Everything you need to know about hiking Tom’s Thumb with kids
We hiked the 4 mile out and back trail to Tom’s Thumb in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve with three kids and survived to tell the tale – or at least give you all the tips to do it too!
We started here at the trailhead where they have restrooms, maps, but no water! Address to trailhead: 23015 N 128th St, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
I will say this hike is a steep climb! Tom’s Thumb is an elevation climb of 1,236 ft. and takes 2 miles to get to the top. For reference, South Mountain was a slight incline – didn’t feel steep at all with an incline of 918 ft., the popular Wind cave in Usery Pass is 770 ft., and Camelback is 2,664 ft. Tom’s Thumb has been one of the harder hikes we have done with kids; however, I would rate it easier than The Wave Cave. I’m hoping this gives you a little insight into where this hike fits in from easy to hard – especially when you have toddlers and young kids.
The Wildflowers are amazing right now! I had no idea there was so much beauty in the desert during the spring. It is making me plan ahead for next year and catch more hikes full of these blooms. There isn’t a whole lot of shade on this trail, but as you get about 2/3 of the way up, there are tons of boulders and fun rocks for the kids to jump around.
The entire hike from start to finish took us 3 hours. If you follow along on instagram stories, I shared how cool Tom’s Thumb is once you get to it. There are small slots through the rocks to climb through with amazing views of the valley below you seeing all the way to 4 peaks and Red Mountain in Mesa.
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We hope you are able to get out and explore around the area! Remember to tag us in your photos #phxfamily