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Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH, AZ

no permit
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Guide 224 Triplogs  4 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
3.6 of 5 by 48
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 9.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,890 feet
Elevation Gain 1,900 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,250 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 - 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 20.75
Interest Peak
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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11  2019-03-29 Daytripper
6  2019-03-21 sam_hikes
12  2019-03-14
Thompson Peak via Adero Canyon
9  2019-02-24 BiFrost
6  2018-12-31 DixieFlyer
29  2018-12-11 RowdyandMe
6  2018-03-24 Nightstalker
7  2018-02-17 Tortoise_Hiker
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Author Ksorensen
author avatar Guides 8
Routes 0
Photos 0
Trips 9 map ( 73 miles )
Age 48 Female Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Nov, Feb, Mar → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:15am - 6:24pm
Official Route
19 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Beautiful and challenging
by Ksorensen

This once desolate patch of Sonoran desert is now a neighborhood. View the Official Route to the right.

From the trailhead, hike along the main road to the right through private property to the county park boundary, where you must pay a fee of $1 per person. ($2 as of 2011-11-25) Follow the trail to the Dixie mine, clearly marked. This part of the trail is relatively flat but affords fantastic views of Four Peaks and the Superstitions along its entire length. If you don't have time for the summit hike, the hike to the mine and back is lovely, easy, and enjoyable. This section of the trail would provide a good introduction to Sonoran landscape for relatives from out of town.

Once you reach the mine, follow the very large and obvious road to the left and straight up the mountain. The last two miles of this hike are extremely steep, as the road builders decided to charge directly up the mountain rather than bother with those wimpy switch-backs. This is about as steep a trail as I have ever been on...and I felt the burn!

Views from the top of Thompson Peak are of the entire Phoenix metro area (many golf courses down below in Scottsdale), south to the Catalinas, east to the Superstitions, and north to the Mazatzals. The best view is unfortunately of the cell-phone towers and related infrastructure that diminish the peak experience. The least Verizon could do is provide a picnic table or something. Remember to bring a walking stick because the hike back down the steep trail is hard on the knees. It is so steep that if you tumbled you'd probably keep rolling until you ended up in someone's front yard in Fountain Hills.

Return the way you came.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2003-02-08 Ksorensen
    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 of 26 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    McDowell Loop
    My go to area when I need a workout hike or am limited in time.
    Lots of loop opportunities from 5 to 30 miles and as much AEG as you can bite off.

    Perfect weather with plenty out enjoying the day. East of the ridgeline you rarely see another. I scrambled south off of the Thompson Peak Trail to meet up with the Quartz trail. On the Quartz trail I spooked 3 mule deer that never went more than 40' from me.
    Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    This was my first sampler of the MSP area, and I really liked what I saw! The McDowell's for me have always been "drive by scenery" on the Beeline. These mountains jet right out of the desert floor, and are quite photogenic from the perspective you get along the Dixie Mine Trail.

    This baby is steep at the end! These kinds of grades reminded me of climbing passes on the Colorado Trail. I may need to come back out here with a fully loaded backpack for some training.

    Saw 2 other people at the top when I got there, but they were leaving, so I had the peak to myself the rest of the time I was up there. Didn't see anyone else beyond Dixie Mine besides them, actually.

    Can't wait to explore more of MSP.
    Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    One last hike to round out the year. Took the family up to Flagstaff yesterday to play in the snow, figured that earned me a hike day. It has been three years since I did this one last, it is the only named MSP peak I have not gotten in this year. Hit the 104th trailhead about 7:15 to start my day before the sun was up. Didn't see much of the sun until I hit Bell Pass. Made my way in good time up and over. I took the cairned shortcut slownsteady mentioned, nice way to skip a bit of the road walk. Needed a few breaks getting up the tower road, just as steep as I remember it. There was a worked up top moving some heavy equipment around, he seemed none to happy to see me despite giving him a friendly hello...I got stuck behind him for a bit of the downhill as he maneuvered a skid steer down the really steep part of the road. Took one last break at Bell Pass again, then on back to the truck. Saw just a few folks in the morning, but quite a few on Bell Pass and Gateway on the way back. This makes 82 different peaks for 2015, surprised myself that I managed to get that many in without driving to every corner of the state. Happy New Year all!I
    Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Finally did it. Climbed Thompson Peak. After a year of procrastinating, and blowing off the winter months when I should have done this, the forecast called for a high of 75 today. It's like February in May. It was a sign from above. This was my last chance before summer, so I took it.

