Face in the Rocks Along Tom’s Thumb Trail, McDowell Mountains
Tom’s Thumb Trail, on the north side of the McDowell Mountains, is dotted with curious rock formations, especially this particular boulder bearing a striking resemblance to one of Snow White’s seven dwarfs.
Could this be Tom? The figure appears near one of the final bends leading to the summit (aka Tom’s Thumb). What do you think?
Tom’s Thumb Trail, Facts at a Glance
Want to see it for yourself? Tom’s Thumb Trail is ideal for hikers seeking a bit of a challenge. The trail kicks off with a series of steep, somewhat slippery switchbacks. It levels off among classic Sonoran Preserve beauty – granite boulders, numerous cacti species and lots of lizards that liven up the neatly manicured trail. Views of Scottsdale’s urban sprawl are visible at the peak.
This route was revamped in early 2009. Prior to that, the trail was pretty primitive and known mainly to rock climbers who repelled down the area’s steep facades. Here’s what you need to know if you go:
- Trail Length: 4.25 miles roundtrip
- Elevation Gain: 800 feet
- Difficulty: Moderately strenuous
- North access: From the Loop 101, take the Pima Road/Princess exit and head north to Dynamite. Turn right. Head east to 128th Street and turn right again. Continue south about 3.25 miles along the dirt road. Follow signs to temporary trailhead parking.
Tom’s Thumb Trailhead is about to get a major facelift. This fall, construction is slated for a new parking and recreation area. According the City of Scottsdale website, the trailhead will include parking for at least 120 passenger vehicles (additional phases could bring the total up to 300 spaces), parking for 10 horse trailers, hitching rails, bike racks, restrooms and ramadas. Get more construction info.
Update! Tom’s Thumb trailhead renovation complete: http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/2012/10/15/20121015celebrations-mark-toms-thumb-trailhead-opening.html