With over 300 days of sunshine in Scottsdale, visitors from all over the world flock to our doorstep eager to explore the great outdoors, even during the warmest months of the year. Hiking along trails, mountain biking along the same trails, rejoicing in all the fun they can have under the warmth of the Arizona sun. And even as Scottsdale is a modern and cosmopolitan city, the wilds of the desert lie just on the edges of town, and when you want to explore it a little deeper, Tom’s Thumb Trailhead offers the gateway to do so! We at I Love Scottsdale make it our job to show our guests all aspects of Scottsdale life, celebrating the west in every way and today, we are going to take you on a tour of the desert, starting with this unique trailhead and ensuring that even as you spend every night in the comfort of our homes, your daylight hours will be filled with fun and adventure!
Located at 23015 N 128th Street in Scottsdale
Tom’s Thumb trail is named after the rock outcropping that looms over the trailhead that serves as a gateway into the beauty of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The trailhead is where your best hikes will get their start, offering access to some of the desert’s most unique landmarks. As you begin your journey, however, we will take a few minutes to explore the amenities of this trailhead, including restrooms, trailer parking, interpretive signs, and a shaded ramada that will be most appreciated during the warmer days. What Tom’s Thumb Trailhead doesn’t offer, unfortunately, is access to water, and as any desert dweller will tell you, water is the most precious resource we have in the desert, so be sure to carry plenty of your own for your desert adventures. The trailhead is open from sunrise to sunset, so be sure to study the trails and how long they will take to complete, to ensure that you have plenty of time to return to your I Love Scottsdale vacation escape before gates close!
A Beautiful Day
Now that we have explored all the beginning of your journey into the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, it is time to branch out and discover all the things you will encounter during your hike. Trails you can access from this spot includes Tom’s Thumb Trail and the Windmill Trail. Tom’s Thumb is known as a challenging hike, continuing into the desert for just over 4 miles and taking approximately 2.5 hours to complete, while the Windmill Trail is an easier hike, lasting just over a mile. The Mesquite Canyon Trail is another popular trail accessed from the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead, providing an easy stroll and a very small gain in elevation, making it perfect for children or people who prefer to take walks as opposed to actually hiking! As the sun shines down on your hiking, or mountain biking, journey, the trail you take may lead you past some unique landmarks, including the Windgate Overlook and Gardener’s Wall. Sven Slab is a popular rock climbing spot, created by carving a trail through the granite with a Sven saw, which is, not surprisingly, how this spot earned its name. Sven Slab is the second most popular rock climbing spot in the area, with Pinnacle Peak being the first, making it a must climb for adventurers from all over the world.
The Marcus Landslide Trail
The story of the Marcus Landslide Trail deserves its own title, offering a historical importance to your day that started at the Tom’s Thumb trailhead. The landslide itself occurred over 500,000 years ago, when a part of the McDowell Mountains suddenly collapsed with the energy of a nuclear bomb that had not yet been invented, causing an avalanche of rocks to be cast out over the landscape for about a mile. Today, the Marcus Landslide Trail is a peaceful spot, meandering along the base of the mountains and providing an intimate look into the natural desert landscape. Here you will find the deceptively cuddly looking teddy bear cholla, a cactus that you should steer clear of, while supersized boulders will be covered with lichen. The trail isn’t that long, but it does offer an elevation gain of nearly 600 feet and stretches out for almost 4 miles. Interpretive signs tell the story of that long-ago collapse, giving hikers a history lesson in the middle of the Arizona desert!
Best Explored from October Through April
Summers can be brutal, and the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead and its subsequent trails and landmarks are best explored from October through April. Our I Love Scottsdale properties, however, are perfect any time of the year and will provide the ideal spots in which to relax and recuperate from all your outdoor Scottsdale adventures. Contact us and reserve your favorite today!