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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  • Gina

    Amazing company, leader, and hike! Thanks Jim. Looking forward to Saturday.

    2 · September 30, 2013

    • Jim K.

      You are very kind, Gina. Thank you for the positive comments.

      October 1, 2013

  • Tony

    This was a very pretty hike indeed. Wonderful scenery that changed and delighted at every turn. It was great to catch up with some faces, and the people attached to them, that I hadn't seen for a while and to meet even more new folks. I'm sure they'll come again. I was so energised from this hike that I skipped breakfast and went on and paid my first visit to Pinnacle Peak.

    From Mr GPS we covered a tad over 6 miles with a few hundred feet of gain. But that's not the story here; the main attraction was the great scenery and people in attendance. Thanks for putting this hike on Jim.

    3 · September 29, 2013

    • Gina

      Hike after a hike - I love it. Hope you enjoyed the second hike.

      September 30, 2013

  • 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!

    4 · September 28, 2013

  • michael s.

    Great hike nice cool weather sorry had to miss the good breakfast had to get to work
    Thanks Jim

    2 · September 28, 2013

    • BevW

      Michael, you were missed at breakfast! Catch you next time!

      1 · September 28, 2013

  • Sabrina

    What a fantastic hike this morning! Great new (to us) trails and a fun group. Thanks as always to our fearless leader Jim and Bev for doing the sweep. I look forward to doing this one again!

    2 · September 28, 2013

  • Christine Beth F.

    I am so, so sorry that I didn't cancel in time. I hope everyone that wanted to go got to go. My knee has been bothering me an I was holding off to see if it would get better. Then, I got immersed in a college application with my daughter and forgot to cancel. My next hike will be a beginner hike and I will be wearing a knee wrap for prevention of jarring it when going down hill. Up hill never creates a problem.

    September 28, 2013

  • Sabrina

    Almost there sorry I am running late

    September 28, 2013

  • Flora

    Can't make got to get 2 work earlier, sorry

    September 27, 2013

  • Nichole

    I will be there~

    September 26, 2013

  • Char

    Sorry I have to cancel

    September 25, 2013

  • Tasheel D.

    Back from trip, would be interested in joining if a spot opens up.

    September 23, 2013

    • Jim K.

      Tash, welcome back! There is currently a spot open on Trail Mix.

      September 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Have to say no this time. Got a chance to do Fossil Springs!

    1 · September 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sounds fun

    August 24, 2013

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