A challenging 5.1-mile out-and-back hike with many very steep and loose sections and a total elevation gain of 1000 feet. The spur trail to the viewpoint is narrow and rocky but totally worth the effort for those hiking in Scottsdale! This is the best viewpoint in the McDowell Mountains, with extensive views east and west from the top of a cliff. The hike crosses the boundary between granite and metamorphic rock, with obvious differences in trail composition and nearby rock and spectacular rock formations all along the way. You will also see unusual vegetation and flowers you can see only at this higher elevation.
Follow the Tom’s Thumb trail south out of the Tom’s Thumb trailhead pavilion. Stay on the Tom’s Thumb trail as it climbs past various junctions on the right and left to a marked junction with the East End trail at a high saddle. Go straight on the Tom’s Thumb trail at the junction. Continue on the Tom’s Thumb trail to the marked junction with the Lookout trail. Turn left onto the Lookout trail and follow it to the viewpoint at the end. Return the way you came.