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → Early
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:14am - 6:34pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
The rest of Thumb Butte area
by MEWhiteman

Likely In-Season!
While Thumb Butte is the main draw in this area, there are many other trails to explore south of Thumb Butte Road (TBR) and County Road 65. I had hiked the trails north of TBR earlier this summer and returned to the trailhead via trail #367 and noted the pines in this area had not been devastated as they were on the north side. My hiking buddy and I decided to try the south side trails and were happy we did. Using one of the forest service maps of the Thumb Butte area available next to the pay station at the trailhead, we planned a loop incorporating Thumb Butte and most of the trails on the south side. Our total distance was about 10 miles but because of the many trails and connections hikes of various lengths can be planned. I highly recommend having one of these maps with you when you explore this area. The main climbing is up Thumb Butte to begin and up trail #326 near the end. The majority of the hike other than the two climbs is over undulating terrain with partial shade in some areas. There are numerous views and the trees are generally healthy with the exception of a small area on trail #392 near its junction with #326.

We began by hiking up Thumb Butte on trail #33 keeping to the left at the beginning. This is the steeper way and gets you warmed up and breathing hard. Upon reaching the highest point on the trail (N34 32.747 W112 31.248) a spur trail to the summit goes off to the left. Continue on trail #33 to the viewpoint spur (N34 32.662 W112 31.245) and hike the short distance to the viewpoint. Back on trail #33 continue on to the junction with trail #314 (N34 32.560 W112 31.457) and turn left onto #314. Follow this trail to a T intersection with trail #326 (N34 32.427 W112 31.832). Turn left here onto #326 and follow a short distance to the junction with trail #323 (N34 32.307 W112 31.827). Turn left onto #323 and follow until it ends at trail #321 (N34 32.159 W112 31.438) Turn right here onto #321. This is a nice single track trail along and through a ravine. Trail #321 ends at a T intersection with trail #327 (N34 31.686 W112 31.688). This trail was not signed. Turn right onto trail #327 which is really a forest road. This section proved to be the most confusing. At N34 31.653 W112 31.835 trail #322 goes off to the right along with a road. Viewing the map trail #322 connects to trail #392 at #326. The road is shown to connect into #326 south of the #392/#322 junction. Here you can take either of the aforementioned routes to shorten your hike. We chose to stay on trail #327. As you hike on #327 you will pass two roads coming in from the left. There are also two roads going off to the right after you pass the trail #322 junction. These two roads are at N34 31.481 W112 32.222 and N34 31.589 W112 32.383 and dead end after a short distance. We were fooled by both of them, thinking they were the next turn. The real turn was the third road to the right after passing trail #322. It is at N34 31.618 W112 32.451, 1.2 miles from turning onto trail #327 from #321. It was unsigned. If you look back the way you came at this intersection there is a trail sign for #51. The FS map shows this as trail #326 but really appears to be a continuation of the road that turned off #327 along with trail #322. There were several campsites in this area. Turn right on this road and follow it to a signed junction with trail #326 (N34 31.860 W112 32.156) and turn left onto #326. Follow #326 to the junction with trails #392 and #322 (N34 32.069 W112 31.934) and turn left onto #392. This section gives back much of the elevation gained climbing the Butte. Trail #392 is part of the Prescott Circle Trail. Follow #392 for about 1.4 miles to its junction with trail #367 (N34 32.817 W112 32.073). Turn right here onto #367 and follow to the junction with trail #326 (N34 33.005 W112 31.548). From here you can go straight on #326 back to the parking. Or you can do as we did which was to turn right onto trail #326 and climb back up the hill for about .9 miles to the junction with trail #314 (N34 32.429 W112 31.832). This should look familiar as you passed through here in the other direction a couple of hours earlier. Turn left onto #314 and follow to the junction with trail #33 (N34 32.560 W112 31.457). Turn left onto trail #33 and follow it back to the trailhead.

