Thumb Butte Loop Hike
★★☆☆☆ Moderate / Prescott Area:
Pretty, paved, petite and with phenomenal views – the Thumb Butte Loop Hike, up Prescott’s defining natural landmark, is a prime day-hike. Clearly visible from downtown, the easily identifiable Thumb Butte is just a short jaunt from Prescott’s numerous in-town activities. Throw in a picnic in this lovely park, and you have the makings of an perfect day outdoors.
TRAILHEAD: Thumb Butte Road Picnic Area, Prescott • DIFFICULTY: MODERATE • DISTANCE: 2.1 MILE loop • APPROX. TIME: 1-2 HOURS • ELEVATION GAIN: 600 FEET (43 STORIES) • APPROX. CALORIES BURNED: 315-360 • BEST TIME OF YEAR: Sept-June. • PETS: YES • KID FRIENDLY: YES • FACILITIES: YES • FEES: $5 day use (or annual national parks pass)
Just a hop away from downtown Prescott, Thumb Butte Loop Hike is a favorite for both locals and those crazy about the area’s cooler temperatures. The surrounding pine forests and hundred-mile views from the top are extra bonuses.
Starting across the street from the Thumb Butte Picnic area, this loop trail can be hiked in either direction from the trailhead. Turn left and the trail is wide, paved and moderately steep. Turn right and the trail is a broad, well-maintained natural path, with an easier climb to the butte. Both directions have great views of Thumb Butte, Granite and Bradshaw Mountains and – on clear days – Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks.
At the highest point of the Thumb Butte Loop Hike (where a memorial commemorates the 19 firefighters killed in the local 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire) a brief spur trail leads to the base of Thumb Butte’s rocky crown. The climb to the very top is only for the most ambitious, as it includes scrambles up steep boulders with limited foot, or hand, holds. No worries if steep scrambles aren’t your thing. Even without adding on the spur trail, the views of Prescott and the surrounding areas from the top of the Thumb Butte Loop Hike make for a perfect day outdoors.
Thumb Butte is the remnant of a volcanic plug. At it’s highest point it is 6,514′ high.
Directions From the intersection of Gurley and Montezuma Streets, in Prescott, head west on Gurley (which becomes Thumb Butte Road) for 3.4 miles to the Thumb Butte Picnic Area, located on the right. The trail begins across the road from the picnic area parking lot.
- Central Arizona, Dayhike, Family Friendly, Pet Friendly, Prescott, Views
- August 15, 2015