SJ's Hike of the Week: Thompson Trail
Distance: 5.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 298 feet
Dog Friendly: Yes - in fact this is one of my favorite dog-friendly hikes in Arizona!
Permit/Pass Required: No
Getting There: See Map
Tips: Dress for every type of weather. This trail can be surprisingly cold and surprisingly warm and storms can pop up out of nowhere and leave you drenched! Also - keep an eye out for wildlife. I've heard there are bears that frequent the area! And I've encountered "friendly" snakes each visit. Also bring the fishing pole. While the whole river isn't open for fishing, signs will direct you to where you can!
About the Hike: Thompson Trail is hands down one of my favorite hikes in Arizona. From the grassy meadows to the Alpine trees to the crystal clear West Fork Black River and multitudes of wildflowers and wildlife you can't lose here. The trail is pretty easy. Very flat and rocky in a few places with a few runoff crossings that can be muddy or flooded. The only thing that makes this trail even remotely tough is the elevation. It starts at 8,600 feet which for a Phoenix Valley dweller can be a surprise for the lungs. You will likely feel a little winded sooner than you would normally expect. But that's okay because there are ample amounts of places to stop and have a snack or just take moment to breath and enjoy the sights and sounds of the White Mountains. The trail just kind of tapers off at the end. There's no real climax or amazing ending. Probably because the whole trail is extraordinary! But you truly have to experience it for yourself to understand.