Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Camel back

Hiking on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix Arizona

Camelback Mountain is probably the most prominent geological feature that rears its head against the sky in northeast Phoenix and you'll find a number of the valley's most famous resorts laid out around its base. The world famous icon looms over the horizon on the valley's northeast side and provides some of the best urban hiking in America. Camelback is said to be one of the toughest to climb (within city limits), especially if you climb the side without the railing.     

The Echo Canyon Summit Trail and the Cholla Trail are both strenuous and not for the novice.  You can expect to scramble over boulders and loose rocks on some stretches and there are also areas of slippery rock. Camelback Mountain rises 1400 feet above the Phoenix valley to 2704 feet above sea level.  
Where to Park  
Park on Invergordon between Camelback Road and McDonald Drive; then walk up Cholla Lane to the trail. Parking spaces are really scarce and you may find yourself waiting 15 or 20 minutes for a spot to open up. If you are hiking at Echo Canyon you will find a parking lot that will probably be full after 8 in the morning. There are a couple of parking areas within a half mile along McDonald Drive. Parking can really be tough on the weekends and you may have to take a little hike from neighboring residential areas but the views really make it all worth while.  
Trailheads on Camelback Mountain are usually open from sunrise to sunset. The main hiking trail loops around the covered picnic area at Echo Canyon. Then it takes off  through some spectacular sandstone rock formations and you'll be rewarded with remarkable views from the top of the mountain out across the city of Phoenix.   
Echo Canyon Trail on the Northwest side of Camelback Mountain, just off McDonald and Tatum, is considered to be one of the most difficult, extreme park trails located within an urban environment in the US. At the Echo Canyon Summit Trailhead you can find portable toilets and a water fountain (not always working). Be sure to bring your own water. Echo Canyon is now closed to visitors at night, but I think that is a small price to pay for the access that the area provides in the daytime. Hikers going down yield to hikers going up and hikers with kids and dogs yield to everybody. Hikers must walk up on the south side of Cholla Lane.  
There are a couple of easy to moderate trails that loop around the scenic portions of the bottom of the mountain and will give families an opportunity to enjoy the views without having to make the climb to the summit. Once you get started on the trails and have a chance to see the views you will probably want to join the other hikers, rock climbers and fitness buffs making their way to the summit of Camelback Mountain. It may be a tough hike but the views of Phoenix/Scottsdale and the mountains in the background are unparalleled.      
Camelback Mountain is a marvelous blend of luxury homes, golf courses, resorts and rugged mountain trails that seem to come together within a natural setting that permits a blended existence of gracious lifestyles and outdoor recreation. 
Jere Moline has been a life long traveler and has enjoyed the cultures of many countries throughout the world. He has experienced several different types of travel both on his own and on planned excursions. For more information on hiking in the Desert Southwest be sure to stop by:

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