Towering just west of Prescott is Thumb Butte (try not to giggle at the name), a highly visible geological landmark popular with the locals. Anyone visiting Prescott can’t miss it. From the distance, it looks like a tough hike. In actuality, it is a short hike –roughly 2 miles round trip that gains about 600 feet in elevation overall. The paved switchbacks make for slippery going when it’s covered in snow and ice, and the hand railings don’t always help those going down –we witnessed a couple hikers unwillingly descend on their backsides.
We chose this as our second hike of the day as it offered a different landscape than the lumpy boulders of the Granite Dells on our previous hike, and offers spectacular panoramic views of the Prescott area, Bradshaw Mountains, Sierra Prieta Mountains, Granite Mountain, Mingus Mountain, and the San Francisco Peaks.
We were hoping to get to the very top however the area was closed off due to nesting Peregrine Falcons.
We weren’t able to clock any speeding Peregrine Falcons going 240 mph but we had fun on this short hike and were happy to burn off calories from Whiskey Row!
Thumb Butte Trail Overview
- Coordinates: 34.552505,-112.5233889
- Fees: $5; Free on Wednesdays
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Usage: Heavy
- Length: 2 Miles
- Things to note:
- Expect occasional closures at the very top portion of the trail during nesting season for Peregrine Falcons.
- Trail is paved but this is still considered a moderate hike due to the elevation gain.
- May be dangerous due to ice during winter season.
- Pets allowed: Yes. Must be on leashes.
- Getting there: From downtown Prescott, AZ: Travel west on Gurley Street (becomes Thumb Butte Road) for 3.4 miles to the Thumb Butte Picnic Area, on the right. The trail begins just across the road from the picnic area. Please note that there is no horse trailer parking in the recreation area. Road conditions are paved.
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