Caption: The summit trail, pictured here, will reopen to the public on Jan. 15, 2014. The area will be open daily from sunrise to sunset.
The symbols to the left of each trail name represent difficulty ratings. Click on any icon to see full descriptions of the rating categories.
It is important to remember that the Phoenix mountain preserves are open, undeveloped desert areas. Please use care when heading out as hikers routinely encounter rocky terrain, rattlesnakes and other potential hazards native to the Sonoran Desert. Check out safety tips for a full list of ways to enjoy your outing.
Because it gains elevation over a longer distance, the Cholla Trail is slightly less steep than the Echo Canyon Summit Trail and tends to follow the "backbone" or ridge of Camelback Mountain. It is still extremely difficult and is recommended only for people capable of intense physical activity. This trail offers little shade but decent views of several golf courses that ring the base of the mountain. Hikers can expect a steady climb with short steep sections of trail and, near the top, a fairly exposed section of ridge hiking. No other designated trails disembark off the Cholla Trail; this trail eventually joins the Echo Canyon Summit Trail at the summit of Camelback Mountain. Until June 15, 2013, the Cholla Trail is the only one on Camelback on which dogs are allowed. Public parking is limited to parallel parking along the east and west sides of Invergordon Road, just south of Cholla Lane. There is no public parking on Cholla Lane. To access the trail, hikers must down Invergordon Road and proceed west (uphill) on 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: 1.6 miles one way
Time: 45 minutes to ascend and 45 minutes to descend
Elevation: Elevation gain from trailhead is around 1200
The trail over to Bobbie's Rock begins at the same location as the summit trail. 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 be 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. Please note that dogs are not permitted on any Echo Canyon area trails including Bobbie's Rock through June 15, 2013. Dogs still can accompany hikers on the Cholla Trail.
Length: Less than 1/2 mile one way
Time: 20 minutes and add extra time for area exploration
Elevation: Elevation gain from trailhead is just under 200 feet.
Echo 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
Length: 1.23 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 1200 feet. Summit elevation is 2704 feet.