Browns Peak via Brown's Trail is a 4.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Tortilla Flat, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
4.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,909 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

The road to the trailhead is not paved.

1 day ago

My favorite Maricopa County hike. Cool air, trees, adrenaline, and jaw-dropping vistas. If you have a fear of heights, however, or if you don’t trust your arm strength/balance, do not attempt to reach the top. As others have mentioned, the chute (the area in between the two northernmost peaks) can be quite intimidating, especially for inexperienced climbers. That being said, I’d guess it’s doable for about 90% of people who are reading this.

As a further warning, keep an eye out for the turnoff on your way down the chute. Due to the steep descent, it’s easy to keep your eyes on the ground and miss the trail. That happened to us, but as a result, we were rewarded with a truly awe-inspiring sunset. Best views in Maricopa County.

hiking
14 days ago

I’ve always been an avid hiker who puts his fear of heights aside to get up to the top, and this peak was no different. However, I admit it definitely was a challenge for me. The last approx 0.2 miles of the trail gains about 800 feet in elevation. With an average incline of 37 degrees and some parts significantly steeper, my adrenaline was definitely rushing on some of the cliffs that were our route. It was incredibly worth it. The fact it rained made it dangerous, so check the weather (and yesterday’s). The last 1/2 mile before reaching the sharp incline is poorly defined. Follow closely to avoid pushing yourself to go through misleading treacherous ways to get to the same place... although, some of that was great fun! Lastly, the views couldn’t be beat in the area.

15 days ago

Great hike all the way around.

24 days ago

Giving this a 5 star review was a great climb at the top. Really I dont think it's as bad as every one was making it out to be it was foggy and rained the night before so some rocks were slippery. honestly the part I thought was the worst was the loose rock about 50' from the top as opposed to the 50' climb right at the top. Drive was long and hard on the jeep but driving out to the north seemed to be a better alternative. 4wd not needed high clearance helps. I would not try in a car but some people do and make it.

26 days ago

climbing the chute is not for everyone. take gloves. go slow. 3 points of contact at the sketchy parts. at 2 spots I basically had to do a pullup and was thinking how the hell am I gonna get down! when you go under the tree at what you think is the top, make a hard left to proceed up the last part. I left a beer at the top in the container. perfect fit! someone else brought the container and notepad. dont drink it, it gets windy and needs the weight! share your photos!

1 month ago

Very nice hike up and fun run down! It’s better to have a high clearance vehicle for the dirt road but there were sedans and compact cars at the trailhead too. I can imagine that it could be treacherous toward the top during inclement weather.
There was a spot near the top where a group of us were clambering up a steep area , it seemed like doing a hanging pull-up was the only way to do it. We tried to help a hiker make a scary jump down from there... only to realize that some other hikers had found a simple walk around that area.

hiking
1 month ago

Tapped out at the wall about 100’ from the summit and decided to live to tell the tale. Ah well, still an awesome hike and I’m sure that I’ll make it the next time.
Go slow and be safe...and yes, the dirt road is pretty bad. It’s a long drive from Mesa to Roosevelt Lake, but it’s worth it to drive less on the dirt road in my opinion.
I’ll be back!

hiking
1 month ago

I’ve never enjoyed doing something as dangerous as the level three scrambling you must get through to make way to the summit of Brown’s. The trail to the saddle was moderate and just slightly over 2 miles. The scramble after the saddle makes this a difficult trail however. I will say, if you do not feel comfortable, turn around Remember, it’s not just up you have to go but back down as well!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! I had an easy time following the trail and loved the climb at the end. Beautiful views

4 months ago

One of my favorites!
2 things you need to know.
1- it's rough driving to get there, but the road from Roosevelt lake is much smoother and shorter than the one closer to Phoenix. you need clearance, 4 wd isn't necessary but helpful
2- the last run is very steep and dangerous, careless hikers above you may drop rocks and people die from falls. but it's very very doable. just be aware.

additionally, I know I would get grief for this, but I hike off trail to get down. on your decent, before you get to the steep drop, I turn down toward the parking lot. it's loose dirt in some areas and I would guess if there's leaves on the trees you might lose your bearings. but it was an excellent decision for us as we were running out of sunlight, we beat others down while had left the summit 30 minutes before us.