    Trixie the 18 pound puppy blew me away with her endurance. I think she was more concerned about me than vice versa. She could have done this hike 3 more times, I'm pretty sure. At least at my pace.

    Petroglyphs finally located. I'm not sure I found the most spectacular ones I've seen photos of.
    Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Please read this carefully if you intend to hike Dixie Mine Trail. It does not end at the mine or even at the Coachwhip junction like the descriptions say. It goes until the junction with Pemberton trail, and is clearly marked as Dixie Mine Trail the whole way. If you want only to see the mine, that's an easy little out-and-back, just make that your turnaround. If you continue on the trail as the sign suggests, that's great too but you'll add up to 8 miles onto your trip like I did. I'll explain further down. Thankfully all ended well, but having read Dixie Mine trip logs before I went made it seem that Dixie Mine was a loop and it is not.

    I started the hike at about 8:30 in the parking lot, through the gated community, and to the trailhead. I deposited my $2, studied the very general maps, and onto Dixie Mine Trail. I ran some, as I tend to do, and turned left at the 'T' onto Thompson Peak Trail. I was told that this was a steep one and they weren't kidding! This one is a burner with some rewarding views along the way. I had to take quite a few quick breathers on the way up but hit the peak at (Split 1: 4.7mi,1hr37min) into the hike. There's nothing to see at the top, and standing with all those towers isn't all that great so I started on back down.

    I was really surprised at how many people I saw hiking this peak, probably 10-15 people. The way back down was easy to run and I hit the T at Dixie Mine (Split 2: 2mi, 38:54). I continued to the Dixie Mine, went up briefly to check it out, then back down. Again, the Dixie Mine Trail goes both directions from here, and I went East rather than doubling back.

    Honestly, I thought the best parts of the trail were to come. The trail climbs a hill alongside the Jeep trail until it disappears. It plateaus and dips just a bit before it hits the junction with Coachwhip. Again, Dixie does not terminate there…it keeps going. This was my favorite part of the trail, as it goes slightly downhill for a LONG ways and has some great teddy bear cholla. It continues on an ascent until it leads to the termination at Pemberton Trail (Split 3: 3.6mi, 1:02:17). This area is quite remote, but a great achievement for desert lovers and masochists alike.

    From here, be sure you turn left to head West/Northwest on Pemberton. It was a very flat section mostly used by bikers and was less than a mile to the intersection with Coachwhip Trail (Split 4: 0.87 mi, 12:08).

    Coachwhip was tough for me, since I knew at this point that my 10 mile hike goal was going to be more like 17. I still enjoyed it and there were a lot of up-and-down sections along the way. I took a rest on the bench at Windmill Trail junction and then continued back toward the 'T' at Dixie Mine. (Split 5: 2.5mi, 39:01).

    I stumbled my way back down the hill meeting up with the Jeep trail, past Dixie Mine and turned left at the junction with Thompson Peak trail. On the return trip of the final Dixie Mine Trail leg, I finally ran out of water but knew that I was going to get back fine. I did hear what sounded like an ATV coming behind me, and it turned out to be a giant swarm of BEES. They went right over my head but continued right on past. (Split 6: 2.78mi, 46:28).

    I tracked the distance through the subdivision this time, and it was mostly uphill going back so I took some more breaks to avoid cramping. (Split 7: 0.57mi, 11:16) I was finally finished with this run, feeling very used up but also a major sense of accomplishment. Total was 17.13 miles at 5hrs8min.

