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Trip Planning Guide
Hike Arizona: Phoenix
Cholla Trail, Camelback Mountain
Hike: Seen from miles around, Camelback Mountain is a Phoenix
landmark and Valley of the Sun centerpiece. Heaps of rusty boulders give
way to green slopes dotted with $1 million homes.
The hike is strenuous, about 1 1/2 miles steep, uphill all the way. There
is some boulder climbing. Gloves help. We will use the Cholla Trail off of
Invergordon Road. Parking is on the street and very limited so we will
Cholla Trail: To avoid much of the urban hiking bravado, try scaling
Camelback from the east. This more gradual slope begins near Invergordon off
Cholla Lane just north of Camelback Road. Parking is along the side of
Invergordon, which gives urban mountaineers a little walking warm up before
hitting the trail.
The first part of the 1.5-mile trail skirts several holes along the Phoenician's
golf course. Steering away from wealthy, knicker-clad vacationers,
the path continues at a steady 15 percent grade. At times becoming obscured, the
trail snakes over and around moderate-size boulders before spilling onto the
summit. All in all a great alternative to the main drag.
Echo Canyon Recreation Area (Camelback Mountain)
Outdoor USA - Camelback
If you're looking for a nice, short, inner city, family hike this
isn't your bag. The average grade on this trail is 18 degrees.
Camelback or the Flatiron blow this trail away in grade and distance.
At least when you approach those you expect it. Heading into this
short six-tenth of a mile lure to the summit you just don't expect
- Difficulty (1-5) 1 easiest
- Distance round trip 1.2 miles
- Elevation Gain 600 feet
- Average Time round trip 1 hour
From the Maricopa Picnic Ramada trail #44 takes off north. A steep
ascent leads you up to a set of steps on your left. This short set of
steps takes you to a road. Follow this road up the majority of the hike.
You may be disappointed as the road takes out the natural aspect of
hiking. Although you may not rate this as your favorite hike, a change
of pace is nice.
Once near the radio towers trail #44 continues a short distance up.
Looking south you almost have a direct view straight down Central Avenue.
Not quite though, you're actually more in line with what would be 1st or
2nd street. Having driven through 22 miles of solid city to get to North
Mountain I began to wonder. What gives this mountain the honor of being
the "North" mountain? Especially knowing the city doesn't even
begin to end here I checked it out. Lookout Mountain is further north and
falls into the Phoenix Mountain Preserves too, so forget that theory.
When the city was small and Central Avenue dominated the landscape this
was north. Way back when, North Mountain was a camping area for the
Phoenix Indian School.
Other views include: to the south is, you guessed it, South Mountain
with the Estrellas behind and west, to the east and a bit south is a
great view of Squaw Peak, looking north northeast is Lookout Mountain,
the mountain directly northwest is Shaw Butte. Shaw Butte appears to be
considerably less in elevation. In reality it's a few feet higher.
Return by the same way or ... Continue down the ridgeline and enjoy the
views of Phoenix. Steep sections are encountered along the way. Follow
the North Mountain Loop Drive back to the Maricopa picnic ramada.
Directions to trail: In Phoenix, at 7th & Peoria on the west side
of the road. Head on up the park loop drive. The trailhead is located
at the Maricopa Picnic Ramada on the north western end of the loop.
Ample parking available or you could park several other places within
a small walk. Restrooms and pay phones available at the park center.
- Entrance Fee - none
- Permit - None
- Road, Vehicle - Paved
- Nearest supplies - Phoenix
- Water available and source - at park center
- Seasons - Early Spring, Late Fall, Winter
- Cell phone signal - Yes
- Preferred month (s) - October-March
- Preferred start time - before 3pm
- Wildflowers - March - May
- Trailhead Elevation - 1500 feet
|updated March 18, 2019|