The iconic, natural landmark of Prescott, Thumb Butte hosts a short trail (#33). It’s quick and pleasant and a great way to start your day while it’s glowing in the dawn’s light. Unfortunately, the trail doesn’t take you to the top of the Thumb, but your hike to the ridgeline will reward you with panoramic views of the Prescott area, Bradshaw Mountains, Sierra Prieta Mountains, Granite Mountain, Mingus Mountain and out to the San Francisco Peaks.
With ~ 3k visitors leaving their footprints every month, Thumb Butte is the most heavily used trail in the Prescott National Forest. Go early and you’ll only run into a few locals taking their morning constitutional walk or runs.
Trail Notes:You ascend either the paved eastern section of the trail or the unpaved eastern section of the loop trail to reach a ridge just below the rocky crest of Thumb Butte. The eastern paved section is very uneven / “lumpy”, requiring careful footing, especially if you’re descending.
The western side is a double-wide trail. A dozen interpretive signs dot the route, identifying various vegetation and explaining forest ecology.
Distance: <2 Miles RT
Elevation: The Thumb’s elevation is 6,514 ft. The trail has a~688 gain/ loss – it’s runnable if you’re into hills and ok with uneven footing.
Use: Hikers only, Dogs ok on leashes
Fee: $5, Wednesday are free
Getting there: From Prescott take Gurley Street West (it becomes Thumb Butte Road) for 3.4 miles to the Thumb Butte Picnic area and parking lot on the right. Trail begins across the street.
Stay tuned for my top picks of places to stay and eat and for more of my active escapades in and around Prescott.
Mountain Biking: Prescott Valley to Prescott via the Iron King & Peavine Trails
Restaurants: The Barley Hound Gastropub