1, 2, 3, 4, I declare a Thumb (Butte) War


If there is one defining image of the Prescott landscape, it is the jutting Thumb Butte that watches over town and provides a beautiful foreground for sunsets (as well as an amazing vantage point from which to watch sunsets).  Like most of the Prescott wild, Thumb Butte is very accessible and crisscrossed with hiking and biking trails.  While this is the most obvious, and perhaps easily accessed trail, it can still provide a great workout as the main trial has over 500' in total elevation gain in its 2-mile round-trip loop.

Getting to Thumb Butte is easy, basically just hop on Gurley Street and drive at it--you'll stay to the left at a fork just outside of town and then wind through neighborhoods.  Watch out for walkers, bikers, and wildlife.  There are several parking pull-offs both before and after the parking lot that are of varying degrees of dubious legitimacy.  I have no idea which are legal and which aren't, so it's up to you to risk a ticket and/or tow to save the $5/car day-use fee.  Or just go on Wednesdays when access is free.  Also, certain National Forest passes apply here.  The lot says it is open from 7am to 7pm.  The website, however lists different hours for different times of the year.  I don't know which one rules.

Hiking here can be as simple as the loop on trail #33;  or venturing off to any of the various other trails in the area--there is a map at the trailhead and brochures at the map that illustrate the other trail options.  No matter which option you try, make sure to check out the "spur" at the top.  The spur juts off the main trail and provides a gorgeous panoramic view of Prescott.  From there you can see Willow Creek Reservoir, Watson Lake and the Dells, Mt. Humphreys, and a view of Downtown that will make you nostalgic for an age of small-towns you never actually lived through. 

According to the map at the trailhead Trail #33 is 1.75 miles long; but according to Google if you take the spur it jumps up to 2 miles and 500 or 600' in elevation gain.  Its a great trail for an invigorating, quick cardio workout.  Go clockwise if you really want an intense workout that will make your quads and lungs burn--you'll make the elevation gain in .8 miles; go counterclockwise if you want only a solid workout that will make you breathe... going down counterclockwise can be hard on the knees and ankles so make sure your joints are appropriately able and/or supported. 

Finished your hike and want more?  Your day-use pass is good at all Prescott National Forest day-use areas, so venture forth and enjoy!

The other title options were "Thumb Butte-iful", or

..."Do it in the Butte."


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