We joined some friends this past month to hike Brown’s Ranch Trail in Scottsdale. The weather was perfect; this time of year in Phoenix is the best for hiking.
Brown’s Ranch Trail is a 4 mile loop with some nice desert contrast. We hiked counter clock wise, on the Ranch trail and Upper Ranch Trail and started off with the flat portion and Palo verde trees. The trail seemed to follow a couple washes too, so use caution after rain. Curving around Brown’s Mountain, the last mile or so is more scenic with tall saguaros, and has a handful of large dips on the trail.
In retrospect, it might have been nicer to knock out the slightly moderate portion first, saving the flat trail for tired feet! Going clockwise is also an excellent option if you’re wanting a short but scenic hike, like a mile in and then back. Another option is to follow Brown’s Ranch Trail towards the summit. This route is 3.7 miles, but also more rocky and steeper.
All of these options are easily found on the free maps available at the trailhead! Helpful volunteers are usually present for questions as well. Or, download the free AllTrails app, find the route, and you can keep on track via the map without having to pay for the app upgrade.
The trailhead has a large parking lot, restrooms, water, and trail maps. When we visited on a Friday, there was a side nature area open briefly, and a volunteer handing out stickers! No fee to park or hike. Located at 30301 Alma School Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85262 . Gates currently open at 7am, and close at 6pm.
Tip of the day: hike with friends! Having other kids along on the adventure is always a good motivator. We had the goal of hiking 2 miles that day, and ended up doing the entire 4 mile loop because friends kept us going! (In fact, did you notice there’s no video documentation of our 8 year old? He was there! Just off with friends the entire hike, ha.) If you’re looking for local meetups, try Hike it Baby.