Camelback Mountain via Echo Canyon and Cholla Trails

HARD 318 reviews
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Camelback Mountain via Echo Canyon and Cholla Trails is a 4.5 mile heavily 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
2,664 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

bird watching

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no shade

no dogs

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)

Enjoyed hiking this trail, would be good for biking too. Moderate traffic, not strenuous. Restrooms a plus.

Camelback Mtn with Heidi

hiking
scramble
21 days ago

Having done the Echo Canyon trail up and down on Monday we decided to tackle the Cholla Trail option. This is a straight forward route, achieving altitude very quickly. The tricky part arrives nearer the top, when the perceived exposure of the rocky scramble could challenge the less experienced of walkers. However with encouragement and a little persuasion from a more experienced walker it is possible. It took me about an hour to get to the top, which included some shaky leg stops for my friend. We made the top which was a great achievement for my friend. However it wasn’t possible to persuade her to go back down the Cholla route so we descended via Echo Canyon, which then entailed a 2.6 mile walk back to our car. However with a half an hours stop on top and a few photo stops, total time spent was only 3 hours and 45 minutes. A fabulous and satisfying day!

hiking
22 days ago

hiking
24 days ago

A good burner for sure! The cholla side gets a little hard to follow at points, especially when going down. I’m sure there’s a ton of people on the weekend considering how many were there on a Monday. I wouldn’t attempt to go up, down, and back unless you’re in decent shape. Most active people should be able to get to the top at least once though.

With Derek Droeger and Jess. JT and Emily

hiking
30 days ago

Went up Cholla side & down Echo side. Thought the Cholla side was more difficult. Definitely a fun hike but not for the faint of heart.

hiking
1 month ago

Good hike but always busy on the weekends

hiking
1 month ago

I think it’s doable for most average fit people. If possible Uber to Echo Trailhead an finish through Cholla, way less bouldering on way down. Go early if possible.

1 month ago

Just awesome

hiking
1 month ago

If your body can handle the hike then definitely do it. The easiest parts are until mile marker 16. If you find it hard before then you should not continue. A lot of people get hurt on this trail and need to be rescued. Definitely intended for the more experiences hiker.

1 month ago

This was a awesome climb and a real challenge at times ....great views

1 month ago

Out and back is a great way to experience the whole mountain. 2:49

1 month ago

Definitely challenging! I’d reccommend hiking boots because you’re scrambling towards the tops on both sides of the mountain

1 month ago

Very busy, better parking than the cholla side and easier climb.

1 month ago

it was pretty good :) slipped a couple of times. it was definitely worth it. views are amazing. MAKE SURE YOU BRING WATER AND WEAR TENNIS SHOES. there were fire trucks and it was kinda scary. would definitely go again tho.

1 month ago

Great first hike up a mountain.

hiking
2 months ago

12-20-18 Great Hike!!! Loved the Christmas Tree!!!

2 months ago

Great feeling to finish this - I am in shape and it was hard great workout and beautiful views

2 months ago

3 stars for the App being WAY off on mileage. my Garmin and phone tracked 6.7 miles Echo to Cholla and Then back over Cholla to Echo with a side trail at the bottom of Echo. meaning Echo to Cholla is only 3.35 miles. where do you get you distances from?

2 months ago

what the fuck. They were not letting anyone in the trail because someone was being rescued so I ended up driving a total of 2 hours for nothing.

3 months ago

Great climb, but lots of traffic

3 months ago

Elevation change closer to 1,500 ft. Not out and back; 2 ways to the summit.

3 months ago

Fun

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike to start the day, I started at 5:00am, no problems finding parking

hiking
5 months ago

Did a training run with my base pack. 2 hour round trip, started around 12:39PM. Trail was clean and shaded in areas. Bring water!!!!

hiking
9 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!!

9 months ago

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

9 months ago

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

9 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!

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