5 months ago

Hiked it during the day and then again 6 hours later to catch the eclipse a few months ago. If you get towards the top late in the day to see the sun start to set the view is best around Phoenix IMO

6 months ago

Easy hike for first 2 miles, then scramble comes up on you. Be ready to climb. Requires athleticism and no fear of heights. Spectacular view at the top. Highly reccomend for those capable.

hiking
6 months ago

**Read this if you want to take your dog...**
I hiked this amazing trail two weeks ago with my 50 lb 8 year old trail seasoned blue weimaraner who hikes mountain trails 4-7 times a week. The trail was fine, easy even, until we had to climb over the large boulder. We did it but there is a ledge about a foot wide on the other side of the boulder with a 20 foot drop below. My dog was not a fan! Two of us handled her by harness to get her over and pass her down. (I was told by a friend you can go around that boulder-Just like you can go around the 12ft wall on Flat Iron) After this point the trail increases significantly in vertical climb up to the peak. Up is never the issue-as you know down is harder. We got about 3/4 of the way on this part of the trail to the top of the peak before we tapped out! We probably could have climbed it, but the decent would have been dangerous and irresponsible for both me and my dog to attempt together. This dog has hiked Flat Iron in the Sups, Humphreys and hikes Black Mountain in Cave Creek 3-6 times a week-all labeled as difficult hikes. Take your dog if you don't mind NOT climbing to the peak. The entire hike round trip took 2 hours for very seasoned hikers with stops. I would recommend bringing gloves.
We will return this weekend without my dog.

***Road driving caution. I drive a Jeep Trailhawk -I drove this 18 mile forest road fast and rough. It was a lot of fun but it loosened 2 heat shields and broke 3 motor mounts--I can't entirely blame the road for the motor mounts, they may have been close to needing to be replaced. But drive fast and fun knowing the risks...

hiking
6 months ago

Great Sunday morning hike. Great 360 degree views. Started out around 9:30am and finished up around noon. Would recommend an earlier start from now through the hot months as it was approaching 85 when we finished up. There is no shade on the trail. Bring plenty of water & sunscreen. Wear hiking footwear as it’s very rocky on the trail, especially, the first half. Great hike!!

hiking
7 months ago

What a great trail! Fantastic views along the way and of course at the top. The hike is fairly easy until you get to the chute. Take your time going up and you should be fine, only a few questionable spots.

hiking
7 months ago

What an epic hike/scramble/climb. Not too crazy as far as route finding, but makes up for it with the difficulty of the scree chute. Not sure how/why Alltrails considers this dog friendly.

7 months ago

Really worth the work! About an 1-1/2 drive out to the trailhead and then a nice trail. Once you hit the saddle it’s a bit more elevation. Few sketchy spots near the top - we just went slow and watched our footing. Exhilarating view at the top with thousands of lady bugs. And we could see mount Humphrey’s.

hiking
7 months ago

OMG there was snow! This was our second time up Browns Peak but we didn't expect snow in March. As Canadians, we aren't afraid of a little snow and decided to go for it anyway and see what we could do. As usual, the views going up are gorgeous and the trail was in good shape. Scree Chute is intimidating enough without ice and snow, but with it...wow! Other people were coming down so we decided to go for it. With hiking boots and gloves we made our way to the top and back down again. It was super sketchy though. I'm glad I can say I've done it in the snow, but I don't think I'd attempt it again. Free climbing in those conditions is unpredictable and I'm just not sure it's worth the stress. Browns Peak is still a favourite and absolutely beautiful up-top. I will definitely do this one again, sans snow!

hiking
8 months ago

I honestly love this hike. It involves a little bit of rock climbing/scaling. Views are pretty amazing. If you go during the spring months be sure to bring bug spray. For the avid hiker, I would give a moderate rating since it does have some climbing. For a beginner, I would say it's difficult. The road up there is the worst part - long & bumpy. That's the only reason why I've only gone once. Otherwise, I'd be there all the time.

