Camelback Mountain Via Echo Canyon and Cholla Trails

HARD 434 reviews
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Camelback Mountain Via Echo Canyon and Cholla Trails is a 4.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Phoenix, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
4.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,526 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

Distinctive and dominant on the Phoenix landscape, Camelback Mountain is just begging to be conquered. Distinctive and dominant on the Phoenix landscape, Camelback Mountain is just begging to be conquered. The two different routes to the 2,680ft summit offer different challenges, and both are featured in this guide. Echo Canyon is the popular route, which ascends 1,400 foot up the western side of the mountain in just over a mile. The journey quickly becomes a real leg-burner but delivers some good hiking experiences and a varied terrain. The Cholla trail heads up a well maintained trail on Camelback's east flank, but becomes a challenging and technical ascent upon reaching the ridgeline. This fun 1.3 mile route becomes increasingly rocky and precipitous, and though the conditions here are not extreme, we'd certainly urge caution and wouldn't recommend this route for young children or folk with a strong aversion to heights. Elevation gain: - Approx. 1,300ft (from 1,450 - 2,680ft)

hiking
2 months ago

An extremely difficult but rewarding trail! I highly recommend Echo Canyon as the initial ascent. It requires the greatest physical exertion, so you'll want to get that out of the way first. Descending down Cholla is difficult near the top because of the technical nature of the rock formations. However, ascending back up Cholla is a bit of a reprieve compared to Echo Canyon. However, make sure to watch your footing going down Echo Canyon. I hiked the trail yesterday (5/22/2018) and a gentleman unfortunately broke his leg on this portion of the trail and had to be airlifted out. 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! I started ascending Echo Canyon at 8:00 and arrived back there at 10:45 but probably should have slowed down a bit to allow for more time to drink water. Now that it will be at least in the high 90's for the next 5 months, starting early in the morning and stopping consistently for water breaks (especially for those who do not live here in the Valley) is absolutely essential.
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 both Echo Canyon and Cholla is truly euphoric. Amazing workout and amazing views!!

2 months ago

One of my favorites - especially the full body workout toward the top!

2 months ago

Gorgeous views, lightly congested, tons of giant lizards..

3 months ago

did this hike with a friend going both ways. the parking at echo was extremely sparse and we got lost trying to find the parking near Cholla (also sparse), and we ended up walking a mile to get there and lost us an hour of cool hours, but we finished going all the way over and back within 8 hours.

it was my first time ever hiking, and yet I came out just fine. just be smart and don't always follow people. we followed someone (apparently very experienced), and we ended up over 40ft down from the trail and had to scale a wall up back. I'm so amazed we survived, but I love this trail!!!

better for the cooler hours and months for sure!

4 months ago

It never disappoints. Highly recommend hiking shoes and lots of water!

hiking
4 months ago

I've done this hike a few times starting at Echo then to Cholla and back to Echo again. It typically takes me about 3.5-4 hours to complete and only 2 hours to go from just Echo to Cholla. When I hike this trail, I am usually going at a consistent walking pace and only take a break once I reach the top. I would definitely recommend bringing at least 2 liters of water like the other reviewers stated. In my opinion, Cholla is the easier of the two trails and Echo has a lot of scrambling. I personally prefer to start at Echo since it hurts my knees more going down large rocks versus going up them. Echo has parking (and bathrooms) at the trailhead whereas Cholla only has parallel parking along the main road. Both trailheads are easy to find as they are well marked by signs.

hiking
5 months ago

You must go up Cholla and down Echo! You won’t be disappointed! The views are priceless!

5 months ago

The most difficult hike I have ever done, I have hiked in New Hampshire, the Appalachian trail, and the Sandra’s.

hiking
6 months ago

We went up Cholla and down Echo. I would recommend this direction. It is challenging and busy, but what a great 3 hours. Stay on the trail. Take 2 liters or more water per person.

6 months ago

Great workout and view of valley is worth the climb.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike for amazing challenge and views. Both trails offer unique terrain, so highly recommend doing both. I went up Echo and down Cholla; probably the easiest way to go since Echo has so many rocks to scramble up/down. Would love to go back and try to do both trails out and back. Would need LOTS of water and snacks for that; at least 2 liters.

6 months ago

Lovely place for hiking some parts are not easy to hike but the top is just wow

hiking
6 months ago

Great trail! First time hiking this; I never thought to bring gloves. There are sections were you may have to scramble but overall it was a challenging trail. I definitely recommend 1-1.5L of water at least for winter hiking. It was really congested and had to call an Uber to get to the trail because there was no parking.

6 months ago

Echo is longer and more rock scrambling, but the trail is wider. Went during weekday but still quite some people - can imagine weekend can be lightly congested at points where only one person can pass. Would say most of the trails pretty decent hike and safe, except the part near the peak. Take time and extra caution. 500/800 cc of water shall be enough for winter season. Took slightly less than 2.5 hours for both trails.

trail running
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Amazing views. Parking is limited and may have to walk a ways to get to the mountain. Opens at sunrise and closes at sunset.

hiking
7 months ago

fun scramble to to top! Crowded just as expected had to park about 3/4 mile down the road.

7 months ago

Go up Echo Canyon and down Cholla Trail - the views and trails are fun to see both. There is a lot of loose gravel - wear shoes with good traction. Limited parking - We parked car further away and took an Uber. Makes it easier to traverse the whole mountain since starting and ending points are different.

7 months ago

Very technical running and scrambling but the view at the top is worth it.

8 months ago

Not too bad

hiking
9 months ago

This is just a link up of Cholla Trail and Echo Canyon Trail. There is no "Camelback Trail".

9 months ago

Fun morning climb/hike. The western route has more steep climbs and requires more climbing than hiking. The east side is very techinal and steep towards the summit, but is moderate for the lower two thirds.

hiking
9 months ago

Did this hike starting at Echo Canyon entrance (parking lot & bathrooms at this location!) - got there around 6:20-6:30 on a Thursday morning. Was still fairly populated and some people even coming down from starting earlier at 5:20ish with head lamps. Hiked straight through and came down Cholla trail - took about an hour each way (stopped to catch my breath several times on the way up Echo which was very steep & strenuous) and stayed at the summit for 10-20 minutes. TIPS: get here EARLY!! There is no formal parking at Cholla trail entrance - you must park on Invergordon rd. Wear pants! you may be scooting down on your butt during parts of the trail and while temps aren't as hot right now you might not want to get scratched/dirty. Don't let the reviews scare you - you do not need mountain climbing experience to do this hike. What you do need is some good leg muscles! Difficulty is in endurance - if you're afraid of heights or going down steep portions maybe not the hike for you. But definitely worth it! We took an uber at the finish from Cholla entrance back to our parked cars at Echo side.

hiking
9 months ago

Bring lots of water and pace yourself to match your fitness and experience level. You will work up a sweat as you climb, so don't go piling on the sweatshirts in the winter.

9 months ago

I’m in good shape and would not rate this difficult. If you exercise at all I’d call it a solid moderate. Made it to summit in just under an hour. Great views and great workout!

trail running
9 months ago

Very difficult anaerobic uphill, and dangerously steep downhill. Great views from the top. Bring water!

hiking
9 months ago

Omg! My ass was handed to me but I made it to the top!! Will I do it again? You betcha ya!!

10 months ago

Pretty hike! Very beautiful once you reach the top. Would definitely hike again!

hiking
10 months ago

It's difficult, but for those who are really physically fit, it's the perfect challenge!

10 months ago

Long and difficult but sweeping, expansive views at the top. Needed to climb a few times on hands and knees over various obstacles

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