Gardener's Wall in the McDowells

Nestled in the lower Verde River basin, the McDowell Mountain range is a  21,099-acre park in the northeast Valley. Elevations in the park rise to 3,000 feet along the western boundary at the base of the McDowell Mountains. With over 5o miles of trails to explore, visitors will find several distinct areas to explore throughout its range, however, the Rock Climbing in this park is exclusive to the Northern entrance.
The McDowell’s are comprised of several different granite climbing areas, each with a unique set of climbs. From the iconic Tom’s Thumb pinnacle that can be seen from miles all over the Valley, to the grand Gardener’s Wall – the McDowell Mountains are a rock climbing destination.

Gardener's Wall

Gardners Wall

The Gardener Wall is a 200 + foot granite wall overlooking the Tom Thumb Trailhead. With one of Arizona’s most classic 5.5 climbs – Hanging Gardens, this wall is a great introduction to the desert granite climbing in the area.

Morrell Wall

Morrell Wall

Just to the east of the Tom Thumb trail rises the Morrell Wall. At 135 feet, this wall is home to some great, demanding climbs including Beat Feet (5.7). A red tail hawk family calls this area they’re home, nesting high above the valley floor and climbers on Beat Feet may get the opportunity to witness them in flight.

Sven Slabs

Sven Slabs in the McDowell Mountains

As compared to the climbing on McDowell face climbs, Sven Slabs is just what it’s name implies. Delicate, thin climbing on granite crystals will challenge even the seasoned veteran. With climbs such as Quaker Oats (5.5) and Black Death (5.8) this is the area for the slab rock climber.

Sven Towers


Sven Towers is an area in the east end of the park that consists of 3 “towers”. Sven 1, 2 and 3 are all unique areas with great views of the Verde River Valley and moderate climbs.

Toms Thumb

Rappelling Tom Thumb

Sitting high above Scottsdale and visible for miles around, Tom’s Thumb is a 90-foot tall pinnacle with many quality rock climbing routes. One of the iconic climbs is Treibers Deception, a committing ascent on the South side of the pinnacle with a memorable first move sure to capture anyone’s attention.

Misc Areas


There are a number of random rock climbing areas within the park, spread out throughout the range. From the Half and Half wall with its short, gritty routes to the Girlie Man wall with its great beginner climbs, the McDowell’s are full of great rock climbing.