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Brown's Ranch Trailhead


Construction of the Brown’s Ranch Trailhead is well underway and expected to be complete in mid-2013.  Public parking and restrooms are still unavailable, but limited access to trails routed around the construction site are open to pedestrians and bicyclists.



Where will the trailhead be located?

The Brown’s Ranch Trailhead will be located in the northern region of the City of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve, approximately 1¼ miles north of the intersection of Alma School Parkway and Dynamite Boulevard. Click here to view a map.


What is the purpose of this trailhead?

The trailhead will provide parking and support amenities for public access to the extensive network of trails in the northern region of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  In 2010, the City acquired 2,000 acres of land in this area from the Arizona State Land Department, and an additional 4,400 acres in 2011.  Acquisition of 6,400 acres in 2012 brings the total land owned by the City in the northern region of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve to 14,800 acres.


What amenities will the trailhead include?

The first phase of the trailhead will include:
• Parking for at least 200 passenger vehicles (Up to 100 additional spaces potential in future phases)
• Parking for at least 24 horse trailers
• Restrooms
• Hitching rails and water trough
• Photovoltaic (solar) power system
• Graywater/rainwater harvesting
• Covered gathering area (ramada)
• Small educational amphitheater
• Interpretive, directional, and regulatory signage
• Low-level site lighting
• Small office/storage space with storage yard
• Drinking fountains for hikers and dogs
• Entry road with automatic access control gate


What are the design principles of the Trailhead?

Design principles are intended to limit potential impacts to the natural environment and adjacent neighborhoods, and include:
• Integrating amenities into the natural setting
• Minimizing visibility of structures
• Maximizing natural screens and buffers
• Avoiding archeological resources
• Avoiding significant natural features


Who can use the trailhead? 

The trailhead will be ADA compliant for use by the general public to access  the Preserve for non-motorized passive recreational purposes, including hiking, trail running, bicycle riding, horseback riding, rock climbing, sightseeing, and bird watching.


How will the trailhead be accessed?

Entry into the trailhead will be from the south via Alma School Parkway.  A cul-de-sac has been constructed at the northern terminus of Alma School.  The gated entry to the trailhead will continue north from the cul-de-sac, approximately ¼ mile to the trailhead.  The entry gate will limit trailhead access to daylight hours.


Who owns the trailhead?

The trailhead will be located in the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which is owned and operated by the City of Scottsdale.  The non-profit McDowell Sonoran Conservancy assists the City with Preserve operations and maintenance.


When was this project approved and whose idea was it?

An important management objective of the Preserve, dating back to the establishment of the Preserve in the mid 1990’s, is to provide access areas of sufficient size and with adequate amenities for appropriate public access.   The Preserve Access Areas Report was established based on this objective, and describes the general location and amenities of the Preserve trailheads, including Brown’s Ranch. 


What is the cost and funding source?

The project is funded by the 2004 Preserve Sales Tax.  The budget for design and construction is $3,875,000.


When will the trailhead be built?

The design process began in February, 2011.  Construction is anticipated to start in mid-summer of 2012, and be complete in mid-2013.  A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, October 19, 2013.