ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ultimate Urban Hiking Experience: Camelback Mountain, Phoenix AZ

Updated on January 6, 2018
punacoast profile image

The author lives in a quiet rural community in lower Puna on the Big Island. He's an avid gardener, traveler, and photographer.

Curious rock formation at trailhead.
Curious rock formation at trailhead. | Source
Fantastic red sandstone formation!
Fantastic red sandstone formation! | Source

Camelback Mountain is a famous landmark in Phoenix, AZ. It is also a very popular hiking spot for local residents and out-of-town visitors. The steep and notoriously difficult trails leading to the summit stay busy all year round. Hikers, climbers, outdoor enthusiasts, and thrill seekers from all over the world (about 300,000 of them each year) flock here to experience the extreme physical challenge of hiking this mountain. It is named Camelback Mountain because it resembles a resting camel with a large hump on its back.

Amazing view along the trail!
Amazing view along the trail! | Source
Half way up the trail
Half way up the trail | Source
Still more to go!
Still more to go! | Source

With the summit at 2,704 feet above sea level, this massive natural wonder - made of ancient sandstone and granite - has the highest peak in the entire Phoenix Valley region. Reaching the summit, exhausted hikers are rewarded with the breathtaking (literally!) 360o birds-eye view of the cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale below, as well as the stunning vista of mountains and valleys on the horizon.

It’s hard to believe that Camelback Mountain is actually an urban city park! Located in Echo Canyon Recreation Area, it’s practically surrounded by densely populated residential neighborhoods and commercial areas, and only a short distance from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Easy access and convenient location within a major metropolitan area are the main reasons why Camelback Mountain hiking trails are so popular and busy all the time!

Made it to the summit.
Made it to the summit. | Source
Enjoy a big blue sky on the summit.
Enjoy a big blue sky on the summit. | Source
Don't look down!
Don't look down! | Source
Harris' antelope squirrels make their home on the mountain.
Harris' antelope squirrels make their home on the mountain. | Source

Camelback Mountain has an interesting history. It is also home to a variety of fascinating desert wildlife including rattle snakes, lizards, cottontail rabbits, ground squirrels, and turkey vultures. Typical desert plants like cactus and mesquite grow all over the mountain. Killer bees are also found here, building their nest in crevices along the rock walls. Unfortunately, there have been a few incidents of hikers being attacked by swarms of these aggressive bees. Official warning signs are posted along the trails to alert hikers of known beehive locations.

Hiking with a group of friends is highly recommended.
Hiking with a group of friends is highly recommended. | Source
The long, hard descending!
The long, hard descending! | Source

To conquer this mountain, you have to hike on one of the two designated trails that lead to the summit: Echo Canyon Trail and Cholla Trail. They are both rated difficult due to the strenuous hike through steep and uneven rocky terrain (you will have to climb on hands and knees over big boulders!), with plenty of dizzying drops on either side of the trails!

  • Echo Canyon Trail (about 1.2 miles each way, 1,280 feet elevation gain) starts at the northern end of Echo Canyon Recreation Area. This trail is the most popular one because of its spectacular view of the red rock formations and sheer vertical canyon walls. Note: As of January 2013, this trail has been closed for improvement projects and will re-open later this fall.
  • Cholla Trail begins at the southwestern end of Echo Canyon Recreation Area. It’s a little longer (about 1.6 miles each way, 1,200 feet elevation gain) but less steep than Echo Canyon Trail. It’s also less busy and has great views of the luxury resorts and golf courses at the base of the mountain.

A
Camelback Mountain (Echo Canyon Recreation Area):

get directions

Hiking down from the summit.
Hiking down from the summit. | Source

Have you ever hiked Camelback Mountain trails?

See results

Hiking Tips

- Trail map is available at City of Phoenix Parks & Recreation website.

- The challenging hike to the summit takes about 1.5 to 2 hours each way, depends on your physical conditions and abilities.

- Wear sturdy shoes, bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water!

- Bring cell phone in case of emergency and also don’t forget your camera!

- Stay on the trail and yield to other hikers who would like to pass you. Believe it or not, there are many athletic & fit locals who use the trail for their daily workout - jogging and hopping over rocks up & down the mountain!

- Take breaks and rest along the way, stay within your physical limitations.

- It can get quite crowded (adrenaline pumping frenzy mop!) on the summit, as everyone wants to snap pictures and competes for the best shot. Just be aware of those precarious cliff ledges!

- The best time to hike is in early morning (cooler temperature) or late afternoon (sun goes behind the rock cliff so there’s more shade).

- On late afternoon hike, if you want to stay on the summit and catch the sunset, you will need a good flashlight for the hike down in the dark.

Author's friend Taka on top of Camelback Mountain.
Author's friend Taka on top of Camelback Mountain. | Source

About This Article

Despite his great fear of heights, the author successfully completed the Camelback Mountain hike in December 2012. Big thanks to his friend Taka (who lives in Phoenix) who encouraged and helped him all along this unforgettable hike!

All photos were taken by the author with a SamsungPL120 DualView 14.2MP Digital Camera.


All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2012 Viet Doan (punacoast)


© 2013 Viet Doan

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)