Hiking Hotspot: Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona
Camelback Mountain is a challenging hike in Phoenix, Arizona. At 2704 feet, it is the highest mountain in the city. Camelback is an extremely popular recreation area with both locals and tourists. The hump-like shape of the mountain gave this iconic hike its’ recognizable name. I love the idea of having a hiking area in the middle of an urban city; it’s a great way to get out and get some exercise in at the beginning or end of the day. Because of the hot desert climate, it’s best to set out for this hike very early in the morning. To beat both the heats and crowds, you will want to set your alarm very early.
This iconic hike was suggested to us by a family member while vacationing in the area. I absolutely loved this hike; a fabulous workout with a great uphill climb. I prefer desert hiking as the peaceful serenity brings you closer to nature.
Two routes to the summit
There are 2 main trails here, The Echo Canyon and The Cholla Trail. The Echo Canyon hike is a little over a mile each way, which makes it great for a weekend morning workout (before it gets too hot!). The views of Phoenix and the surrounding mountains are amazing. While short, the hike is very vigorous and should only be attempted by those in great shape. Also, it’s better to hike this trail during the cooler winter season. With over 1200 feet in elevation gain, this is no easy feat. Hiking during the hot spring and summer months will not make this hike any easier!
Note: The Cholla trail is a bit longer at 1.5 miles, still intense, but not as intense as the Echo trail.
Whether you are a local or tourist, get out there and enjoy a little bit of time away from the city. I know I will be back on my next visit!
Address: 5701 N. Echo Canyon Pkwy Phoenix, AZ 85073
Tips for a great hike
- Bring with a lot of water. Wear a camelback for easy access.
- Bring with a camera; there are lots of great photos to take of the city, cactuses, mountains, etc.
- Follow the marked paths
- Keep an eye out for snakes
- Go early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the heat
- Don’t exercise in extreme temperatures – this one is better suited for the fall/winter
Also be sure to check out my list of best things to do in Phoenix when it’s too hot (basically the entire year!).