Phoenix, AZ

Why hike the Camelback

Scott Murdoch

PHOENIX, AZ — Up for some adventure? Here's a treat for you! A popular attraction for thousands of visitors each year, Camelback Mountain is just 20 minutes from downtown Phoenix. You can enjoy 360-degree views of the city from two challenging trails ascending to a summit that resembles a camel's back. Here are the reasons why you should visit the mountain:

Camelback is a part of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve and is named after two rock formations that resemble the head and back of a kneeling camel. In 1968, it became a city park, and it sits next to Phoenix's Arcadia neighborhood - an excellent dining spot - and Paradise Valley.

Cholla Trail (currently closed) and Echo Canyon Trail are rated extremely difficult, challenging hikers with exposed rock, strenuous climbs, and hand-over-hand climbing sections. All Echo Canyon and Cholla Trail areas are off-limits to dogs.

There are restrooms, benches, and water at this trailhead. During the weekend, the parking lot will usually remain full from early morning to late afternoon. What to expect: This steep ascent requires handrails to help you reach the summit, but the 360-degree views are worth it.

There are a number of native species found in Phoenix's desert preserves including the desert tortoise, Chuckwalla lizard, cottontail rabbit, and rattlesnakes (hike with caution). The region is home to many cacti, native trees, and cholla, saguaro, and prickly pear cactus. If you would like to see more of the desert's birds, check out some of the top bird-watching spots.

You can also gaze up at the Phoenix landmark from the ground, as there are plenty of resort pools and restaurant patios with views of Camelback Mountain, including The Phoenician, Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa, and Chelsea's Kitchen.

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