7 Tips for Hiking Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain sits 20 minutes Northeast of Phoenix, in the always popular Scottsdale. As a part of the Echo Canyon Recreation Are, Camelback is one of the most popular hikes in all of Arizona. Make note that Camelback is “urban” hiking. The views you’ll see are of Phoenix and its surrounding areas.

If you’re looking for more of a wilderness hike I would suggest passing on Camelback and checking out some of the other great hikes Arizona has to offer. If you’re in the Phoenix area looking for a great view of the area and good workout Camelback is perfect for you.

7 Tips for Hiking Camelback MountainTips for hiking Camelback Mountain

Know the rating of the hike

Hikes are given “ratings” to help people determine if they’re capable of a certain hike. Camelback has TWO summit trails and both are rated “extremely difficult”. Meaning they are extremely strenuous and difficult, with long rocky segments with possible drops and exposure. For more information on Camelback’s rating head over here.

Hike the trail that’s best for you

The Cholla Trail is 1.5 miles one way to the mountain summit. The Echo Canyon Trail is 1.3 miles one way to the mountain summit. While both hikes have the same hike rating, Cholla is known as being slightly easier.

Avoid busy times 

During the Winter and Spring months snow birds and tourists in town for Spring Training flock to Camelback, making this hike insanely busy. If you don’t want to brave the crowds, picking another hike might be your best option. Phoenix offers many other hiking opportunities, check them out here.

Park in the right spot

For the Cholla Trail you will need to park on Invergordon Road. Do not, I repeat do NOT park on Cholla Lane. Cholla Lane is a residential street with some very beautiful homes on it, but for this reason you are not allowed to park on this street. They are not shy about towing people who can not seem to read the 93434 signs posted about parking being prohibited. The Echo Canyon Trail has a parking lot, but it fills up quickly. Which brings me to #5…

Get there early

I say this for two reasons:

  • It gets extremely hot later in the day (you’re in the middle of the desert, duh).
  • The later you arrive the busier the mountain gets. We got to Camelback at 7am for our hike. Parking wasn’t bad, and the weather was cool.

Hydrate before and bring lots of water for during the hike 

As we already know from #1, this is a tough trail, and as I reminded you in #5, it’s located in the middle of the desert. This is a no-brainer: pack a water bottle (or two!) you will need it.

Bring your dog while you still can 

We brought Gatsby along and he loved it. As of right now, Dogs are permitted on the Cholla Trail. Dogs are NOT permitted on the Echo Canyon Trail. I say “as of right now” because on our hike on 10/25/15 there was a notice posted that the city of Phoenix has recently started discussions about making the entire mountain off-limits to dogs. Any updates or changes on this matter will be posted here.

A visit to Scottsdale isn't complete without hiking the famous Camelback Mountain! These are some tips to make your hike a good one!

Have you hiked Camelback? Any hiking tips?

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Hi! We are from the PNW and are used to hiking in Keens or Chacos. Do we need to pack tennis shoes for this hike, or will hiking sandals do?

Hi there! If Keens have worked for your other hikes in the PNW you should be fine with them for Camelback. I hike in trail shoes, but I’ve seen a lot of people who hike in Keens or Chacos and have no problems at all. Have fun!! 🙂

Do you need a guide for this hike? Or is the trail clear to see throughout the hike?

Also do you suggest any other hikes that good in the evening around Phoenix?

Look forward to coming to Phoenix and doing some hiking!

no need for a guide! It’s well marked and really heavily traveled. so there will be lots of other people on the same hike. The Phoenix Mountain Preserve has some great hikes, and also the Mcdoewell Preserve! I’ve hiked in both areas, and really enjoyed them both.

Did you feel like you were fine in tennis shoes or would you have preferred hiking boots?

Hi Erin, I was fine with tennis shoes. I’m sure hiking boots would be helpful, but I definitely wouldn’t say they’re necessary.

Maureen Henry Mayer

Echo Canyon Trail-Bring twice as much water as you think you will need, wear biking gloves during the stretches where you hold the sizzling hot metal handrails, bring a first aid kit and fully charged cell phone. A small Camelback pack or waist belt water bottle holders will free up both hands, which you will need at times. Pay attention to the trail. It is tempting to look around while walking on some relatively flat areas, but that caused me to trip over a rock, slicing my knee open through my leggings.Still healing after four weeks. And have fun:)

Great tips, Maureen! The extra water is key! I completely agree with that. That’s actually one of my rules of any hike in general!

When you posted pictures this weekend I turned to Tim and said “we have to go there.” Basically all of your adventures are giving me the travel bug haha

YES! this is definitly your kind of hike. you would love it!

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