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Marcus Landslide Labor Day

This hike is rated EASY to INTERMEDIATE.

Hike starts at 0600. Gate opens at 0532.

Please join me for a stunning, unusual hike on the Marcus Landslide Trail on Labor Day! We are repeating the Saturday hike; depending on the Group make-up and the weather we may go for extra distance in the McDowell Mountain Regional Park

Please bring $2.00 in singles to cover the fee for each person to enter the County Park if you plan on doing the extended hike.

Marcus Landslide was my very first hike with P2BH, hosted by Marshall back in November 2012. That was 92 hikes ago! And this hike absolutely remained my favorite for many months until I started exploring some other trails on my own.

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. On the extended hike it will seem like we are in the middle of nowhere!

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 to 6.1 miles, depending on hike length

ELEVATION GAIN: 280 feet; additional elevation gain on longer hike

TRAIL STYLE: In-and-out, with a lollipop; the longer hike is a big loop

DURATION: 2.0 – 3.0 hours

DOGS: Yes, if leashed

FACILITIES: Restrooms at covered facility building; NO WATER

WEBSITE: Trail Map

DIRECTIONS: 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 head south.

Contact me via Meetup if you have questions.

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  • Jim K.

    I have followed-up with the Pinnacle Peak Park / Tom’s Thumb Trailhead Coordinator and also the Sr. Planner for the City of Scottsdale. Here’s the bottom line for the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve ~ and BTW these rules are established by Arizona Game and Fish Commission:

    • Hunting with firearms is prohibited

    • Trapping is prohibited

    • Archery hunting is permitted in the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve for certain periods for different game; Javelina, Deer, and Mountain Lion

    • Lands within a ¼ mile of an occupied structure are closed to all hunting

    • Possession of a firearm is allowed but cannot be discharged within Preserve boundaries

    It is legal for them to hunt dove and quail at this time of year in the Regional Park, and again in December. As you can see, Marcus Landslide Trail comes very close to the boundary with the Regional Park so you could literally be walking side-by-side with hunters for a good portion of the trail.

    September 4, 2013

  • Jim K.

    On Labor Day,[masked], Ram stopped briefly to talk with us during his DIFFICULT hike:

    http://youtu.be/mryFe9z6RPo

    September 3, 2013

  • Jim K.

    I have voiced my displeasure with the county park and the City of Scottsdale and BOTH responded to me promptly. Today I missed the call from the Scottsdale Sr. Planner but I will follow up with him tomorrow for sure. This is quite a serious issue. Oddly, the agency responsible for relaxing the “rules” is a state bureaucracy, Arizona Game and Fish. You can see via their website that there is no direct way to contact them via e-mail and when you call them you go into oblivion! Right now I don’t have the City’s posture so I have no further conclusions. The state rules (AZGFD) would override them anyway. Hike at your own risk. I have not posted the whole story on Meetup. If you’d like to know more contact me privately via e-mail.

    September 3, 2013

  • Jim K.

    I heard back promptly from the Park Supervisor for McDowell Mountain Regional Park this morning. I now have a contact for the Tom’s Thumb area.

    The hunters were within their rights to be hunting yesterday, and they are now free to roam the trails as well. They are also able to hunt 30 minutes prior to sunrise.

    The following parks and preserves in Maricopa County are open to hunting: Lake Pleasant, White Tank Mountains, McDowell Mountain, and Estrella Mountain Regional parks.

    Dove season is Sept. 01-15 and opens again on Nov. 22 - Jan. 05, 2014. Needless to say I will not schedule hikes at Tom's Thumb nor McDowell Mountain Regional Park during these periods.

    I've not heard back from the City of Scottsdale yet.

    I called the Arizona Game and Fish Department this morning also to attempt to get a contact name to file complaints, but I was on hold for 30 minutes and gave up.

    I'll post a portion of the response from the Park Ranger below this post due to the 1,000-character limit.

    September 3, 2013

  • Jim K.

    The unfortunate news is that Arizona Game and Fish Department has changed the rules the last two years. Last year they removed the recognition of trails as recreation facilities, from which hunters used to have to stay ¼ mile away. No longer, they can walk the trails with shot guns hunting Dove and Quail. In the past hunting was allowed in Maricopa County Parks when the two seasons overlapped, that changed this year and on September 1st, Dove season began which means that hunting began more than a month earlier than in past years. Hunting has been allowed since 1971 or 72. But, we used to be able to determine where the hunting areas were and we kept them away from those who wished to recreate in the park.

    <-- (snipped for brevity) -->

    The only change in these rules will come from public pressure.

    September 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    This was a good event even though the original hike did not work. The alternate hike was excellent. I would also like to echo what John J has said - Jim, you are are a wonderful hike leader and you put a lot of care and thought in to your hikes and we all appreciate you immensely. Thank you.

    September 2, 2013

  • John J

    Jim, thank you your quick adaptation to the circumstances looking out for everyones safety. i enjoyed the alternate hike and all the exercise it provided....3 of us made it all the way to the thumb and enjoyed the beautiful scenery once there. I appreciate everything ou do for the group.

    September 2, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Any room for one more, mistake to un reserve -:(

    September 1, 2013

    • Jim K.

      Please watch your tone, Sobha, when posting on the Meetup events. It is not my responsibility to watch over RSVP’s except to ensure that we do not go over the limit on certain hikes. It’s also not my job to reinstate cancelled RSVP’s. If you have an issue with RSVP’s or anything else – be courteous and send me a proper message privately. You have been a no-show on a few of my hikes, so that speaks volumes to me.

      September 2, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Why didn't you personally email me your concern. I had no idea at all you took my presence personally . WOW! I believe that when i RSVP, if i was not able to make it , i unrsvp myself. Communication is key and I believe I was very polite to ask you a question and you ignore me twice . I didn't have an issue at all until now you are admitting you have a issue w me. It was just a joke. Again , no no show came where I did un RSVP myself . In this case I admitted I did un RSVP my mistake and asked you to allow me and you ignore me. Don't worry now since you take my presence personally I won't be participating in your leading hikes!

      September 2, 2013

  • Jim K.

    I am really sorry for the way circumstances turned out for the hike this morning. I truly intended for the Group to have a pleasant and peaceful, relaxing hike through spectacular scenery. I’m certainly going to find out from the City of Scottsdale and if necessary, the county, about when firearms are allowed in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The man that spoke with us was definitely in the City Park, and he had a rifle I believe. If anyone saw differently, please post here.

    We had a delightful mix of new people this morning, so I know that the advertised hike would have been really fun. Let’s all try to get together another time.

    Thanks!

    Special appreciation goes out to: Agnes, Char, and Yanique for the smiles and happy voices at the end of the alternate hike.

    September 2, 2013

  • Gina

    Sorry to pull out tonight but not going to make it. Have a wonderful time. I hope the rainbow sends you off again.

    September 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Kayla would you like to carpool? I live on 59th & Olive.

    September 1, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I see ok then you can disreguard. Thx for letting me know!

      September 1, 2013

  • Debbie H.

    Hi Jim will there be a waitlist for this hike?

    August 27, 2013

    • Debbie H.

      Thank u Jim will do

      August 27, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I was suppose to do another hike but friend changed mine last minute , any room for one more ?

      September 1, 2013

  • Yanique R

    Hello, traveling in Phoenix for work and no car. Anyone in the Biltmore area or surrounding that would like to carpool? I'll gladly chip in for gas. Thank you.

    September 1, 2013

  • Jim K.

    Hey! The roads were re-paved since the last time I visited Tom’s Thumb TH (prior to Saturday) and also there are working lights in the restrooms! Enjoy!

    September 1, 2013

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