Tom’s Thumb Trail Hiking
High and unmistakable in the McDowell Mountain Preserve, you’ve probably seen Tom’s Thumb without realizing it many times with a glance to the north-east of Phoenix. This is another trail that has some steep terrain but worthwhile views to look forward to at the top.
A bit less than half of Tom Thumb’s 4.0 mile out and back length is devoted to its switchbacks. Take them easy as you make your ascent, but don’t get your hopes up when you think you see the top of the climb from below— this trail has a number of false ‘summits’ after all, though they make for good excuses to catch your breath before moving on. Once at the top, you’ll be in awe of the weirdly alien terrain full of giant boulders and splashed with wildflower colors. The rest of the walk is toward the Thumb itself, where you’ll find your reward in the gargantuan Tom’s Thumb, catching views of the rest of the McDowell Mountains stretching south, and a high survey of Phoenix.