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Marcus Landslide












This hike is rated EASY.

Hike starts at 0545. Gate opens at 0520.

Please join me for a stunning, unusual hike on the Marcus Landslide Trail.

This was my very first hike with P2BH, hosted by Marshall back in November 2012. That was 91 hikes ago! And this hike absolutely remained my favorite for many months until I started exploring some other trails on my own.

Marcus Landslide Trail is a gentle 3-mile out-and-back hike with an optional .7-mile loop with some elevation gain. Be prepared for some exertion. This interpretive geology trail starts at the trailhead and ends beside or on top of the 2nd largest landslide in Arizona! (We will be going on top of the landslide.)

This hike takes you through a remote area of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve with many beautiful rock formations. Also, desert views are shockingly three-dimensional and clear.

Please note: There are restrooms at the trailhead lit by natural light so bring a small flashlight if you need to use them before we start. Also, NO WATER is available at this TH, so bring plenty of your own for the hike and consider what extra you will need for your dog before and after the hike.

There is a 34-hiker limit in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

This hike is cross-posted with Phoenix (2-Hour) Beginner Hikers.

If you have not been to this trailhead before you might want to give yourself extra time for arrival. Clear directions are below; the TH is easy to find if you follow them. I would recommend memorizing the directions or writing them down on paper if necessary. DO NOT rely on your GPS (Garmin, etc.)… it will get you lost! I have heard of countless hikers who were late or never made it to the trail because they were spinning aimlessly a few miles away thanks to their GPS devices.

As always, bring plenty of water and wear a hat or head-covering. We tend to lose the wind this time of year, especially during the mornings so sweat will be abundant.

DISTANCE: 3.8 miles roundtrip


TRAIL STYLE: In-and-out, with a lollipop at the end

DURATION: 2.0 hours

DOGS: Yes, if leashed

FACILITIES: Restrooms at covered facility building; NO WATER

WEBSITE: Trail Map


The entrance address is 23015 N. 128th St, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

The directions map link above indicates you should take Pinnacle Peak to Alma School to Jomax… the route below is far simpler!

Get on E. Happy Valley Road in Scottsdale from Scottsdale Road or Pima Road. Head east. There will be a four-way stop sign at Alma School Road. Continue going east on E. Happy Valley Road. You will take a dip through Troon Village and then slowly turn to start heading north. Watch for E. Buckskin Trail and continue a short distance; you will make a right at the next 3-way intersection. Turn RIGHT on Ranch Gate Road to head EAST again. The road will at first be very smooth and then the pavement ends near the entrance to some model homes (Sereno Canyon). Continue east to 128th Street and turn RIGHT to head SOUTH. This road is not paved either but will be fine for all passenger vehicles. Please drive cautiously and slowly. The road is narrow, but two vehicles can pass each other easily. Continue about a mile until you see the entrance to Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. There are four sections of parking, so have fun choosing your spot! Small trails will take you from the further parking areas to the covered building at the TH.

If you are coming from Fountain Hills, take Rio Verde Drive to 128th Street and turn south.

Contact me via Meetup if you have questions.

Join or login to comment.

  • Jim K.

    This really was another great hike. I truly hope for everyone that there was a balance of: breath-taking early sky views, tremendous Preserve scenery, exertion, fun, and the joy of movement through the desert. We had to rush it a bit… but not too bad. Just think of how many calories we burned and the salt and water we lost… only to put back on again!

    I *really* enjoyed seeing your returning faces and meeting the new ones this morning!

    Thank you to Theresa for sweeping today. See you all on Monday morning!

    August 31, 2013

  • Jim K.

    Wow!! I don’t believe that I’ve ever witnessed such a glorious Sky Show as this morning at Tom’s Thumb TH. The colors were ever-changing and the rainbow was the frosting; right, Theresa? It is WELL WORTH it to get up so early and even to hike in the ultra-humidity when we get to see such fabulous scenes!

    1 · August 31, 2013

  • GM

    As always amazing adventure with the most beautiful rainbow I have seen this summer sending us off.

    2 · August 31, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    My scheduled hike tomorrow is cancelled due to mud primarily. I know this hike is full and may or may not be cancelled. If it does hold and for some reason I see somewhere that it has room, I'll be there. I am SOoooo anxious to hike with you. I have hiked before but not in the last couple of years.

    August 30, 2013

    • Jim K.

      Hi Mary -- thanks for the interest in our Marcus Landslide Hike. You will have to watch the RSVP's to see if a spot opens up. Although there could be no-shows tomorrow, I cannot tell you to just "show up" for the hike. The City of Scottsdale has a strict limit on the number of attendees in one Group activity; otherwise we are required to have a special use permit. You can also check on Phoenix (2-Hour) Beginner Hikers to see if a spot opens up there between now and midnight.

      I'm sorry about your cancelled hike. Hope to meet you on the trails soon!

      August 30, 2013

    • Jim K.

      Just as I was typing to you a spot opened up on P2BH. So you're in!

      August 30, 2013

  • Jim K.


    We have a 50% chance of showers & thunderstorms tonight and a 30% chance of storms for tomorrow, mainly after 1100. I will be at the TH tomorrow morning and call or cancel the hike from there, depending on the weather. Last weekend I was able to get shortened versions of both hikes in, Saturday and Sunday.

    If there is lightning in the vicinity, the hike is off. Otherwise we will hike and we will sweat, so bring plenty of water. And again -- just a reminder there is NO water at this TH so bring plenty for yourself and your dog.

    August 30, 2013

  • Teresa K.

    Jim... will do the hike on Monday.

    August 22, 2013

  • Teresa K.

    Hey Jim.. I finally joined one of your hikes.

    1 · August 21, 2013

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