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McDowells - Construction of Tom's Thumb Trailhead

Submitted by ErikF on 2011-10-17

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by Erik Filsinger

Update Ė Construction of Permanent Tomís Thumb Trailhead

The City of Scottsdale is beginning construction of the permanent Tomís Thumb Trailhead. The permanent Tomís Thumb Trail Head will be located southeast of the intersection of 128th Street and the Preserve boundary, and will be accessed via 128th Street. From now on the preferred access from the intersection of Pima and Happy Valley Road will be to take Happy Valley east to where it turns north and becomes 118th street. Turn east on Ranch Gate Road then south on 128th street. This route has been improved to the boundary of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The old access route through Troon will be gated and closed to public traffic prior to completion of the new Trailhead.

You will see increasing construction activity through out the winter climbing season. During the construction process, continue southbound on 128th Street to the T-intersection with El Paraiso and turn left/east and follow signage to the current Temporary parking areas near Sven Slab and underneath Morrellís Wall. The City is willing to allow temporary access to the trail systems in the area as long as the hiker/biker/climber/horse rider activity does not interfere with Construction. Please respect this effort by the City to attempt to avoid closure during the entire construction process, which will continue through early summer of 2012. Inevitably there could be some short term closures due to construction needs, so please follow any official signage. We will also attempt to get the word out when we know sufficient information.

The Preserve is owned by the City of Scottsdale and its primary purpose is to keep the natural habitat and geology in its native state. All usage is governed by the City of Scottsdale code and will be enforced. Once in the Preserve, please remember to follow all of the City of Scottsdale rules and regulations for the Preserve as indicated on the signage. These rules include no camping or overnight stays, opening at sunrise and closing at sunset, etc. Stay on the designated main trails, and only access crags on the official climber trails, most of which are marked by signage along the Tomís Thumb Trail. Under no circumstances use the old access to Tomís Thumb that enters near the house SE of 128th and El Paraiso. (This signage was obtained by a grant the AMC received from the Access Fund and was installed by AMC and local climbers.)

Please remember that the City has been very good to climbers and is allowing us to continue to climb on all of the historic crags (albeit with new access). Your behavior can ensure that climbing can continue. Please respect the partnership we have formed with the City.

If you have any questions, please direct them to Erik Filsinger, Climber Liaison to City Staff, at or Scott Hamilton, Preserve Planner, at

Thank you.

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