This hike offers great views and cool rock formations, plus interpretive geology signage.
Our hikes are generally at a pace conducive to social banter of interest to heathens, and allowing for time for photography of the local geology and wildlife. Expect this hike to last 3-4 hours.
Here is a trail map. It can be enlarged to view our route more easily.
We will follow the loop counterclockwise… Marcus to Boulder to Pemberton to Rock Knob back to Marcus and trailhead.
Although this is a 6 mile loop, some hikers could opt to make it an out and back only on the Marcus Landslide Trail… a 4.6 mile hike.
Here are photos from another hiking group’s hike here:
500,000 years ago around the peak known as East End, highest in the McDowell Mountains, a rock avalanche of granite, vegetation, and soil flowed to the present day area known as the Marcus Landslide.
Central Arizona's climate at the time of the Marcus Landslide was much different than today with cooler and wetter conditions at the end of the last ice age. The trigger for the event was likely a heavy rain, bolt of lightning, or earthquake weakening the granitic rock along a joint.
Since then, streams have eroded away clay while leaving the granite boulders standing in their original position. This erosion from underneath creates grottos and caverns popular with hikers and rock climbers. Experts believe some of the native plants and animals of the time are buried underneath the landslide including mammoths, giant sloths, saber-tooth cats, camels, and horses.
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 3-4 hours
Difficulty: moderate depending on distance
Trailhead Elevation: 2800 ft.
Elevationgain: 400 ft. accumulation
Parking: BIG lot & bathrooms . .. no water
Tailhead GPS: [masked], [masked]
Entry fees: no
Dogs: OK on leash
Always carry and drink plenty of water!
Sunscreen and insect repellent is advised.
Supportive footwear is also advisable.
SAFETY FIRST… we have no medical provisions.
Hike at your own risk.
How to find us: Meet at trailhead parking lot (FOLLOW DIRECTIONS BELOW… DO NOT USE GPS) If lost or late, call cell[masked]-5945.
TO GET THERE:
GPS IS WRONG! --- Follow these instructions:
From Scottsdale Rd, or Pima Rd, turn East onto Happy Valley Rd.
Follow Happy Valley Rd. (becomes 118th St.) about 2 miles past (farther than) Alma School and turn right (East) onto Ranch Gate. This would be about 4.3 miles east of Pima Rd.
Follow signs to Tom Thumb Trailhead.
Proceed about 1.3 miles on Ranch Gate and then turn right (South) onto 128 St.
In a mile or so you'll arrive at the trail head.
It should take about at about 40 minutes from either the 101 & 17 OR the 101 & 202 to get there:
MESSAGE FOR CARPOOLERS:
Carpooling can save gas but also enhance the social experience. If you’d like to carpool, you must contact others for arrangements. You could email members or post comments on this announcement page.
Following the hike: We will reconvene for rehydration and food locally.