Hike Echo Canyon Trail – Camelback Mountain
|Length||Elev Gain||Route Type|
|2.5 Miles||1420 ft||Out and Back|
Camelback Mountain via Echo Canyon Trail is a 2.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Scottsdale, Arizona that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult.
The parking lot is off Squaw Peak drive and leads to many more hiking trails in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. The route starts on a short connector trail and then goes straight up to the summit.
The trail begins from the top of the parking lot, just beyond the restrooms and benches. An easy incline at first, the path passes a smaller rock formation, then approaches the base of a larger one known as the “Praying Monk”. If you look up from the Echo Canyon trail, you may see roped-up rock climbers scaling the face above you. And if you turn around and look the other way, you can see Piestewa Peak rising up behind you.
At around 0.4 miles the trail picks up with a set of wooden stairs. Soon after this, the route becomes so steep that there are metal railings anchored into the mountain to safely assist hikers in this potentially dicey situation.
At first, a metal pole will only be on your left-hand side but soon after there will be a pole in the middle and then to the right. From my experience, the pole on your left (as you are going up) is the best pole to hang onto. There are carved out foot notches in the rock that will help your feet up. The other poles will not have these little notches, so it feels a little uncertain to walk on since it’s so steep and smooth you can easily slide on it, even with good gripping shoes.
Once at the top of this steep section, you might think the tough part is over — but it’s only just begun! The trail now will require scrambling pretty much up all the way to the top. For this reason, you might want to consider bringing gloves along, although it isn’t completely necessary.
There are steep piles of bigger rocks that you will need to hike up. At times, it feels as if you’re back in that aquarium climbing up big pieces of gravel to get the relief of freedom up at the top. There is a small dip just before the one mile mark, then the trail rises steady and even steeper as it nears the summit. It’s easy to get a little off track in the last section – just keep looking for the path of least resistance.
The trail makes one final bend to the left as it leads you to the top! Take in the awesome 360-degree view of the valley, with Piestewa close by to the northwest. But make sure you pay attention to which way you came up – it’s easy to mistakenly go down the wrong trail. When you are done soaking in the views, return down the way you came up.
Echo Canyon Trail Map:
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Camelback Mountain Hiking Resources
- Overview of the Camelback Mountain Trails from Phoenix Parks and Recreation. Best resource for the latest information on closures, maintenance and other official notices.
- Visit Phoenix’ guide to Camelback Mountain
- Please #RecreateResponsibly and Leave No Trace