Phoenix, Arizona offers hundreds of miles of hiking trails for all skill levels. There is a different trail here for every day of the year. The 365 Phoenix Hikes project is my endeavor to connect our stunning geography with the great surrounding neighborhoods. Homes for sale around Camelback Mountain are featured at the bottom of this post. See the growing catalog of the best hikes at the 365 Phoenix Hikes page.
Camelback Mountain is instantly recognizable on the Phoenix horizon. It’s also the crown jewel of the Valley’s trails to many local hikers.
There are two main trails to the Camelback Mountain peak. Cholla Trail is the longer (1.4 mile), less-intensive trail that requires only limited rock scrambling near the top. Echo Canyon Trail is the more vertical and grueling hike of the two trails.
I should probably refer to this trail as a climb instead of a hike. In fact, my thighs are still burning 24 hours after ascending Camelback Mountain on the Echo Canyon Trail. It’s rated as a double black diamond in terms of difficulty. Be prepared to use your hands.
The Echo Canyon Trail does not require technical climbing equipment, but it does oblige you to be in reasonable physical condition. You will experience hand-over-hand rock scrambling, grab rails and will be navigating for footholds around desk-sized boulders on a 45-degree incline. Adequate upper body strength is needed on the 100 ft. grab-rail sections of the trail at about the halfway point.
The Echo Canyon trail is 1.2 miles from the parking lot to the peak. The elevation is 1,394 at the trailhead parking lot and 2,705 at the summit for a total elevation gain of 1,311 feet over a relatively short distance.
Parking at the trail is in high demand on the weekends. Expect to wait in a line for a parking space at peak hours. Friends of mine park at a nearby supermarket, stock up on snacks and drinks, then take a $6 Uber ride to the trailhead in order to save time.
Here is a map to the Echo Canyon Trailhead at 4925 E. McDonald Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85018. Trail hours are sunrise to sunset. Public restrooms and water fountains are available at the parking lot. Dogs are prohibited on the Echo Canyon Trail.
Views from the Camelback Mountain peak are spectacular. Paradise Valley, Arcadia, and Scottsdale luxury home communities skirt Camelback Mountain at each point on the compass. These include Arcadia Estates, Heritage Hills and Glencoe Highlands.
The Camelback Mountain trails attract tourists who may not be prepared for this intense hour-plus hike to the top. All too often, helicopter rescues on Camelback make the 6 o’clock evening news featuring an injured or dehydrated hiker. Take plenty of water, a hat, and a generous slathering of sunscreen. Next time, I will even consider taking a pair of gloves. I used a pair of hiking poles along that saved my knees on the descent.
If you want to gradually work your way up to a Camelback hike, consider these trails first, in this order: Lookout Mountain, North Mountain, Shaw Butte, Pinnacle Peak and then Piestewa (Squaw) Peak. The summit on Piestewa is only 90 feet shy of the Camelback peak. After Piestewa Peak, you will be cognitively prepared for the Echo Canyon Trail on Camelback Mountain.
When the climb is finished, reward yourself with a tall margarita at one of my favorite Paradise Valley bars. The El Chorro restaurant at 5550 E. Lincoln Drive offers panorama views of Camelback Mountain from its bar area and south patio. Pair your El Chorro Margarita with their Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Cakes appetizer at sunset. It will be a great way to celebrate your hiking adventure.
Homes For Sale Near Camelback Mountain