Hello Hiking Enthusiasts! This week the weather is still fairly cool, so it is a good opportunity to take a hike on Camelback Mountain, arguably one of the most famous landmarks within the city of Phoenix.
The mountain, named for its vague resemblance to the humps of a camel, has an elevation of 2,706ft at its peak. This gives hikers an opportunity to get a spectacular view of the whole Phoenix Metropolitan Area. There are two major trails, Echo Canyon Trail and the Cholla Trail. They are both considered fairly challenging trails and should not be attempted without proper planning and moderate hiking experience.
The Cholla Trailhead starts on the east side of the mountain just north of 64th St and Camelback Rd, off of E Chapparel Rd. Parking is available on that street or on 64th between Chapparel Rd and E Jackrabbit Rd. Camelback Mountain is a busy hiking destination year-round, so it can be difficult to find parking if you do not get there early enough. I recommend that you get there by is 7:30 AM if you want to find parking, the earlier is definitely better. Since the trailhead starts off in the east, if you go just before sunrise, you can catch spectacular views of the sun and the valley.
From the parking area, it is about a half-mile walk to the trailhead. There are no restrooms or facilities near the trailhead, so you will want to plan accordingly. The trail itself is just under 1.5 miles, but it gains over 1200ft in elevation; the first 2/3 of the hike is a rocky, steep, winding incline trail, after which the terrain becomes even rougher and you will have to do some minor scrambling or climbing, There is also no shade available as you hike up the mountain, which means hiking up during the summer can be intense. This is why you should plan for the trail by wearing proper hiking boots, gloves, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen, and most importantly, bringing enough water to stay hydrated.
The trail is open from Sunrise to Sunset and is busy throughout the whole day. It takes about 1.5-2 hours or more to hike the whole trail from top to bottom. Again, it is a very challenging trail, but the scenery up the mountain and the view from the top of the mountain is worth it.