Camelback Mountain Trails

Hiker in Echo Canyon

Caption: Nearly everyone who hikes Camelback for the first time reports that it was more difficult than they expected

Camelback Mountain detailed map

Please note that dogs are not permitted in the Echo Canyon area and trails through June 15, 2014. Dogs still are permitted on the Cholla Trail.

Parking and Traffic Alert for Echo Canyon:
During Winter / Spring months, Echo Canyon experiences EXTREMELY high visitation. The parking lot will typically fill up from late morning through early afternoon and remain full throughout the day on weekends. When the park reaches capacity the entry gate will be closed. Hikers cannot idle vehicles on McDonald Drive and Tatum Boulevard to wait for the gates to reopen.

Here's what you can do to avoid traffic backups and entry gate closures:

  • Bike to the trailhead. If you can, consider bringing a bike in your vehicle, parking in a public parking area within a few miles of the park and biking to the trailhead. There are 17 bike lock racks that can accommodate at least 34 bikes at one time.
  • Consider another hiking location, especially on weekends and during peak hiking season through April. We have many great summit climbs that offer a solid workout without the crushing crowds of Camelback.
  • Avoid the area on weekends. During winter and spring months, weekend traffic is heavy throughout the day and traffic and gate closures are possible at all times.
  • Carpool whenever possible. When meeting friends to hike at Echo Canyon, always meet off site and travel to the trailhead together in a single vehicle
  • Try a less busy time on weekdays. Early afternoons tend to be the least busy times during weekdays.
  • Try returning 15-20 minutes later. You can NOT idle in nearby neighborhoods or circle on nearby streets.

    If you plan to visit the mountain, be conservative in planning your hike! In addition to a gruelling climb, warm weather months can bring hot, dry desert conditions with a steep climb. Everyone who hikes Camelback for the first time reports that it was more difficult than they expected.If you have any other health or medical issue, please take extreme care if attempting this trail. Stay within your training, physical limitations, and abilities. The symbols to the left of each trail name represent difficulty ratings. Click on any icon to see full descriptions of the rating categories.

Moderate - difficult, uneven surfaceEcho Canyon Bobbie's Rock Trail  
The trail over to Bobbie's Rock, accessible from Echo Canyon Recreation Area, begins at the same location as the summit trail.  At the bottom of the steps (less than 100 feet from the drinking fountain) turn right and follow another series of granite rock steps around the base of the large rock outcropping.  Another option is to follow the summit trail until the first saddle and join Bobbie's Rock at that point. This trail ends at Bobbie's Rock, a popular rock climbing area. Bobbie's Rock can been seen from the parking lot by looking directly south and a bit west. Parking for this trail is extremely limited and there can be lengthy delays in finding parking. If you have limited time, please consider another hiking area. Please note that all Echo Canyon area trails including Bobby's Rock are limited to "hikers only" through June 15, 2013. Dogs still can accompany hikers on the Cholla Trail.

Length:       Less than 1/2 mile one way
Difficulty:    Easy
Time:          20 minutes and add extra time for area exploration
Elevation:  Elevation gain from trailhead is just under 200 feet.

Extremely Difficult HikeEcho Canyon Summit Trail
During a major improvement project in 2013, crews rebuilt and rerouted the dangerously eroded lower section of the summit trail. You can learn more about this new trail section in a narrated video presentation. The trail to the summit begins adjacent to the restroom at Echo Canyon Recreation Area. The lower section of the trail to the first saddle was rebuilt and rerouted in 2013 to eliminate dangerously eroded areas. The new lower route is more resistant to erosion and avoids the use of artificial steps, which are prone to erosion. The new rerouted lower trail section added .125 (1/8) of a mile to the total trail distance. Past the first saddle, the trail heads south and two sets of handrails are available to assist while scrambling up some slick rock sections.  Another saddle is reached at the end of the second handrail with commanding views looking south toward South Mountain.  The remaining section of the trail to the summit is characterized by several steep, boulder filled sections of the path and a few trail posts guiding the way to the summit. Despite a recent expansion, parking for this trail may continue to be difficult to find, especially during peak times and season. If you have limited time, please consider another trail. This trail also ascends rapidly in a relatively short distance. Please view the hiking map for the specific location of the trailhead. For the first six months after reopening - through June 15, 2013 -- the trails at Echo Canyon, including the summit trail, will be "hiker only." Though no dogs are permitted on the Echo Canyon trails during this time, dogs are allowed on the Cholla Trail.

Length:      1.325 miles one way
Difficulty:   Extremely Strenuous and Difficult. Long rocky segments with possible drops and exposure.
Time:         45 minutes to ascend and 45 minutes to descend for fit hikers
Elevation:  Elevation gain from trailhead is around 1,200 feet. Summit elevation is 2704 feet. 

Extremely Difficult HikeCholla Trail

The Cholla Trail ascends up the "spine" to the summit of Camelback Mountain from the east. The trail is extremely strenuous and gains 1,200 feet in 1.5 miles. Much of the route is exposed and offers no shade, so please factor in sun during hot-weather months and plan accordingly by hiking very early or as late as possible to minimize direct sun. The last section of the trail requires scrambling through large sections of boulders. This trail becomes more difficult to follow in the final section near the top and hikers should proceed slowly and carefully to ensure they remain on trail.

Public parking is limited to parallel parking in permitted areas along the west side of Invergordon Road, just south of Cholla Lane, in areas signed for parking. There are a small number of spots available for parking on the east side of Invergordon, however there are extensive areas on Invergordon on which parking is prohibited by on-street "No Parking" signs.  You must observe on-street signage related to parking restrictions and prohibitions. There is no public parking on Cholla Lane. To access the trail, hikers must proceed on foot down the westside (uphill) of Cholla Lane.  Note: Cholla Lane is a residential street and hikers are asked to use the designated granite trail or pedestrian bike/walk lane.

Length:      1.5 miles one way
Difficulty:   Extremely Strenuous and Difficult. Long exposed segments with no shade and rocky segments near the summit. 
Time:         45 minutes to ascend and 45 minutes to descend for fit hikers
Elevation:  Elevation gain from trailhead is around 1,200 feet. Summit elevation is 2704 feet.