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One of the greatest benefits of living in the greater Phoenix area is the amazing landscape surrounding us. The Sonoran Desert offers amazing hikes through valleys and washes as well as jaw dropping views. If you are looking for a mountain hike and view that will truly stand out, we recommend Camelback mountain. Located just 20 minutes from downtown Phoenix, Camelback Mountain is one of Phoenix’s best hikes and most popular attractions for a reason. Though the assent may be difficult, at the top lies an amazing 360-degree view of the entire city at 1,420 feet!
The History of Camelback Mountain
Famous for its distinctive double peak which resembles the humps of a camel’s back, this mountain is iconic as it stands out from most parts of the Phoenix area. Part of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve It was established as a city park in 1968. However, before that the mountain holds an important significance for the ancient Hohokam people who farmed the Salt River Valley, which spans out at the foot of the mountain as far back as 300 BCE.. In fact, while most of the double humps of the camel are composed of red rock dating back 30 million years, geologists believe that the granite in the camel’s “head” is about 1.5 billion years old!
A Hiking Destination
Camelback Mountain draws people far and wide not only for its astounding views but for those who love a challenge as they face two very steep climbs to the summit over a thousand feet in elevation. The two most popular trails are the Echo Canyon and Cholla trails. While both boast a climb that will truly get your heart rate up and have you feeling the burn as you climb, Echo Canyon is steeper and Cholla is longer.
Echo Canyon Trail
Distance: 2.5 miles out-and-back
Time: 2-3 hours roundtrip
Trailhead: This popular trail is located at 4925 E McDonald Dr, Phoenix and is fully equipped with bathrooms in the parking lot as well as several benches to rest on during the climb and even water. This trail is very popular so expect a crowd on weekends, holidays and after the workday. Remember proper hiking etiquette and stay on the right side of the trail while ascending and descending. It may be a challenge but enjoy a famous 360-degree view on the top.
Distance: 2.6 miles out-and-back
Time: 2-3 hours roundtrip
Trailhead: Start on Invergordon Road and find amenities such as a drinking fountain, restrooms and bike racks. This trail is popular for a reason. Get ready for a potential crowd but also a series of climbing and maneuvering through heavy rock at the point known as “The Saddle.” Don’t worry—the view of Phoenix and Scottsdale is worth it!
A Lush Desert Landscape
While you climb, feast not only on sprawling views of red mountains and hills of the Sonoran Desert, but a rich native plant life rich with Saguaro Cactus, Ocotillo, Palo Verde, Cholla, Barrel Cactus and the Creosote Bush. Hiding amongst the plants and flora you may be lucky enough to discover native species such as the desert tortoise, Chuckwalla lizard, cottontail rabbits, and even rattlesnakes so be sure to wear close toed shoes— if not for the snakes, then surely for the spiking cactuses you may encounter.
A Decadent View of Camelback Mountain
Hiking is not for everyone. Some people would rather relax and enjoy a view while enjoying a delicious cocktail and fine foods. There are a wide array of restaurants to enjoy while feasting on amazing views! This includes popular spots such as The Phoenician, Chelsea’s Kitchen, and Steak 44 .
One thing to consider while spending the day in the sun is sun protection. Out here in the Sonoran Desert the sun is not only very hot but the UV rays can cause premature aging to your skin and many kinds of skin cancer. Where a wide brimmed hat and long light and loose sleeves and pants to ensure that you get the coverage you need.
When you get home and are ready to relax, consider our patio sunscreens and window shades to protect you and the sun from harm’s way by blocking out 90 percent of all harmful UV rays. At the same time you’ll not only be protecting your home but increasing its curb appeal and value. Contact us today to set up a consultation.