Brown’s Ranch Perimeter Loop
The Brown's Ranch Perimeter Loop travels through the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, looping around Granite Mountain and Brown’s Mountain. This entire loop is 22.5 km, but the intricate network of trails in this area allows you easily lengthen or shorten your hike. Speaking of hiking, this route can be enjoyed by hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers. Make sure you share the trail!
You can see Balanced Rock and the Amphitheater on this hike. The saguaros, the mountains, and the rock formations make for great scenery, and the trail’s packed sand/gravelly footing is easy to cruise over. The junctions you’ll encounter are not always signed and there are lots of them, so having a GPS track on hand will make your adventures a bit easier. Expect moderate mixed traffic.
Join our newsletter
Get a weekly dose of discounts and inspiration for adventure lovers
Route Description for Brown’s Ranch Perimeter Loop
The Brown’s Ranch Perimeter Loop is a fantastic adventure through the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. This loop makes use of several different trails over 14 miles. You can tailor your length if needed by using the many interconnecting trails to shorten or lengthen your hike. Note that this route is also great for trail runners and mountain bikers, so remember to share the trail and look out for one another.
This loop circles Brown’s Mountain and Granite Mountain, giving you excellent views of both. You can also enjoy views of Balanced Rock and the Amphitheater. With saguaros all around and wildflowers in the spring, the scenery out here is fabulous for being not far outside of Phoenix.
We recommend bringing along a downloaded GPS track to help you find your way in this area. The network of trails is extensive and it can be a bit tough to navigate in this area, especially if you decide you want to return early and need to make your own shorter loop.
As with all hikes in this area, we don’t recommend going on this hike in the summer months, and no matter what time of year you visit, bring lots of water (especially if you plan on the entire loop), sun protection (there is little shade), and bring water for your dogs, too.
Our guide covers the route going clockwise. From the trailhead, take the Upper Ranch Trail. Continue on this trail past Cone Mountain, then take a sharp left onto Brown’s Ranch Road. Take a right onto Corral Trail, then bear left onto High Desert Trail. Continue on High Desert.
Bear right onto Coyote Canyon Trail, which leads you south towards Granite Mountain. When you hit the T-junction at the base of Granite Mountain, go left. Take a moment to enjoy the view at the viewpoint on the eastern side of Granite Mountain.
From this viewpoint, continue on the Granite Mountain Loop until you go left at the short connector trail that leads to Balanced Rock Trail. Bear right here. Continue past the Amphitheater, now on Cholla Mountain Loop. Bear left onto a connector trail and then right onto Maverick.
At the next T, go left onto Brown’s Ranch Road. You will follow this trail back to the trailhead.
Hiking Route Highlights
McDowell Sonoran Preserve
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a permanently protected desert habitat north of Scottsdale, Arizona. This preserve offers a vast network of hiking, biking, running, and equestrian trails. The preserve contains Granite Mountain and Brown’s Mountain, among other lower peaks. In this protected habitat, local flora and fauna are able to thrive, providing an excellent experience for visitors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who owns the McDowell Sonoran Preserve?
The preserve is owned by the residents of Scottsdale and managed through a partnership with the City of Scottsdale and the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization.
How big is the McDowell Sonoran Preserve?
The preserve covers more than 30,500 acres.
Where was the Granite Mountain fire?
The Granite Mountain in this preserve was not the site of the highly publicized Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. The fire occurred near Yarnell, Arizona, about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix.
Insider Hints for Brown’s Ranch Perimeter Loop
- Since this is a diverse protected natural area, make sure you stay on the designated trails to prevent damage to plants and wildlife habitat.
- There can be rattlesnakes in this preserve. If you encounter a rattlesnake, leave it alone and back away slowly and deliberately. Rattlesnakes will not chase you.
Getting to the Brown’s Ranch Perimeter Loop Trailhead
The trailhead for the Brown's Ranch Perimeter Loop is on Alma School Road.
Brown’s Ranch Perimeter Loop Elevation Graph
Weather ForecastCheck Area Weather
Brown’s Ranch Perimeter Loop Reviews
Add a comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.