Hike Up Camelback Mountain via Cholla Trail

Arizona Cholla Trail

  • Activities:

    Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    3 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1275 Feet

Scenic

Take this slightly longer hike up Camelback Mountain for scenic views of Phoenix. For the shorter and arguably easier hike up, check out the Echo Canyon Route.

This challenging hike up the east side of Camelback Mountain has beautiful views of Phoenix and Scottsdale, and is not often crowded.

You will begin on switchbacks heading up the mountain, with trail markers to guide you at first. The hike increases in difficulty about 1 mile in, when you reach the saddle, and you will have to do some scrambling during the last stretch to the top.

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Water
  • Snacks
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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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I did the easier side of the mountain and started at 6am. By the time we made to summit it was already 97 degrees. There are sections of rope climb and a few bottlenecks that may slow you down but you do not need any technical experience to make it to the top. This is just a hop from the city and well worth the effort.

4 months ago
4 months ago

Right in the middle of Phoenix, this very popular trail is always crowded, but definitely a good little workout- The Echo trail is like a mile long stair master, so if you want a good quad workout do that side of Camelback instead.

8 months ago
8 months ago

The mountain is easily spotted throughout the city, and it offers an amazing perspective from the top. However, prepare for massive crowds on weekends that can make it difficult to park. There is no designated parking lot so anyone looking to hike will need to park on the street.

8 months ago
8 months ago

Beautiful. Tough. Loved it

10 months ago
10 months ago

An excellent workout if you're looking to get a little hiking in your day. Keep your eye out for snakes and cacti, don't hike next to the ledges, and avoid during the summer. There have already been multiple heat related deaths in June of this year and it's just the start of summer. There have also been a few fall related deaths, so don't think just because it isn't a huge mountain and the trail is well-maintained that it can't be dangerous.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

It's always a great workout to hike up Camelback. Lots of climbing up and above rocks throughout the whole trail. Definitely a full body workout. Be careful for rattlesnakes during snake season.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Nice views of the PHX area. Pretty crowded. Can get tough in some spots. Worth the effort though.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

So when I first tackled Camelback I did Echo Canyon. It was really hard. Somebody told me Cholla was easier. So I did Cholla. It was not easier in the least. It was challenging in a different way, but just as challenging as Echo Canyon. Don't be fooled. Take plenty of water. Hike before the full heat of the day. Wear good shoes. Hang on to those sheer rock faces. Have fun. Be safe.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

It's pretty tough hike, it can get pretty crowded

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Kevin KaminskiExplorer

My goal is to build a life I don’t need a vacation from! I'm an Architecture Photographer based in Phoenix, and my current job takes me around the world to photograph hotels & resorts. My real passion, however, is outdoor recreation and adventure photography.

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