On July 4, I woke up very early and drove to Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. I hiked the beginning of the Lost Wall Loop, passing the Tom’s Thumb pinnacle. When I (again) reached Tom’s Thumb Trail, I followed it west to the Scottsdale side of the mountain range. I returned by hiking up Windgate to the pass, then down Windgate, and down some more on Windmill. I then went up East End to arrive back at Tom’s Thumb Trail. Near the end of my descent of Tom’s Thumb Trail, I added on an extra mile by hiking Feldspar, Marcus Landslide, and Caballo. Total distance was 11.2 miles with about 3100 feet of total ascent.
Tag: McDowell Sonoran Preserve (page 1 of 9)
On Sunday, I hiked 11.3 miles in the McDowells. Starting from the parking area at the end of Golden Eagle Blvd, I hiked Dixie Mine to the road, up the road to Prospector, Prospector to Bell Pass, then up to the top of the pass, back down Bell Pass (the way I came) to the intersection with Prospector, continued on Bell Pass to intersection with Windmill and Windgate, Windgate to Coachwhip, Coachwhip to Dixie Mine, then back on Dixie Mine.
The temperature started out in the mid-seventies at around 6:00am and rose to the mid- to high-nighties when I got back around 10:30. So, fairly cool for this time of year.
Kathy, Tawana, Marilyn, Bob, Mike, and I did an eight mile hike starting from the parking area for the Dixie Mine Trail. We hiked out to the road, took a look at the tailings and then went back down to look in at the horizontal shaft. We also looked at the petroglyphs after which we made our way over to the Prospector Trail where we hiked to the lookout that’s midway up the trail.
Heading out on the Dixie Mine Trail:
Marilyn and Tawana:
Looking down the vertical mine shaft. There is something highly reflective (water?) at the bottom. You can see my head and the grating covering the hole in the reflection.
This is the gate preventing entry to the mine’s adit.
The nearby petroglyphs:
Bob, Marilyn, Kathy, Kevin, and Mike. (Thanks to Tawana for taking this photo.)
Some of the saguaro fruit have burst sort of making them look like red flowers.
For Friday’s hike, Kay and I hiked a combination of the Hog Heaven Loop and the Lost Wall Loop.
We started on the Marcus Landslide Trail and then turned right onto Feldspar. To the left are some low angle (third class) slabs which lead to the top of Sven Tower I. We summited there and then continued on the climber’s access trail leading past Sven Towers II and III. This soon joined the standard route for the Hog Heaven Loop. We hiked past Hog Heaven and the Thumbnail Pinnacle and then continued onto the East End (summit) where we also went to that summit.
Continuing on, we descended the climber’s access trail to Tom’s Thumb Trail. From there, we hiked over to (and then on) the oft used climber’s access trail going to Tom’s Thumb. We continued past Tom’s Thumb and then down past Lost Wall, Half & Half Wall and the Fort McDowell climbing areas. This eventually led us back to Tom’s Thumb Trail and then back to the parking lot.
Total distance was just over five miles with nearly 2300 feet of total ascent.
Sunrise from the parking lot:
Kay, ascending the granite slab adjacent to the Feldspar Trail:
Morrell’s Wall and Tom’s Thumb:
Three views of the Thumbnail Pinnacle:
Looking back along the ridge, on the left, that got us to this vantage point. On the right is Thompson Peak and some other lesser peaks in the McDowell Range. Of course, the East End, the highest point in the McDowells is not visible in this shot as it’s just behind us.
Kay atop the East End (Peak), the highest point in the McDowells.
Chuparosa; we saw this plant on the ridge northwest of Tom’s Thumb.
Linda, Sunaree, Gayle, John, Kay, and Ben joined me for a six and a half mile hike in the Tom’s Thumb area on Friday. Starting on the Tom’s Thumb Trail, we took the first climber’s access trail west to the ridge north of Tom’s Thumb. We followed this ridge past Tom’s Thumb to Tom’s Thumb Trail. It had been years since I last hiked the Lookout Trail, so we hiked to the end of the Lookout Trail where we could see the Windgate Pass Trail far below us. After hiking back on Lookout Trail, we hiked down Tom’s Thumb Trail, turned onto Feldspar, and then Marcus Landslide, returning via the Caballo Trail.
A small, but interesting pinnacle that we passed on the way up:
Gayle makes her way up the steep and sometimes loose trail:
Looking toward Scottsdale and a very hazy Phoenix:
A view of Tom’s Thumb from the ridge:
Linda, Sunaree, Kay, Ben, John, and Gayle:
A view of the west side of Tom’s Thumb:
Tom’s Thumb, again, but this time we’re seeing it from the Lookout Trail:
Heading back down Tom’s Thumb Trail:
This is one of the mushroom pinnacles near the Sven Slab area.