    Bottom line: Be sure you know exactly where you're going, and bring your phone as always. Mine helped me track the real trails on satellite and that was a big help. Don't expect many people in the flats areas…I saw only 3 people in about 8 miles/2 hours on a beautiful weekend day. The wildflowers were gorgeous and the cactus/ocotillo were majestic as always!

    Lots of strawberry hedgehogs, brittle bush, and ocotillos all in bloom. It was a great time of year to see some color.
    Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
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    Thursday "date hike" with husband on my usual day off but he took this one off to enjoy Spring weather and flowers. Chose this loop to check out the petroglyphs and get view of the flowers in the basin area below East End trail.

    Lots and lots of brittle bush. Good number of hedge hog cactus in bloom. Some prickly pear blooms, few globemallow, rare poppies, rare lupine, rare marigolds. Scattered desert mariposa lily - bright orange so pretty.

    Petroglyphs are not hard to find - take first left into grassy area towards the tall cottonwoods.

    Had lunch sitting on the bench at intersection of Windmill and Coachwhip. Saw 5 humans in 5 hours!!! That's amazing and awesome. Weather was nice until the last hour when wind was gone and that direct sun was getting to me. Got home for shower and a short nap before picking up kids from school then ballet.

    see triplog and pics
    Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    While it's only been about 6 weeks of planning and hiking to complete all 133 miles in the McDowell Sonoron Preserve it was very gratifying for me. Wife Judy wanted to be with me when I completed this last hike and it was nice to be doing what we both love to do on Valentines day :budrose: so yesterday at the top I joined the ALL TRAILS CLUB :) for me this hike was a real grind as I was not going fast enough to drive my heart rate just kept going up and up. Looking down on the beautifull McDowells was awesome!

    No long hikes (big ditch, Glacier NP, Milford Track) in vacation plans this year so I'll have to come up with another challenge.
    Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
    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 from Dixie Mine TH
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    after making plans the last five sundays, found myself at loose ends this morning
    many options, but some indecision
    the potluck breakfast we had at work led to a nap, then finally got going late morning to work on my list of peaks
    dixie mine trail to the thompson peak road
    the last mile or so of that is plenty steep
    very hazy today with a stiff breeze which kept temps very comfortable
    spent just a few minutes on top then carefully descended
    saw a half dozen hikers on dixie mine finishing up as i started out, then one mountain biker on the way back
    no one on thompson peak
    still some pretty decent flowers, including my favorite globemallow, hedgehog and prickly pear, brittlebush and some other yellow ones
    Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Brad and I have four weekday hikes planned for the spring (with kids in school) and this is our first one of 2014. Haven't done this hike since before I we had kids six years ago. When we were at the top having lunch - we listed all the things that have changed since then (the good and the bad). Nice that at the end of the conversation we both love our lives as they are now.

    Made it to the top in 1 hour 47 minutes. My knees would be happy to never see the paved part of this "trail" ever again. It's a great view but would rather go up a nice switch-backed trail and still have my knees 10 years from now. Was nice to approach from Fountain Hills side instead of the extra AEG and ouch of coming up and over Bell Pass from Scottsdale side.

    Watched a service truck stall out on the way up to the cell towers, and we watched a helicopter land and then immediately take off again. Must have been doing some sort of practice. Saw one other hiker and two insane mountain bikers.

    Made it back home in time to very quickly shower before picking up kids and getting to ballet for Caroline.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Take Hwy 87-the Beeline- to Shea. Turn towards Fountain Hills. Go north on Saguaro to Palisades, then west to Golden Eagle. The Fountain Hills High School is on the corner of Golden Eagle and Palisades Blvds.

    2010-04-29 te-wa writes: From the high school intersection, go north about 3 miles to the terminus of Golden Eagle. There is a guard shack that prevents further travel, and a decent sized lot on the left for trailhead parking. follow the signs as they direct you to the Dixie Mine and Thompson Peak trails.
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