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 IS NOT THE SUMMIT HIKE.
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.