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Cone Mountain & Hackamore Trail

This hike is rated EASY.

Hike Starts at 5:45 a.m.

This hike will depart half an hour after the gate opens.  Gate opens 0520 on August 17th.  We will be trekking right before sunrise!

Here is a hike for the Beginners! 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!

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 start out by going northwest between Brown’s Mountain and Cone Mountain. You can gaze up at Brown’s Mountain Summit and imagine yourself up there ~ when you are ready for an intermediate hike. Cone Mountain has a unique shape indeed, and we will go around part of its circumference. On future hikes we may go around the entire circumference, but on this hike we will transfer to the Hackamore Trail for 1.7 miles along the current western edge of the Preserve. We’ll end up at Sunset Vista, a scenic point, and from there we’re just a short distance from the parking lot.

This hike will be cross-posted with Phoenix (2-Hour) Beginner Hikers.  We will keep a beginner’s pace, though moderate, and we will take rest breaks for water frequently.

We need to leave ON TIME because of the heat and sun blast.

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.

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:  4.0 miles roundtrip

ELEVATION GAIN:  < 200 feet

TRAIL STYLE:  Loop, with one scenic point

DURATION:  2.0 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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  • Jim K.

    Good Morning Hikers!

    We have an excessive heat warning from now through Sunday morning, although I cannot figure out why all of Sunday is not included in this weather advisory. Duh!

    It was already[masked]° by 0900 this morning! The dew point is back at a monsoon level and no doubt it will be humid tomorrow! The good news is that we will be treated to shade on some early parts of our hike tomorrow morning. We will take rest breaks in these shady areas for comfort. The hike should be finished by 0745-0800. The single most spectacular view is at the conclusion of our hike, where you can review the areas we just traversed in the desert. You are free to absorb the scenic view as long as you want, or you may depart immediately for your air-conditioned vehicle. Many of the veteran hikers prefer to linger as we are awe-struck by the beauty of our precious Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

    August 16, 2013

  • Jim K.


    PLEASE bring plenty of water and wear a head-covering. We will take a steady but beginner pace so that we are not getting exhausted trying to enjoy this hike. If you need to reach me, call or text me at[masked]-3398. We really need to depart right before sunrise tomorrow, so please be on time.


    August 16, 2013

  • Jim K.

    As noted above in the hike description, the gate shall open 0520 on Saturday according to Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve website.

    Some of us experienced the 6-7 minute gate-opening DELAY last time. If this holdup occurs again, I will write the City of Scottsdale and ask if they will provide porta-potties outside the gate! Phew. Bring a small flashlight if you need to utilize the restrooms as it will be dark.

    Sunrise is 0552, so let's have introductions underway at 0545. Thanks! I am looking forward to Saturday!

    August 12, 2013

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