Brown's Mountain Summit

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.

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  • BevW

    This second annual, commemorative, Independence Day hike was kicked up a notch from a year ago not only by the amazing cloud covering but also by the company of quite possibly the best-looking group to ever grace Brown's Mountain Ranch Area at one time. Super Sweep Sabrina (S cubed) is indeed the best. Special thanks to Arlene for making sure the crumbs around my mouth are cleaned off. Thank you, Jim for both your superior leadership and the immense honor of being our company's American Flag bearer. God bless America!

    July 4, 2014

  • Holly Ann G.

    Great!!! Really fun & motivating group early in the am!!!

    1 · July 4, 2014

  • Jim K.

    Happy Independence Day! Man, did we have a hike! The air temperature, humidity, and dew point were all in the 70’s simultaneously so it was a complete sweat starting out. But guess what? We all got our clothing soaked and then the nice breeze kicked in for maximum cooling if we put our arms up. The beneficial cloud cover was SO appreciated and made this the 2nd-consecutive Fourth of July with superior weather!

    I recorded 13,708 total steps this morning (not all from the hike) and 7875 aerobic steps / 66 aerobic minutes – surprising from a summit hike.

    July 4, 2014

  • Jim K.

    I want to thank all of you that came out to hike with me! I truly enjoyed hearing all your voices and I am “in tune” with a few. This morning was perfect. Thank you to Cindy for being the best bodyguard a man could ask for. Really! Total appreciation goes out to Sabrina for sweeping plus coordinating the descents perfectly. And let’s revere Beverly who has the responsibility for transporting & placing Our American Flag on Brown’s Mountain Summit.

    What a wonderful morning! Let’s do it again in 364 days! Happy Independence Day! Enjoy your weekend.

    1 · July 4, 2014

  • Jim K.

    I see some storms in the area but they appear to be moving west. Unless I see & hear thunderstorms and it starts pouring rain, I will call the hike at the trailhead. Right now I believe it will just be a very humid hike.

    July 4, 2014

  • Chele K.

    I can't make it after all. I changed my RSVP so someone else can get a spot.

    July 2, 2014

  • Chele K.

    Maple and I are looking forward to the hike!

    1 · July 1, 2014

    • Jim K.

      Great! We look forward to seeing you there.

      July 1, 2014

  • Karen

    I notice on my work schedule that I am working the night before and get off at 0630 on the 4th, so I will have to cancel. Sorry.

    June 28, 2014

    • Jim K.

      Sorry about the work schedule. We will see you another time!

      June 29, 2014

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