My first ride up Toms Thumb… I’d read the stories on the MTBR Arizona forum… I just had to see for myself.
From the Gateway Lot I opted to climb the Desert Park trail to Windgate. I hadn’t ridden Desert Park and enjoyed most of it. It’s longer but less climbing than going right up Windgate. A good warm up for when I hit Windgate and the climbing really began…or so I thought.
Toms Thumb is quite the awesome adventure. It’s steep and the switchbacks make it even tougher — but it’s all rideable. I made about half the switchbacks but never walked any of the pitches. (Unlike vbm who made all but one…wow. ) In short, a sweet climb that is comparable to Goat Camp XC but even steeper. There is really no tech outside the switchbacks, buff, wide singletrack all the way up. The views as as you ascend are incredible. Nearing the top the landscape changes drastically, opens up flattens out and gives you time to view all the boulder formations including the Thumb. Scenic, peaceful, amazing. I need a real camera for Christmas.
East End is a freaking roller coaster down from Tom’s Thumb. Tight, steep, loose, exposed and did I say steep? I took helmet cam all the way down (will post later). Only crashed once. It was downright scary in spots…I couldn’t believe I was staying on my bike down some of those switchbacks…will I do it again?? Heck ya. I haven’t had a thrill like that in a long while. Trying to climb East end on a bike would surely be a hike-a-bike fest.
The climb up Bell Pass was beautiful. Sustained but not nearly as steep, it makes up for it in tech. Plenty of rocks. Descending the chunk on Bell was awesome. All in all a great day on the bike. Perfect weather, perfectly steep trail to climb.
Next visit I’ll descend down Tom’s Thumb to the North Access area. It looks like it will be a fun ride up and down as well. I see a Quad Bypass that includes Tommy Boy and East End in my future….
Next year’s annual Quad Bypass just might include Tom’s Thumb
Short vid of the first section of the trail, from Windgate to the base of the climbing… helmet cam mounted too low. Live and learn, but makes for some nice shadow riding.