The first installment of our Hike and Hotel Series takes place in the sunny valley of Scottsdale, Arizona. The Hike and Hotel series is a collection of the best hotels that are close to our favorite hikes around the world. We put together the top picks for food, drinks, hikes, lodging and so much more.
From the stirring beauty of the lush Sonoran Desert to ultra-luxury resorts, chef-driven restaurants, and exciting activities and attractions, Scottsdale is bursting at the seams with the makings of a memorable getaway. What’s even better? It’s surrounded by some of the most unique and incredible hikes in the Southwest.
Where to Stay in Scottsdale
Iconic in nature, unrivaled in service. Capture the moment as well as the imagination at Arizona’s premier luxury resort destination The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort by Marriott.
About the Phoenician Resort
The Phoenician is a 250-acre luxury resort and convention facility in Phoenix and Old Town Scottsdale. It is located at the base of Camelback Mountain. This Arizona landmark had a luxurious makeover thanks to a three-year, $90 million refurbishment that included the pool area, lobby, and all 643 guest rooms (including casitas and suites). There are seven tennis courts, an amazing spa with a rooftop pool, and a restaurant and bar complex with 18 holes of golf. The kids will have a blast at this resort thanks to the water play area, water slide, kids’ club, and game room, but adults will appreciate that they won’t feel crowded out.
What’s the best hike in Scottsdale?
Our favorite hike is one of two trails that weave their way up the “spine” of Camelback Mountain. Part of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, Camelback gets its name from its two rock formations that resemble the head and back of a kneeling camel. The most popular trail is on the west side of the mountain called Echo Canyon Trail. If you have time, definitely check this hike out as well.
However, our favorite hike is located on the east side of Camelback Mountain and has just reopened after a full trailhead renovation – thanks in part to the Phoenician Resort. Cholla Trail is a fantastic hike that every visitor needs to try on their visit to Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s a very challenging hike that climbs 1279 feet over the course of 1.2 miles each way. Just before the summit, the trail traverses the south side of the Camel. There are steep drop-offs and the trail is dotted with towering saguaro cacti and huge boulders. The hike terminates with a steep scramble to the top which is sure to get your adrenaline pumping.
What’s New with the Cholla Trail?
One of the biggest challenges the community has faced is complaints from the neighborhood residents that surround the trailhead. The Phoenician Resort solved this issue by allowing the trail to wind through a portion of its property instead of going through the neighborhood. However, the parking situation has not changed much. There will be a section that is designated for Ride Share Apps for drop off and pick up. Most hikers will still need to arrive early and search for parking along Invergordon.
The new improvements include the removal of unstable boulders and an improved trailhead that has a bathroom, sinks, and a drinking fountain available for hikers.
What to Bring On Your Cholla Trail Hike
One of the best parts of Arizona is its weather. Well, for most of the year. For the majority of the year, the valley of the sun finds itself in sunny, warm weather. Most hikers wear athletic shorts and a moisture-wicking short sleeve shirt with some sturdy hiking boots on this trail. For those who are comfortable in sandals, Chacos are perfectly at home on these trails. Be prepared for loose sand, boulder hopping, and sharp rocks along the Cholla Trail. For hikers either getting an early start for sunrise or staying out late to watch the sunset, it’s a good idea to bring a mid-layer weight shirt. In the desert, once the sun goes down, the temps are soon to follow.
Stay Hydrated and Keep it Clean
On average, there is about one rescue every other day on this mountain. Most of the time, the main reason is due to dehydration. Since many visitors are from out of state, they aren’t accustomed to the incredibly dry, arid climate of the desert. This can give someone the falls idea that they are not sweating as much. In reality, they are sweating just as much if not more, and evaporate very quickly. It is easy to get behind on your hydration, so make sure you come prepared and sip all the way through your adventure. The best solution is to bring a hydration backpack with 3L of water. it is also a good idea to throw in an electrolyte mix into your hydration bladder.
Always, always always, please, please, please practice Leave No Trace ethics in the outdoors. Our trails and outdoor spaces are precious, sensitive areas that can easily become damaged from neglect – either intentional or not. Pack in what you pack out. Stay on the trails. Leave it cleaner than you found it. Be a boss and #appreciateAZ!!