Browns Peak via Brown's Trail

HARD 124 reviews
#7 of 115 trails in

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. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1909 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

hiking
3 days 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 days 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
18 days 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.

23 days 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
26 days 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
1 month 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.

1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

off road driving
1 month 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
2 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
2 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
2 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!!

2 months ago

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

hiking
2 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
3 months ago

get ready to scramble

hiking
3 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!

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome trail. The first two-thirds is moderate and peaceful. We didn’t start until around 12:30pm. Pockets of cool, crisp air along with patches of snow made it a perfect escape from the desert. Beautiful plants, animals and scenery all around.
The last third is tougher, but don’t talk yourself out of it. So worth the climb through the chute. I will absolutely be doing this again.
As for the drive up there, make sure you’re comfortable driving a vehicle that can handle rough, dirt roads, gravel, some rock and you’re not afraid of heights. 4x4, no problem. We did only have a 2-wheel drive smaller truck, though, and made it just fine. Saw a couple of mini vans and a sedan all the way up there... but I wouldn’t recommend.
Get out there!

3 months ago

First time hiking this trail yesterday with my son and wife, amazing trail!!!!!! Beautiful views some snow and not too windy!!! The hike is pretty moderate until the saddle then it's a climb to the top!!! Will definitely be hiking this trail again

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful place, the chute was probably the most difficult. hug the left. well worth it. saw blue jays deer and numerous other animals.

4 months ago

Amazing.... must do!! Definitely a scramble to the top with some vertical climbing and extreme exposure...exhilarating!!! Definitely suggest 4WD to get there. However, I did see a van making its way up to the trail head. The first two miles to the saddle is a moderate ascent. Beautiful views all along and at the saddle. If your looking for a challenge....continue on....you will be rewarded by breathtaking views from the top!!!

hiking
5 months ago

You must access the trailhead, Lone Pine, via highways 87 or 188. I met friends who came from 87 and they said it took them an hour on the dirt road, about 18 miles of rocky, rough road. I came from 188, about 8 miles of dirt road with mild rocks which took maybe a half hour. We chose to all leave the way I came from 188 because the dirt road conditions being more favorable. It will save you time and the hassle if you don’t have a 4x4 vehicle to come from 188.

If you ask me you need to be ready for some physical exertion on this hike, especially should you choose to continue on to another one of the four peaks. The first half of this trail is easy but the bouldering of the last quarter of the hike is difficult.

hiking
6 months ago

Always a fun and challenging hike. The trail is getting a bit over grown with a lot of downed trees. We did see an eight point buck about 30 feet off the trail. The leaves are just beginning to change.

hiking
6 months ago

We really enjoyed this out and back hike. Some nice views through and above the treeline. We timed it right and caught all of the foliage in bloom. Some scrambling is needed towards the end.

The trail is dog-friendly, our 7 y.o JRT trail dog had an easy go at it until she tuckered out (must have been the elevation :-)

Please note that to get to the TH may require a high ground clearance vehicle (lots of washboard and rocky dirt road). 4WD is not necessary (we saw a Honda Accord parked at the TH) but care is needed around turns with the ATV traffic.

7 months ago

Great hike! Last mile takes good climbing skills. It will take a good hiker 4 hours the first time.

hiking
8 months ago

Excellent hike! The trail is well market all the way to saddle where you just need to climb towards the peak following your instincts :-o However the view are beautiful. It took me 4 hours. You need 4WD to get to the trailhead.

hiking
8 months ago

This is a excellent and challenging hike, due to the technical climb the last 1/4 mile to the summit. You are required to climb almost vertical rock face and at times make your own path through the chute & on to the summit, there is little margin for error here. BUT if you enjoy climbing and a good workout the view is 100% worth it. Watch out for cactus in the foot and handle holds! Take your time navigating the summit, there are no trail markings and its easy to get lost trying to find your way back down. Few nice areas to camp along the way up.
You can get to the trail head two ways, Off AZ 87 via FSR 143 (Cline Cabin Rd) or off AZ 188 via El Oso Rd. The FSR 143 route will take you almost an hour to hit the trail head, a 4x4 vehicle with some clearance is recommended. (A sedan on this road would be a nightmare). I've read traveling from El Oso Rd is a little more manageable. Don't forget to enjoy the ride in, Tonto's scenery is absolutely breathtaking and always wild.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful views, super smooth trail until just past the saddle. Easy to lose the trail at ths top but worth finding it.

hiking
9 months ago

What a journey! It was quite a drive out there. I took 88 to 188. 88 is a lot of dirt road. Some of it is single-lane. But it's good scenery. It goes by Canyon Lake. Lots of windy road. And I'm glad I had my 4x4 for the drive from 188 to the trailhead. That certainly made it easier, I'm sure.

The hike was pretty easy for most of it. The first 2 miles is just a steady little incline. There was some bush and trees overgrowth on the path. So wear pants if you're worried about getting your legs scratched up (I wore shorts...wasn't too bad. I got a few scrapes). Once you get to the Y where the trail splits, you start climbing. Not so bad at first. Then it gets steeper and trickier. From this point, it's an extremely difficult and dangerous hike. It's mainly dangerous because of the loose gravel and stones. Very easy to slip (especially coming down!). It reminds me of Flatrock, as in you go straight up the wash until it ends. But unlike Flatrock (where you turn right at the top), here you start climbing up the left just before the very top of the wash. It's really easy to miss it. I passed it and spent 10 minutes looking around trying to find the trail. I should have taken pics to post. But you get GPS through the app for most of the trail (although I still couldn't find it for awhile). When I did find it, it's a short, sketchy climb to the top. Amazing view! It's quite an awesome hike! I just wish it was better marked. Maybe someone can take some spray paint and mark the trail a bit.

As I said, lots of loose rock. Be extremely careful coming down! And look out for people above and below you as rocks skid down the wash a lot!

hiking
10 months ago

Definitely not a beginner trail, it is easy to get lost up here so go with a gps if your land nav skills are lacking. I came across 2 lost hikers up near the sumit last time. They yelled to me from the next ridge over stating they were lost. I was able to use a whistle to guide them to my position and was able to help them back down to the parking lot from there. They got lucky because I was the only other soul on the mountain. Anyway, Just a fair warning that this terrain is rugged and unforgiving and extremely remote. Bring plenty of water! With all of that said this is the best trail to hike in the area. It's challenging enough and the views are to die for!!

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