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Camelback Mountain Hiking Trails From Easiest to Hardest

Camelback Mountain Hiking Trails: From Easiest to Hardest

Every Phoenix adventure wouldn’t be complete without a hike at Camelback Mountain. But be warned, Camelback isn’t for the faint of heart. 

It has three main trails – Bobby’s, Echo Canyon and Cholla. In this guide, we’ll help you navigate through each of these trails and make sure that you reach the summit full of memories.

So, lace up your boots and get ready to conquer Camelback Mountain with this comprehensive guide!

1. Bobby’s Rock Trail: Easy

Address: 4925 E. McDonald Dr.

Time to complete: 30 to 45 minutes

Distance: 0.2 miles

Elevation change: 200 feet

Bobby Rock Trail is a short and scenic loop trail, an excellent option for hikers of all levels. It has a total elevation gain of 200 feet and provides hikers with stunning views of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve Paradise Valley and the city of Phoenix. 

The trail starts on the Echo Canyon Trail and veers to the right shortly after beginning your ascent. Hikers will immediately find a helipad and Bobby’s Rock – a large, cube-shaped sandstone rock. 

Here, you’ll see desert wildlife such as cottontail rabbits, Harris antelope squirrels, coyotes and javelinas. Wildflowers and Sonoran Desert vegetation like the saguaro cactus, creosote bushes, and teddy bear cholla will also be seen along the trail.

Pro tip:
The trail can be loose and rocky in some areas, so make sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots. We also recommend starting early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid crowds, especially on weekends and holidays.

2. Cholla Trail: Moderate

Address: 5150 N. Invergordon Road

Time to complete: 2 to 3 hours

Distance: 1.5 miles

Elevation change: 1,420 feet

The Cholla Trail at Camelback Mountain is a moderately challenging 3.1-mile out-and-back hike. It gains about 1,540 feet in elevation but offers stunning views of Phoenix and the surrounding Sonoran Desert. 

The trail starts at the Invergordon Road on a gradual incline through a wash, but it gets steeper as you climb the eastern slope or “hump” of Camelback Mountain. The last half of the hike is the most challenging, with sections of loose rock and scrambling.

Along the trail, expect to see smaller animals like cottontail rabbits, lizards, Harris antelope squirrels, birds and snakes, as well as plant species like the saguaro, ocotillo plant, pincushion and prickly pear cacti, and palo verde, mesquite and ironwood trees.

Pro tip:
Always wear proper footwear and clothing and bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat, as the trail has no shade. A good rule of thumb in hiking is to get one liter of water for every two hours of hiking.

3. Echo Canyon Trail: Difficult

Address: Echo Canyon Trailhead, 4922 E. McDonald Dr., Phoenix, AZ 85018

Time to complete: 2 to 3 hours

Distance: 1.14 miles

Elevation change:  1,400 feet

The Echo Canyon Trail is a challenging 2.4-mile round-trip hike leading to Camelback Mountain’s summit. It’s one of the most popular hikes in Phoenix, offering stunning city views and desert landscape with an elevation gain of about 1,200 feet.

The trail starts at the Echo Canyon Trailhead and follows an incredibly steep, rocky, out-and-back trail that often requires the assistance of handrails to reach the summit. As hikers approach the top, it becomes less defined as they enter extremely rocky areas. 

Camelback Mountain is home to various flora and fauna, including saguaro cactus, cottontail rabbits, Harris antelope squirrels and even the occasional venomous rattlesnakes.

Pro tip:
Start your hike early to avoid the crowds and the heat and to get a parking spot, especially on weekends. The trail is not recommended for young children or people who are not in good physical condition.
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