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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)

A landscape, Hiker, Base, Prescott, Arizona, Thumb Butte Hiking TrailLandscape, Hikers, Prescott, Arizona, Thumb Butte Loop Trail, Thumb ButteJust 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.

Landscape, Hiker, Backpack, Prescott, Arizona's Thumb Butte, Thumb Butte Loop Hiking Trail Lanscape, Hiker, Rocky, Pinnacle, Prescott, Arizona, Thumb Butte, Thumb Butte Loop Hiking TrailStarting 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.

Landscape, View, Prescott, Arizona, Thumb Butte, Surrounding Mountains, Thumb Butte Loop Hiking Trail Landscape, View, Prescott, Arizona, Granite Mountain, Thumb Butte Loop Hiking Trail 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.

Total Nerdery

Thumb Butte is the remnant of a volcanic plug. At it’s highest point it is 6,514′ high.

Click here to download a trail map.

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.

4 Responses to Thumb Butte Loop Hike

    • azutopia

      Hi Gina. As pretty and recommended as this trail is, I don’t believe that it leads to the the 1,800 year old “Giant Juniper tree” that the Granite Mountain Hot Shots saved from the Doce Fire in 2013. That tree is located off of the Upper Pasture Loop Trail – which we have yet to hike.

  1. Mark white

    Sad to report the memorial erected at the top of the trail dedicated to the 19 brave firefighters who lost their lives has now been removed. I cannot imagine why someone would do such a thing. It was a nice memorial tended by the community. Sadly I am reading it was the US Forest Service who took it away. They died protecting the City of Yarnell for us and keeping the forest safe for generations to come.

    • azutopia

      Thank you for letting us all know of this change. This was a lovely, and moving, tribute area.


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