Echo Canyon Park

2496 reviews

An extremely difficult but rewarding trail! The trail essentially breaks down into seven parts
1. Initial, winding switchback that can be seen from the parking lot. This is the easiest part of the ascent, but still can be difficult if unprepared.
2. A wooden staircase climb
3. Back-to-back guided handrail climbs. I highly recommend you use these handrails (even if you are a germaphobe!). There are sections where the rocks are extremely hard to navigate without the handrails. Also, because the trail is so crowded, there often times isn't a lot of room to roam around the middle when ascending.
4. Rock staircase #1 - steep and pretty long, but not the most difficult.
5. Rock staircase #2 - The steepest and longest of the three. This is definitely the most brutal part of the hike. It also teases you by having a small false summit about halfway up, so be prepared for that.
6. Rock staircase #3 - Arguably more difficult than the first rock staircase because you've already exerted so much effort climbing, but not as difficult as the second. Thankfully, it's not very long so it can be done in a few minutes.
7. The Summit!! I'm an experienced hiker in the Valley, and I think it is right up there with the views from Piestwa Peak, Dobbins Lookout @ South Mountain, and the top of Flatiron @ the Superstition Mountains. Definitely worth the pain!

Be prepared for this hike! I did it yesterday (5/22/2018) and a gentleman unfortunately broke his leg on the trail. To reinforce past comments:

1. I highly recommend bringing an entire liter of water. "Heat headaches" are a real thing, and the physical exertion needed to complete multiple difficult ascents (each requiring a very extended, steep climb)
2. PACE YOURSELF! The fastest I've done this hike is 70 minutes. I know several people in awesome shape (which I'm certainly not) who can do it in under 50. However, I really only see this done in the winter when it's nice and cool. I highly recommend taking this hike slowly, starting early in the morning (before 8:00 am) and stopping consistently for water breaks. This is essential for those who do not live here in the Valley and are not adjusted to the summer heat.
3. Wear hiking shoes or boots! There are many people who complete this trail in running shoes or cross-trainers, but it is an unnecessary risk. To say there are ample opportunities to slip and fall is an enormous understatement. This trail is as rugged and difficult as they come in the Phoenix area, so make sure your footwear reflects this!

I hope this doesn't scare anyone off because the sense of accomplishment after finishing Echo Canyon is truly euphoric. Amazing workout and amazing views!