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2009-08-06 MEWhiteman
    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 Butte South Area Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Mt Francis - Williams Peak - Thumb Butte Loop
    Aspen Creek #48 2nd Fav!
    The hike started out with a babbling creek and towering happy pines. A mile out-n-back on this would suit 94%. We only hiked 1.5 miles of the 6 mi before heading off trail. It appears pines are with you for the top 3 miles of this gem.

    Mt Francis Area
    My legs are still screamin' tender from Gun Creek mafia style beatings so I wasn't thrilled about any offtrail. I put my health aside and tried to lighten up. We both got lucky, it was pretty easy to the towers around 7,100 ft. Great views. Didn't hit the official peak a smidgen higher.

    West Spruce #264, Williams Peak
    Roughly a 2.4 mi walk to West Spruce. Passed a couple dozen Whiskey Row Marathon runners. Most were crawling with running arm gestures. All were friendly and returned hellos!

    We only hiked a little of West Spruce before following a fading road to Williams Peak just over 7,000 ft. Bruce had a final offtrail piece that didn't look good so he changed the loop a bit to accomodate my well being. If I've said it once I've said it a million times, nice guy!

    Thumb Butte bypass #326
    We followed FR373 about 2.4 mi then 0.25 mi on FR51 to the end of Thumb Butte bypass #326 nary a crowd has seen. Most loops in the South Butte Area would include this trail in part or whole. If you do not require bells-n-whistles like peaks, creeks nor a destination this is mighty fine tall pine hiking.

    Garden Grove #392 1st Fav!
    We hiked this top to bottom. Views of Granite Mountain are majestic. Meadowish in the middle with I'm guessing a seasonal creek that is a tributary to Miller Creek. Sold!

    Interestingly I hiked this downhill seven years ago with @JimmyLyding and sorta met an idol
    The day before I hiked with johnr1 to Miller Peak
    The previous day was my first outta town hike with The_Eagle
    Days earlier I hiked with Groth, SuperstitionGuy and the world famous AndreyP

    Miller Creek #367
    According to FS stelprd3811790.pdf we did not hike this trail. It's up for debate. Bruce included it. He claimed a peak last week we didn't summit either. I'm only correct 4% of the of the time and might have a 10% shot at this one so pardon the gloat.

    Thumb Butte Trail #33 3rd Fav!
    Wow my first hike on this iconic crowd pleaser. It has a 1960's National Park quality feel.

    Potts Creek #327 & Cold Springs #393
    Great perkless tall pine stolling.

    It was nice to hike the mythical lure of dancing pines on a cool spring day most seek.
    Thumb Butte South Area Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Mt Francis - Williams Peak - Thumb Butte Loop
    After last weeks hike/injures, Joe asked me to put together Something "On Trail" and "No Water".

    I drew up the Scottsdale Green Belt, he complained "Too Much Water".
    So back to the drawing board.

    I picked an area in Prescott, West and South of Thumb Butte and put together some choices.

    There are tons of trails up here, most in the pines, most on friendly grades and well marked trails. Real Trails.

    After making our way through the detours associated with the now in progress Whiskey Row Marathon, we started at the Aspen Creek Trailhead.

    Aspen Creek #48
    What a gem in the pines. We were only on it for 1.6 miles before starting our only off trail section. I want to hit the rest of this trail sometime.

    Climb to Mt. Francis Area
    .4 mile and 300' AEG off trail to get to an old Forrest Road climbing to the towers around the Mt Francis area. At 7100+ there are great 360 views.

    Sierra Prieta Overlook, West Spruce #264, Williams Peak
    FR373 took us over to the overlook. We passed scattered runners from the marathon. Great views of Copper Basin and Skull Valley. [ youtube video ]
    Next an easy out and back up Williams Peak to take in the views.

    Thumb Butte
    Thumb Butte bypass #326, Garden Grove #392, Miller Creek #367 are all nice hiking trails taking us to the Thumb Butte area. Thumb Butte #33 climbs steeply to the saddle to the West of the Butte.

    The remaining trails wind in and out of pines, juniper, oaks and creeks on gentle grades, back to where we parked.
    Potts Creek #327 and Cold Springs #393 were the highlight of the remaining trails we traveled.

