Hiking the Echo Canyon Trail, Camelback Mountain, Phoenix (Paradise Valley) Arizona, August 2015
The main point of this posting: Don’t do this trail if it’s after 9 am in the morning in the summer! Way too hot and sunny, although a few light high clouds and some rocks + Palo Verde tree shade was available. This is the western face of Camelback Mountain which spans Scottsdale into Phoenix.
There are Saguaro and barrel cactus, Chuckwalla, Sage, Mesquite, rabbits, gophers, and snakes. Take plenty of water; they recommend at least 32 ounces (half a gallon). Do not go off trail! What is called the trail is plenty challenging — not even a path in most parts, but rather huge boulders and scree. The trail from Inver-Gordon Road is much easier, no real climbing where you actually have to use your hands to gain purchase, and hope that the foot holes you’ve chosen are solid!
They have re-done the trail head for Echo (Dreamy Draw: 44th Street and McDonald), and it has bathrooms, water, plenty of free parking, and benches with permanent shade. But it’s still a serious hike, not for merely the physically fit, but also the sun-tolerant. You can do part of the trail and still feel the experience of hiking in the arid West, among rock formation that are hundreds of thousands of years old.
The views at the top are pretty sweet, but you could stop anywhere along the route and still get spectacular views. Know your limits: a hiker had to be rescued from the main Camelback trail (other side). The next time I do this hike it will be late fall and I will stop half way, and take more water and wear a long sleeve shirt with collar.