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

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!!