Sunday, February 5, 2012

Camelback Mountain

Maricopa County,

Echo Canyon Trail
Cholla Trail

Total Time: 2:30 hrs
Estimated Distance: 4.2 miles (including walk on road to trailhead)
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended, though very busy
Points Of Interest: Excellent climb with odd formations and great views

I had traveled to Arizona for the week, and was staying in Scottsdale on Sunday, nearby Camelback Mountain. The last time I was staying in the Phoenix area, I was determined to hike Camelback on my next trip, and this was my opportunity. Camelback Mountain is the most prominent mountain in Phoenix, and it's a rugged hump right in the middle of the city.

There are two trails that climb the mountain to the summit: The Echo Canyon Trail on the west, and the Cholla Trail on the east. I started at the Echo Canyon Trail. Parking here is a nightmare - especially on a Sunday in the winter. The parking lot is tiny considering the volume of people. The only option if the parking area is to park about a mile a way and walk over, or take a shuttle which I was unable to find. So I parked all the way down, and walked all the way down the road to the trailhead. I took the Echo Canyon all the way up, and then continued past the summit to the Cholla Trail all the way down, for a full Camelback experience. I was able to get a rid at the bottom back at my car.

Map of the Route

At the beginning of the hike

Caves in the sandstone,
with some Saguaros, near the beginning of the hike.

Continuing the climb.

The steep climbing scramble part.

Continuing the Ascent

View facing downtown.
Facing South.

Mummy Mountain and Paradise Valley.
Facing northwest.

View from the summit.
Facing southeast towards Scottsdale.

Me at the Summit.

View north from the Summit, with Mummy Mnt.

View from summit facing northeast.

Vertical Cliff right below the summit.
Note the person on the top left.

View towards Downtown Scottsdale on the Descent.

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