The parking lot of the Tom's Thumb trailhead in Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve is less than an hour's drive from central Phoenix, but it feels like another planet. The main sign of urbanity is the parking lot — which, though large, fills up with vehicles on good-weather days like there's a Black Friday sale going on. This hill of granite and cactus has a lot to offer for rock climbers, especially at the tallest formation in the area, Gardener's Wall. Our favorite climb there is Hanging Gardens, a moderate route that will get you noticeably nearer to the clouds. It's rated a 5.5 for technical difficulty — sounds easy, but with outdoor climbing, everything's more intense. There will be fear. It begins on a wonderful, gray-granite knife-edge that turns into a vertical crack system. Halfway up is a tiny belay ledge — this is no place for acrophobes. The leader brings the second climber up to that point before proceeding up a perfect hand-crack. Beginning outdoor climbers will gain new confidence on Hanging Gardens and learn the pleasures of multi-pitch climbing. It's best to bring two ropes for the long rappel back to the ground.