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Seven Mile Exploratory Hike




This hike is rated INTERMEDIATE.

Hike starts at 0600. Gate opens at 0541.

Sunrise is at 0620 so let's have fun doing our introductions and get rolling ASAP. We’ll have a long way to go!

Some of us are ultra-curious about the moderately difficult and moderate-rated trails in the gorgeous Brown’s Ranch Area of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. We intersect with these trails on other hikes, so let’s explore them!

Our challenge will be the Maverick, Wrangler, and Rustler trails. We will travel counter-clockwise to get the longer sections finished first. There will be a few “opt-out” places where you can head back to the TH in case the hike gets too long for you.

A visit to The Amphitheater is included in this hike; however if we experience unusually hot and humid weather we’ll skip that part at my discretion and go directly to the Maverick Trail.


This loop hike is in the new Brown’s Ranch Area of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. You will be amazed at the spectacular desert views. Saguaros, living and dead, are abundant due to the higher elevation! This is a chance for you to notice unusual desert plants and possibly more wildlife. Maybe we will see a desert tortoise! We have already witnessed several strange things during our Cone Mountain Hikes!

The trails are new, well-groomed, and fairly soft. There are some areas of deep sand & dirt that will make you feel like you are trudging at a beach. You will notice breath-taking scenery on every turn of the trails!

I noticed after the last heavy rain that part of the Rustler Trail was slightly washed away, so we may have to ‘feel’ our way through that one!

This hike will be cross-posted on Phoenix (2-Hour) Beginner Hikers and Trail Mix. We travel at a beginner’s pace.

Bring plenty of water and PLEASE wear a hat or head-covering. We tend to lose the wind this time of year, especially during the mornings so sweat will be abundant. Also consider bringing a bandana, a towel, or other wrap-around cooling cloths and energy snacks. Be sure to nourish yourself during this hike! We will take plenty of rest and water breaks, usually at major trail marker intersections (or in shade).

The City of Scottsdale already has the new maps stocked at the TH, but feel free to print them out in advance from the link below.

DISTANCE: 7.5 miles roundtrip; shorter without the Amphitheater

ELEVATION GAIN: < 200 feet

TRAIL STYLE: Loop, with one or two scenic points

DURATION: 3.0 hours +

DOGS: Yes, if leashed

FACILITIES: Restrooms and water at the TH; dog fountain also

WEBSITE: Trail Map

DIRECTIONS: The trailhead address is: 30301 North Alma School Parkway, Scottsdale, Arizona. To get there, take Scottsdale Road or Pima Road north to Dynamite Blvd. Head east on Dynamite. At Alma School Road turn left, and head north. The Google map link will show you where to head north.

(Dynamite changes to Rio Verde Drive at this intersection, so don't get confused.)

Another option is going east on E. Happy Valley Road to N. Alma School Road and then head north.

If you are coming from Fountain Hills, just take Rio Verde Drive.

** The TH is approximately one mile north of Dynamite Blvd. **

You will observe signs that say “No Outlet” and “Dead End”… just keep going! Parking for passenger vehicles is on the left.

Contact me via Meetup if you have questions.


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  • Jim K.

    HEY HEY HEY! Such superb weather for a hike, eh? And like some of us were thinking out loud: we forgot what weather like this was.

    One thing we won’t forget is this incredible exploratory hike! Wow, it was much more beautiful than I ever imagined and although the trails were not difficult ~ these were a nice challenge to navigate especially with poles. We were ‘really’ in the desert! I enjoy seeing all the ground we covered at the end of the hike. We had a nice, fit Group this morning and we traveled at a regular group pace. There was no reason to rush as the breeze kept us cool, and this time of year we can even make meal stops! (Without sweating.)

    Speaking of meals, breakfast was dee-lish-us afterwards and absorbed with passion.

    Thank you to Beverly for sweeping. Excellent job!

    Thanks to everyone for coming out to hike early! We’ll do it again!

    September 28, 2013

  • Joanne

    Sorry I missed this it apparently did not post to my calendar. I hope you had time

    September 28, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great hike! Thanks, Jim.

    1 · September 28, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry, I was late and missed everyone. However, did hike Brown's Peak. It was a great hike, enjoyable and took a bunch of pictures.

    September 28, 2013

  • Tasheel D.

    Sorry guys, not feeling well this morning. Won't be able to make it.

    September 28, 2013

  • Mary

    I'd love to attend. I am trying to get ready for a Grand Canyon hike in early November. Is it possible to be on a waiting list ?

    September 24, 2013

    • Jim K.

      Hi Mary. I don't do waiting lists for local hikes. Please watch the RSVP's as there are several drop-outs right before the weekend. Keep an eye especially at Phoenix (2-Hour) Beginner Hikers. Thanks!

      September 24, 2013

  • Joanne

    I hear that this is not a rocky trail like most trails in McDowell it is well groomed. I also understand that in one place on the trail several people have fallen due to how steap and fine rolling rock. If you are unsure bring sticks for balance. Looking forward to exploring!

    August 23, 2013

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