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Give it a crank
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to ride Tom's Thumb Trail in the McDowell's this weekend. Is it mostly rideable or mostly unrideable? I'm likely to try it anyway, not afraid of hike-a-bike.
 

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Ahhh the pain....
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Yes, good, bad and ugly...it offers all of that. Plenty of switchbacks(some very tight). Terrain at the top is very cool. Descent down East end is good...can be ugly if a mistake is made. Leave early and take lots of water...if you descend down EE and come back up either wingate or bell, you'll have plenty of sun beating on you.
 

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Not trying to hijack your post but I had a TT question. I live very close to trailhead and have only hiked never riden the trail. When we hiked last time we parked in the main lot and took the 'main' trail to the right side of parking lot when looking towards or south and the McDowells. I saw some mtn. bikiers the were parked at a different trail a few hundered yards before the main parking lot. This trial was to the left looking south. Is this a different trail? I did not look to meet up with the the main TT trail. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Which is best for biking? The main trail looks awesome once you are on top of ridge but looks like a lot of hike a bike to get up there.
 

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parenting for gnarness
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mtn-rider - if you have ridden some of the McDs climbs and have a basis for comparison, you should be able to figure out if this is for you. Otherwise, i would seriously urge you to wait for fall. TT takes about 50% longer than Windgate, and about 2x Sunrise (west to east on all of them). The back side is pretty remote and gets very toasty, its also a tricky XC descent. Its takes me 2.5 round trip from the Bashas to do TT-Bell - I'm about average speed. There is no water, and no shade once you are about 1 hr into the ride.

other dude - http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/Assets/Public+Website/trails/trails+images/Preserve+Trails+Overview.pdf
 

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Give it a crank
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, TT and DP are the 2 trails I haven't done in the McD's yet. One ride linking up both trails could be a good ride. I've done Bell Pass from the west and wished I had a super-granny gear, but didn't mind hiking the last 300+ feet of altitude. TT goes up higher and can only be worse (a.k.a. nicer scenery.) I use a second 100 oz. camelback on rides like that, it's heavy but it keeps the wheels rolling. The descent on EE trail has to be nasty, it's marked as being 1.5 miles and shows on the map as about the same distance of 0.9 miles to WP.
 

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parenting for gnarness
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Mtn-Rider said:
Thanks, TT and DP are the 2 trails I haven't done in the McD's yet. One ride linking up both trails could be a good ride. I've done Bell Pass from the west and wished I had a super-granny gear, but didn't mind hiking the last 300+ feet of altitude. TT goes up higher and can only be worse (a.k.a. nicer scenery.) I use a second 100 oz. camelback on rides like that, it's heavy but it keeps the wheels rolling. The descent on EE trail has to be nasty, it's marked as being 1.5 miles and shows on the map as about the same distance of 0.9 miles to WP.
the descent is tough but all gettable. its not gnarly, but very steep and very tight switchbacks, with dust-on-crust now for sure.
 

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My other ride is your mom
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I noticed today on my ride that with the higher humidity, the dust is down....in some spots, it felt like it just rained last night..... weird.
 

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chollaball said:
mtn-rider - if you have ridden some of the McDs climbs and have a basis for comparison, you should be able to figure out if this is for you. Otherwise, i would seriously urge you to wait for fall. TT takes about 50% longer than Windgate, and about 2x Sunrise (west to east on all of them). The back side is pretty remote and gets very toasty, its also a tricky XC descent. Its takes me 2.5 round trip from the Bashas to do TT-Bell - I'm about average speed. There is no water, and no shade once you are about 1 hr into the ride.

other dude - http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/Assets/Public+Website/trails/trails+images/Preserve+Trails+Overview.pdf
Thanks but the map does not show what I'm referrring to. I guess I did not do a good job of explaining myself. There are several 'side trails' not on the map.
 

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Give it a crank
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I looked at the color park map with the trail elevation profiles on the back, TT is certainly a long climb up the west side and very steep coming down. Still, it looks like the kind of challenge I have to go for.

Which main trail and main parking lot is truble911 talking about? "To the left looking south" is called east on this planet. I have no idea what you're talking about, hard to tell where too.
 

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Mtn-Rider said:
I looked at the color park map with the trail elevation profiles on the back, TT is certainly a long climb up the west side and very steep coming down. Still, it looks like the kind of challenge I have to go for.

Which main trail and main parking lot is truble911 talking about? "To the left looking south" is called east on this planet. I have no idea what you're talking about, hard to tell where too.
this may help or hinder but when i rode the trail with Joey we took the west side of the mountain. there is a building with a 3d map under glass that shows the trails...Tom's thumb is rated as a difficult hike from that side so that is kinda what you get for riding...loose a good portion up then a killer set of switchbacks...good place to practice the tight ones and they are steep as everyone has said. Totally worth it from either side i would say. The climb is not impossible but definitely tough climbing. :thumbsup:
 

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Which main trail and main parking lot is truble911 talking about? "To the left looking south" is called east on this planet. I have no idea what you're talking about, hard to tell where too.[/QUOTE]

I've done a poor job of explaining myself. When you pull into the TT parking area to your right is the main trailhead...well marked. Just before the main parking area is another trail to the left. I saw some mtn. bikers here last time I hiked TT.

My questions is - what is the trail to the left? Does it hook up with the main TT trail system? Is it an easier climb?
 

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Ahhh the pain....
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I'm assuming you're talking about the TT parking area that is accessed on the north side, from 128th street... if that's the one you're speaking of, the trail to the right it the main trail as you said. The one to the left does not hook up with the main trail although I think it goes around the east side of the mtn. Bottom line, is that the main trail from there, although not as long and as much elevation as the trail up the west side, it's steep and pretty much kitty litter (decomposed granite over hardpan).
 

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Raybum said:
I'm assuming you're talking about the TT parking area that is accessed on the north side, from 128th street... if that's the one you're speaking of, the trail to the right it the main trail as you said. The one to the left does not hook up with the main trail although I think it goes around the east side of the mtn. Bottom line, is that the main trail from there, although not as long and as much elevation as the trail up the west side, it's steep and pretty much kitty litter (decomposed granite over hardpan).
You answered my question. Thanks so much!!
 

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I like to ride up Bell from the west side, go north to and up East Trail some riding (20 min hike a bike) then down Toms Thumb and out Windgate. Very nice loop with lots of fun down hill 2.5 to 3 hrs. Be safe.
 

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Give it a crank
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've done a poor job of explaining myself. When you pull into the TT parking area to your right is the main trailhead...well marked. Just before the main parking area is another trail to the left. I saw some mtn. bikers here last time I hiked TT.

My questions is - what is the trail to the left? Does it hook up with the main TT trail system? Is it an easier climb?
There's a map from Global Bikes that has the trails on both sides of the McDowell's, including the one you're asking about, looks like it's called Rock Knob. Here's the web version of their map:

link: https://www.globalbikesbikeshop.com/Mcdowells.jpg
 

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Trail Monger
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fire said:
I like to ride up Bell from the west side, go north to and up East Trail some riding (20 min hike a bike) then down Toms Thumb and out Windgate. Very nice loop with lots of fun down hill 2.5 to 3 hrs. Be safe.
It's more than that I believe. It takes an hour just to push your bike up east end. I wondered which trail would be best to go down: East End or Toms Thumb. I chose TT. Wait for fall weather though. Brian
 
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