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Hike Arizona: Phoenix
Apache Wash
Badger Brawl
Bartlett Lake: Palo Verde Trail
Buckeye: Skyline Regional Park
Camelback Mountain: Cholla Trail
Carefree: Brazaletes Pueblo Ruin
Carefree: Desperados
Cave Creek: Go John Trail
Cave Creek: Mc. Spur to Spear
Cave Creek Trail #4
Christiansen Trail
Deem Hill
Dixie Mountain
Elephant Mountain
Lake Pleasant: Big Jim
Lake Pleasant: Walkin’ Jim
North Mountain
Pipeline Canyon
Quartz Loop, Twobit Peak
Rio Salado
Shaw Butte
Sidewinder-Ocotillo Loop
South Mountain
Spur Cross: Chalk Canyon
Spur Cross: Dragonfly Trail
Spur Cross: Elephant Mountain
Spur Cross Ranch
Spur Cross: Skull Mesa
Squaw Peak
Thunderbird Loop
Union Hills Loop
Union Peak

Freeman, Roger and Ethel, Day Hikes and Trail Rides in and Around Phoenix, (2nd. ed.), Gem Guides, 2000.
Phoenix area trail descriptions are given to the nearest hundredth of a mile and illustrated on maps.
McDowell Mountains

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 car pool.

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
clip   Trip Report

North Mountain

  • Difficulty (1-5) 1 easiest
  • Distance round trip 1.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain 600 feet
  • Average Time round trip 1 hour
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 the punch.

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.
  • 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
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.

Links: Hike Arizona.com

updated March 18, 2019