Camelback Mountain is a popular hiking destination. At the 2,700 foot summit there are incredible views of the entire Phoenix Valley.
There are two hiking trails up the mountain, Echo Canyon and Cholla. I chose the well-marked Cholla Trail. Bring plenty of water and allow for a couple of hours.
If you're looking for a great workout with beautiful views, the Cholla Trail is for you. Cholla gains 1,300 feet over 1.6 miles and is less crowded than the busier Echo Canyon trail.
The parking situation at Camelback Mountain is horrible. I saw people sitting in cars waiting for the limited parking spots to open up. Parking is even worse on the weekends when there are climbers galore. Look for parking space on Invergordon Road (aka 64th St) and walk up Cholla Lane. It’s a ½ mile walk to the trailhead.
The first mile of the Cholla Trail is an easy slope, but once you reach the saddle, the trail becomes a scramble to the top.
Watch your handholds for rattlesnakes and lizards.
My wife and I met many fit climbers who were running up the trail. Think you have a fast ascent in you? Join the Camelback Mountain Climbers and they’ll help you to time your climb.
Calling all Iron Men and Iron Women - looking for a serious workout? You can run the five miles from the Magnuson Hotel Papago Inn to the base of the trail at Camelback and then hike the mountain. Run along the Cross Cut Canal to the Arizona Canal to Camelback Mountain. You won't have to worry about parking!
Story and Photos by Bret and Trisha Wirta