    This hike, was almost the identical mileage to what we did last week, but took about half the time... and that was with 2 long breaks. This is the hike that was needed this week.

    I was able to hike all new trails for me and only made Joe suffer on one short off trail section. Minimal whining too!

    There are plenty of looping opportunities out here.
    Thumb Butte South Area Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    There's like five Thumb Butte hike descriptions on Haz, most of which describe various connector trails. Despite that, there are even more trails -- numbered and otherwise -- out there than are listed here. I am not entirely sure what numbers we were on. Even after I post my route, it won't reveal numbers as MyTopo is mostly dashed line free.

    Anyway, prescottstyle and I started off from somewhere west of the Prescott Shopping Center on Gurley St. We took a trail past several holes of the abadoned Troon golf course. And prescottstyle -- who knows an amazing amount of Prescott gossip -- filled me on who owned it, how they went broke, etc. He also knows plane models, minerals, trees, animals. Blows my mind! :)

    So, we wandered up to Thumb Butte itself, but the summit is closed until July 15 due to peregrine falcon nesting. (Which, if I was Hindu, would be what I would choose to reincarenate as.) No big deal, great views of the Prescott area were had, including several peaks I plan on hiking this summer: Tritle, Maverick, Union, Davis, etc. We may even do Little and big Granite, as the anniversary of that fire is only about three weeks away. Lots of beetle damage could be seen west of town.

    Prescottsyle had some beer which he shared, and at 6.0% I could actually feel the effect for about 10 minutes. :?

    First four miles flew by, which is rare, and we eventually ended up finishing exactly at noon. AEG was barely noticeable.

    Lots of cars heading north on 17, and *lots* of cops along 69 and 17 as well. Just on the south bound lanes, I saw five DPS between Cordes Junction and Deer Valley Rd. Guess they are getting an early start on this weekend's quota of drunks ...


    Video: ... autoplay=1
    Thumb Butte South Area Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Took this same posted trip around the Thumb Butte area... I did finish this lengthy hike up with the ever so popular "Trail 33." This gave me about another 1.8 miles for the day... Wonderful Hike, super weather, good work-out! :wlift:
    Thumb Butte South Area Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Begin hike at about 12:15 PM. :FG:
    Started out again on trails 316,317,318. Although, at the top of 318 discovered a new trail that I have never ventured out on before... This is a "social" trail which is called by the locals as "The Fireplace Trail." This trail follows 318, but deeper into the wooded area. It is much more scenic than 318 itself and I would say about 1.5 to 2 miles longer. It meets at the same place 318 ends.... After this trek, headed off to 392... Then, off onto 326 to the bottom of the butte and back to parking lot.
    Very good hike. Fantastic weather!!! Very pretty day. No complaints here. Going to hit this same route again sometime this week. Lucy Loved it too:0)
    Thumb Butte South Area Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    This was an awesome day hike!! Beautiful weather and fantastic scenery. This entire hike included trails on the North side too. 316,317,318. Then crossing the main road it was off onto trail 392. Took this trail till hitting trail 326 (left), this lead me back down to the main parking lot. After these trails were completed... Topped off the day with number 33. :lol:
    Thumb Butte South Area Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Jim and I wandered around the maze of trails SW of Thumb Butte. We had planned on Sierra Prieta, however the road wasn't car friendly due to creek flow. Nice area if you are looking for easy rolling trails that appear to be designed for easy mountain biking. Always nice to learn a new area.

    Permit $$

    Prescott Forest
    Prescott National Forest Pass

    Only trailheads with six "amenities" have fees. Amenities are picnic tables, trash, toilet, parking, interpretive signing and security.

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Prescott, take Gurley Street west through town. Gurley Street will eventually turn into Thumb Butte Road. About 3 miles from this point you will reach the picnic and parking area on your right. Total distance is about 5 miles from town. There is a $5.00 day use fee (8/2009) except for Wednesdays, which are free.
    page created by MEWhiteman on Aug 06 2009 1:08 pm
    3 pack - loud whistle
    safety first
    help comment issue

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