Create an account

Start your adventure today.


    Already a member? Login

    Tom’s Thumb via Gateway Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    18.0 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    801 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
    Be the first to add a review!
    Directions to Trailhead

    Tom’s Thumb via Gateway Trail is an alternative route to the top of Tom’s Thumb that’s longer and a bit more demanding than the traditional approach. This hike is just over 17.7 km long, but with views of Horseshoe Ridge, Drinkwater Peak, and East End Peak all close by, it’s a rewarding venture. Expect moderate to heavy traffic on this trail.

    Download the 10Adventures App

    View Tom’s Thumb via Gateway Trail on Map

    View Map

    Join our newsletter

    Get a weekly dose of discounts and inspiration for adventure lovers

    Route Description for Tom’s Thumb via Gateway Trail

    The Tom's Thumb via Gateway Trail is a route in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. This trail gets you to the top of Tom’s Thumb (which does, indeed, resemble a thumb) on a different approach than the traditional trail. This route is better suited to strong climbers who prefer a full-day hike. Expect a long trail with varied mountain views. This one isn’t kid-friendly.

    Since you’ll be out in the desert for several hours, make sure you bring lots of water, choose a cooler day for this hike, and consider leaving dogs at home unless you have water for them and the forecast isn’t too hot.

    From the trailhead, the first half of the hike is fairly relaxed and not as scenic, but things get more interesting as you go. Follow Gateway Loop as it heads between Horseshoe Ridge and Drinkwater Peak. The trail will start to gain elevation more aggressively shortly after you hike underneath Inspiration Viewpoint. Climb up through the saddle, the thumb in sight. You’ll enjoy a brief descent down to the thumb at the top of the hike. Take in the view and then retrace your steps.

    Getting to the Tom’s Thumb via Gateway Trail Trailhead

    The trailhead for Tom’s Thumb via Gateway Trail is off N Thompson Peak Parkway.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Tom’s Thumb via Gateway Trail Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

    Check Area Weather

    Tom’s Thumb via Gateway Trail Reviews

    Add a comment

    You must be logged in to post a comment.

    Nearby Trails

    Nearby Regions

    Get travel inspiration and discounts

    Join our weekly travel newsletter