HIKE - Brown's Mountain (North McDowell Mountains)

This hike is in the new Brown’s Ranch Area of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve….”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. When we reach BT4 (on the trail map – see below), we will ascend Brown’s Summit.. a 0.2 mile spur. “The Summit Spur is steep, narrow, and slippery in spots” but if you choose to go, 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”.

This is an exploratory hike to determine its suitability for our atheist hiking group... it actually took place 3/5/14 . .9 AM

Here is the link to the hike description:


Here is the trail map:


The hike: Follow the rolling Upper Ranch trail for approximately[masked] miles until you reach Brown's Mountain trail, which is where the climb begins to reach the saddle at 2.4 miles. A short, steeper 0.2 mile section will take you to the summit at 3,253ft offering expansive views of the North valley. The descent takes you down the South side of the mountain on Brown's Mountain trail 1.4 miles back to the trailhead.

The area also has a great deal of history in regards to the Brown family and ranching in the early 1900s.


Distance:  4 miles

Time:  3 hrs.

Difficulty:  moderate

Trail:  good surface

Trailhead  Elevation:  2740 ft.

Elevation  gain:  476 ft.

Accumulated gain  528 ft.

Parking:  lot with restrooms

Tailhead GPS:  34° 45’ 40” N, 111° 50’ 33” W

Entry fees:  none

Dogs:  OK on leash


Always carry and drink plenty of water! 

Sunscreen and insect repellent is advised.

Supportive footwear is also advisable.

SAFETY FIRST… we have no medical provisions.

Hike at your own risk.


From the 101 in North Scottsdale, drive North on Pima/Princess drive and go East on Happy Valley Road to the stop sign at the intersection of Happy Valley & Alma School Road. Follow Alma School Road North about a mile past Dynamite until it ends at Brown's Ranch Trailhead. You may observe signs that say “No Outlet” and “Dead End”… just keep going! Parking for passenger vehicles is on the left.

Google says the trail head is

…30 minutes from the I-17 & 101… 20 miles

… 30 minutes from the I-10 & 51… 37 miles

… 40 minutes from the I-17 & Northern


GPS devices often give incorrect information regarding trail head locations and particular routes to them.  I recommend following the directions I post on this announcement page.  I research the directions thoroughly and try hard to be sure they are correct and understandable..

I have learned that in the email that you receive telling you that you are “confirmed for” the event, there is a link to “Directions” found underneath the event location… which often gives incorrect information.  I don’t know why nor how to fix or control it.  I do try hard to be sure that the (map) link on the announcement page is correct.


Carpooling can save gas money but also enhance the social experience. If you’d like to carpool, you must contact others for arrangements.  You could email members or post comments on this announcement page.

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