Wander. Explore. Dine.

Camelback Mountain

Mountain Camelback Climbing

Well, many who visit the Valley every year clearly have not. Climbing Camelback Mountain (or any other mountain) must be taken seriously. It’s a dangerous endeavor, even when it’s not 115 degrees, and if you are not well equipped for your outing, you can easily find yourself, or a loved one, in a life-threatening situation. People die, and rescues are made every month, and almost weekly during the hotter summer months.

Camelback Mountain looks like a kneeling camel and is one of the Valleys most well-known, but don’t be fooled as it’s no walk in the park. It beckons residents and visitors alike to climb to its peak of 2,704 feet, which is the highest of our local mountains. It can be a grueling climb so visitors may want to choose from the dozens of miles of other trails that are offered within the city’s preserve system. Many offer less crowds, and easier climb, but all offer classic views of the Sonoran Desert.

Camelback actually offers two hiking trails; the Summit at 1.2 miles and the Cholla (choy-a) at 1.5 miles. The Cholla trail is a little more forgiving (1,300 feet from start to summit) as compared to the Summit (at 2,704 feet) on the opposite side which is busier, more rugged and steeper. Both are super trails, but offer distinctively different challenges, so choose accordingly. Camelback Mountain towers over the Phoenix and Scottsdale landscapes and offers awesome views.


Even in the fall and spring periods the heat can be excessive, so here are a few tips before you head out to tackle the Camel, or any other mountain in the Valley. Always check the weather reports before starting out. Tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. Make sure you have proper hiking boots. Dress properly and carry enough water for the entire trip. In the desert, you will dehydrate faster than ever expected. Heat exhaustion is your primary enemy. Wear a cap to protect your head and use sunscreen even if it’s cloudy, as the rays still get through. Carry a small first aid, or a few bandages in case of a fall. A camera will capture the awesome views.

Other mountains for hiking include Piestewa Peak, Papago Park, Pinnacle Peak and South  Mountain. For more information go online to: phoenix.gov/parks/trails

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