8 months ago

Great hike with most of it through a pine forest on nice dirt trail. Once you ascend over the pines, you come to Brown's Saddle and the imposing peak is ready for you to climb. Difficult climb and we reached a chute that is listed as a Class-4 exposed scramble so we stopped a couple hundred feet from the top. We will be back and get to the peak!

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike, easy stroll to the base of the peak. After you get to the base it gets a little tricky. If you aren’t too experienced, take it nice and slow. Once we got to the top we hung out for about a half hour and talked about how we never wanted to leave this view. It’s amazing. The hike took about 4 hours, but that was very casual. We saw some people with a dog, but I wouldn’t recommend at all.

hiking
8 months ago

This hike was terrifying to me. My fear of heights doesn't help.

off road driving
8 months ago

The hike and drive were great.

First the drive - I took the road from the Beeline Hwy (87) to the trailhead. I was in a 2wd Suburban. For all those people who say that you need 4wd, they are wrong. I think they are conflating the term 4wd with high clearance. Any 2wd high clearance vehicle will work. There was not a single place on the drive in that I was ever remotely concerned about being stuck. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend a sedan or crossover. I also wouldn’t recommend any vehicle with low profile tires because there are lots of rocks that could puncture your sidewalls. The drive was about 1.5-2 hours from the Beeline so be prepared. However, it was very scenic and enjoyable.

On to the trail, it was great. You start in a deciduous forest and move on up to the rocky portions above the trees. The chute looks extremely challenging from the saddle, but it’s doable. Unfortunately when I went (late February), it was during a cold snap and by the time I got about 100 feet from the top, all of the footholds were full of ice. I could see the top, but there was no safe way for me to make it to the top. I was extremely disappointed, but I’ll be back when it warms up.

For those wanting to know how it compares to the Flatiron: they are similar. Brown’s is less physically grueling (less elevation gain), and less crowded. However, there are more technical areas in Brown’s. Browns is also nice in that you park and you’re immediately on the trail, as opposed to Flatiron where you park and then have about a mile long flat(ish) walk on big stones that can twist your ankle and is not scenic.

hiking
9 months ago

We came down through Roosevelt Lake in a Forester and it was a nice off roading adventure. Browns Peak is definitely a more advanced hike with scrambling especially when you get to the saddle for a good mile or what seems like two. Bring a warm jacket, gloves and hiking boots. So many people on the trail with running shoes etc and you need something that grips well and gives ankle support! Good luck, enjoy the view!

hiking
9 months ago

Amazing hike. We took the road off 87 cause ~adventure~ but 4WD was necessary. The hike starts out as a moderate incline, then the last mile or so is literally rock climbing. Gloves would’ve been helpful. It’s windy at the summit so bring a jacket and def don’t forget the Four Peaks beer to enjoy at the top

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike! Regretted taking the road from 87 on the way there. Have a ford ranger and it barely got us there. Tool the road to 188 on the way home and it was way better!!

9 months ago

Perfect trip. I will hike this mountain to its peaks many more times.

hiking
9 months ago

So fun to get to the top of this conspicuous Phoenix landmark! Definitely some hands and feet scrambling to get to the summit. Helmets are a very good idea given loose rock and given that there may very well be other people climbing above you.

We found the county road coming up from 188 (east) to be in much better shape than the road that ascends from 87 (west).

hiking
10 months ago

get ready to scramble

hiking
10 months ago

Loved this hike! Absolutely will be back . Would be beautiful in fall with leaves changing! Nice trail with a gradual incline . We started hiking at 9. Dress for it to be chilly in the morning but able to take off a layer . 3/4 of the way you will hit the saddle . Great viewpoint. Short distance after you will get to a white rocky wash that leads all the way up. If you keep going on the trail it will lead you to the other peaks and eventually a private property that you can not continue. Took about 45 mins each way from the wash if your up for a longer hike. The hike up from the wash is challenging but lots of fun. Be careful! We drove a Passat to the trailhead using the suggestion of using highway 188 and it was perfect . Enjoy!

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