This hike is rated INTERMEDIATE.
Hike Starts at 0515.
Sunrise is at 0523. City of Scottsdale shows a gate-opening time of 0442, but I believe that is incorrect and the gate will open 0452. So there will be a little leeway with the hike start time, but not much.
This breathtaking hike is in the new Brown’s Ranch Area of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. A small group of us explored this area last Independence Day when this trailhead first opened, so this is a one-year anniversary hike.
You will be amazed at the spectacular desert views. Saguaros are abundant due to the higher elevation! This is a chance for you to see unusual desert plants and possibly more wildlife.
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.
We will be heading up Brown’s Mountain, so there will be some quick elevation gain. Breathing might be a little harder for some who have only hiked in central Phoenix, at lower elevations. When we reach BT4, some Group members may choose to ascend Brown’s Summit Spur while less experienced hikers can remain at a wonderful scenic overlook.
Caution: The Summit Spur is steep, narrow, and slippery in spots so there will be some struggling. At the top, you will be rewarded with stunning new views of the North Valley, but you can also see Squaw Peak and part of Camelback Mountain and beyond between two buttes.
But that is only part of the journey! We will still have 2.5 miles to loop around Brown’s Mountain with many, many ups + downs before we get back to the TH. Can you say, “breakfast now!”
This hike will be cross-posted on P2BH and Trail Mix.
Bring plenty of water and PLEASE wear a hat or head-covering.
Limit of 20 hikers due to smaller summit area and steep ascent.
DISTANCE: 4.2 miles roundtrip
ELEVATION GAIN: Almost 550 feet
TRAIL STYLE: Loop, with one spur and scenic lookout area
DURATION: 2.5 to 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.