We hiked 11.6 miles on Friday, following a familiar lasso-loop: Dixie Mine, Coachwhip, Windmill, Bell Pass, Prospector, service road, and Dixie Mine. We also made two short side trips, one to visit a water catchment for wildlife, and the other to the mine and petroglyphs.
Early morning on the Dixie Mine Trail…
A view from the Coachwhip Trail:
There was an ample amount of water in the tank – kind of surprising since we haven’t gotten much recent rain.
When rain falls on the corrugated sheets, it runs downhill to the trough at the bottom. From there it flows through the pipe into the large covered holding tank shown in the earlier photo. That large tank then feeds the smaller tank from which wildlife can drink.
Saguaros on the bank of the wash on our way back to the Windmill Trail:
I was told that I stepped over this gopher snake on our hike through the wash:
A view from the Windmill Trail:
Gayle noticed this colorful rock on the Windmill Trail:
Gayle, Mike Heather, Linda, Marilyn, Marilyn, Nora, and Ben:
Saguaros on the Prospector Trail:
This is the main petroglyph panel:
Mona, Sara, Gayle, Heather, Sunaree, Randy, and I hiked the Hog Heaven Loop. Total distance was only about four and quarter miles, but we gained over 1600 feet of elevation along the way.
We encountered this view shortly after topping out at the saddle at the top of Mesquite Canyon. (I took photos of Mesquite Canyon, but it was mostly in the shade, so the photos weren’t especially compelling.)
We saw this small hook-shaped pinnacle a short while later:
Mona completes the hop boulder hop…
The group makes their way up to the base of Hog Heaven (which is out of view above Heather):
The rock wall behind the group is the main wall of the Hog Heaven climbing area:
Heather and Sara make their way up a section of granite while Gayle and Mona look on:
This is one of the scrambles between Hog Heaven and the Thumbnail Pinnacle. We’re definitely on the right route – note the cairn:
Heather, Sunaree, Gayle, Mona, Andy, and Sara posing by the Thumbnail Pinnacle:
Looking back down at the Thumbnail Pinnacle: from nearly every other vantage point, the hooked shape is clearly evident. But at this point it looks like a straight up and down spire.
This the part of the loop that I like the least. The section from where Randy is standing down to where Mona has made it is steep and loose. Thankfully, there’s a bush to stop you if you should slip. It’s probably easier if you slide down it on your butt, but I never do it that way.
We had some great views as we made our way along the southwest side of the ridge leading over to the East End (peak)…
Sara and Sunaree at the highest point in the McDowells. Sunaree is signing the summit register.
Descending the climber’s access Trail from the East End:
Glass Dome (left) and Tom’s Thumb:
Gardener’s Wall and Tom’s Thumb:
When the hike was done, I added on nearly seven more miles by hiking into McDowell Mountain Regional Park. If you look closely at the photo below, you can see the Thumbnail Pinnacle. It looks very small from here.
This is a view of Rock Knob from the Pemberton Trail:
Cheryl, Sunaree, Marilyn, Mike, and I did a 10.7 mile hike starting from the Dixie Mine Parking lot. We hiked Dixie Mine to the road, then went and took a look at the mine and the petroglyphs. We continued up the canyon, which eventually turns into just a wash until we got to the Prospector Trail. At that point, we turned right and followed the Prospector Trail up to it’s junction with the Bell Pass Trail. We then took Bell Pass, Windmill, and Coachwhip back to the Dixie Mine Trail for our return trip. Total distance was just under 10.7 miles with nearly 1500 feet of total ascent.
This is a view of one of the washes that crosses the Dixie Mine Trail, well before getting to the service road.
A view of the mine tailings. Our route went well below the tailings through the trees that can be seen in the wash.
This is one of several shallow holes near the mine. It goes in perhaps only eight feet and there is no vertical shaft. I suppose that the warning sign is posted in the not very likely event that it should collapse.
Although I took a picture of the main petroglyph panel which is near the mine entrance, I decided not to post it for this hike. (I’ve taken a lot of pictures of it.) These are some other petroglyphs which are further up the canyon on the way to the “waterfall”.
Another pair of glyphs:
This is a view from the top of the “waterfall”. (It’s not steep enough to be a true waterfall, but it is steep enough to be challenging to ascend when it’s wet.)
A triangle shaped slab can be found further up the canyon:
This is one of the views just before the canyon opens up, turning the route into a hike up a wash:
This is the view just after turning onto the Prospector Trail:
Cheryl, Sunaree, Marilyn, and Mike, hiking up the Prospector Trail:
More views from the Prospector Trail – this is a very scenic section:
Looking back towards where we had been hiking perhaps half an hour earlier. An old road can be seen along the hill at the left side of the photo. (We didn’t hike that road.) The trail comes up from below the right side of the hill and then continues up to the right. Not much of it is visible in this photo.
The remnants of the windmill for which the Windmill Trail is named can be seen in this photo:
A view of Four Peaks from the Coachwhip Trail:
Returning via the Dixie Mine Trail…