Thumb Butte – Prescott AZ

Picture Courtesy of: Matt Turner www.pbase/swtravel

Thumb Butte sticks out over Prescott, AZ like a big thumb.

This distinctive granite landmark provides casual hikers and picnickers an accessible hike through Ponderosa pine forests and panoramic vistas of the surrounding area.

It’s a great hike. The loop around Thumb Butte is the most heavily traveled trail in the Prescott National Forest, more than 3,000 visitors a month. The trail is fairly short – only 1.75 miles – it gains almost 600 feet, so at 6000 feet elevation don’t be surprised to be huffing and puffing along the way. The steepest sections are paved.

The trail begins across the road from the parking – picnic area which splits almost immediately. The recommended route is to start left, which gives you a fairly mild grade as you climb, followed by a much steeper descent. For a more intense cardio workout start in the other direction.

The trail is wide, not rough and easy to follow. Benches along the trail offer a place to rest while you enjoy the forest scenery. More than a dozen signs along the trail offer tidbits of information on the forest, its wildlife and the region’s history. Virgil Earp, Wyatt’s older brother, once owned a sawmill in the area.

As the trail ascends, you gain terrific views of Granite Mountain and the San Francisco Peaks to the north. As you leave the pine trees behind, you pass into a scrubby forest of Oak, Juniper and Manzanita.

About halfway around the loop, there is a signed spur trail, about 100 yards long, to a scenic overlook of Prescott. The view, signs and several benches make it a great spot to take a break.

Back on the main trail, the route continues to climb, quickly reaching another spur trail that leads toward the summit. A little rock scrambling will take you to the top, just a little over 6,500 feet high, more than 1,000 feet above Prescott. The route to the summit is closed until mid-July, in order not to disturb the Peregrine Falcons nesting in the area.

A series of steep, but paved, switchbacks leads down the northern side of the butte, back to the parking area across the street.

Plan on about an hour and a half for a leisurely walk around the butte. Add another hour if, after the falcons’ nesting season, you decide to tackle the summit.

How to Get There: See Google map below, use “Get Directions” to get there from where you are.

Places to Stay and Accommodations.
If you’re not the camping type and plan on staying overnight in Prescott, see Prescott Hotels.

Restaurants – Night Life.
Prescott offers dining for every unique taste and style, great food, great views and great flavors! Check out Prescott Restaurants. There are so many things to do in Prescott that the real difficulty will be deciding what to do first. Entertainment in one of the top Prescott, AZ activities including live music, theater and community events. Check out Prescott Night Life here.   For other things to do while your are in Prescott, AZ check out Prescott What To Do here.

Back to Home Page
View Larger Map

Filed Under: Hiking TrailsWhat To Do


RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.