Camelback Mountain Hike

Ron Niebrugge Arizona, Phoenix, Photos, Travel 10 Comments

Camelback Mountain Hike

This is looking down from the summit at a hiker making her way down the ridge on the Cholla Trail on Camelback Mountain.  I liked how the last light of day was lighting just the sharp ridge line, leaving a dark shadow behind the ridge. 

It is awesome to find such a great mountain trail in the middle of a giant city like Phoenix!  If I lived here, I would do it all the time.  As you can see, it isn’t just a walk in the park, it is fairly steep, with places that have sharp drops on either side.  I can see why there are lots of rescues – when we hiked up, there were definitely some people up there who were completely out of place and really didn’t belong. 

The Cholla Trail is a little over a mile and a half each way, but it does climb about 1,200 feet.  The trail is fairly easy up to the saddle area between the two “humps”.  After that, it gets steeper, and a little more tricky.  The top photo is of one of the more difficult stretches.  The view from the saddle is very nice, and probably an ideal destination for many hikers. 

Maybe the biggest challenge hiking the Cholla Trail is finding a parking spot – at least on the weekends.  We went mid week, and it wasn’t a problem, but that isn’t true for the weekends.  The trail starts from Cholla Lane, but there isn’t any on street parking on this street.  You need to park on Invergordon / 64th  Street and walk to the trail head.  The actual street name in this area is Invergordon, but a short distance away it turns into 64th Street.  There is some parking available on this street, but it is limited.

On a hot day, the Cholla Trail is a great route in the afternoon and evening since this trail heads up the East side of Camelback Mountain, much of it is in the shade.  There is a second trail up Cammelback known as the Summit Trail or Echo Canyon Trail – we haven’t hiked this trail. 

Camelback Mountain Summit

The photo above is from the actual summit looking down on Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix.  The mounds in the distance are in Papago Park.

Comments 10

  1. great views Ron. how did you get the black sky on the top picture? that looks really cool. I noticed that Janine is not modeling in this picture. too steep eh? 😉

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    Thanks guys!

    You know Richard, that is Janine. I got a little steep for her, so she was heading back down. Since I’m looking down, the black is the shadow side of the mountain – I kinda liked the contrast.



  3. Really great shot, I too like the contrast between the shadow and the last light lighting the ridge. The green further enhanced the contrast to the rocky ridge.

  4. My son and I just spent 45 minute looking at your beautiful photographs on your website. He especially loved the ones taken at Yellowstone. What talent you have. If we are ever in the market for a great wildlife photo we will know where to go! Thank you for the opportunity to view them.

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    Thanks Elizabeth!

    Hi Genevieve,

    Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it. It is always nice to hear when someone enjoys my photos.



  6. I just returned from Scottsdale today. I hiked Pinnacle Pk. once and Camelback twice. Camelback was great however I was shocked to see kids (girls between 6-8 yrs old) on the summit with their soccer moms. I told the girls how impressed I was but in my head I was thinking “What the hell is your Mother thinking”? I am 30, in excellent physical shape, a former collegiate wrestler with very good balance and strength, and I found it challenging. A slip here or there from one of these kids in the wrong spot could’ve killed them. I’m all for challenging our children, but never putting them in harms way unnecessarily. That mountain will still be there when they’re 16!

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    I hear you Wade!

    I was up there right before sunset and meet a nice young girl and her dad. They had hiked up the north side and thought they had time to hike down to the Phoenician, back to the top, then back to there car! They would have been there half the night. I guess that is what happens when such a popular trail is in the middle of such a large city.



  8. You are a great photographer! I haven’t finished looking at all of your shots, but I am very
    impressed so far. Thank you for sharing them on your site here.

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