Widely regarded as one of the best urban hikes in America, climbing to the top of Camelback Mountain is a popular activity in Arizona. It attracts hiking enthusiasts from all over the world. But the approach to the mountain is different from different areas. If you’re a first-timer at this trail, one of the best places to begin from is via Scottsdale. While climbing the mountain is a common hobby for its residents, Scottsdale regularly sees many tourists visit during peak times with the singular intent of conquering Camelback Mountain.
What Will I See?
Camelback Mountain was once a holy ground for Salt River Valley native Americans. It is easy to see why the mountain is considered sacred; it is a place of singular and uncanny beauty. To add to the mystique, there is even a sandstone rock formation that looks like a man in prayer. It is fittingly called the Praying Monk.
The mountain has many caves to explore, and it offers stunning visuals and vistas from almost every angle. The trail itself is colorful from the different types of rock colors and the desert plants and wildflowers that cover the various areas. Be on the lookout for the abundant wildlife, as you could see anything from coyotes and foxes to scorpions and snakes.
What Should I Know?
Make sure you understand the rigors of the task ahead, as it is always better to be over prepared than under prepared. If the Scottsdale area is unfamiliar to you, then it will be best to get a little familiar with the area beforehand. You never know when you might need to go to the nearest supermarkets or even the Scotssdale A&E. Some people even go so far as finding out where the nearest dental clinic or pet hotel are, as you never know what can happen while in an unfamilair place.
How Long Will It Take?
With an elevation of 2,704 feet, depending on the trail you choose, it can take anywhere from two to three hours to complete the hike. There are two trails, and Scottsdale allows ease of access to the Echo Canyon Trail, which is regarded as the more difficult of the two. Neither of these trails is for beginner hikers. Make sure that you have enough experience with endurance hikes before attempting these. If this is your first hike, then go with an experienced group. Make sure that you can meet the strenuous physical requirements of climbing one and a half miles to the peak and back down again.
When Should I Go?
Definitely not in summer! This is not a hike you want to attempt in that kind of heat. As it is already an arid and dry heat area, you do not want to ramp up the difficulty by adding the unnecessary complication of dehydration to it. Prepare for the heat, dress appropriately, and take a hat or sun visor with you. It can be hard to anticipate the effects of dry heat if you have not experienced this before. Always remember that you never want to underestimate Mother Nature.
Also, due to its popularity the trails are somewhat crowded on weekends, and it might be best to attempt the hike on a weekday. Try to arrive closer to dawn as large areas of the trail will be covered in shadow in the morning up to early afternoon. Arriving early will also allow you to finish the hike in a good time and give you the rest of the day to rehydrate and recover.
What Should I Prepare?
Be very aware of your footwear; this is not a hike you want to take without the proper footwear. Wear sturdy hiking boots with thick socks and appropriate clothing. Carry along a bag with enough water for the entirety of the hike as well as high energy snacks for when you take a break. The steady elevation of the Echo Canyon trail can be very challenging, and it is best to prepare snacks that will give you the boost you need to be able to overcome any difficulties.
Pack sunblock or suntan lotion and make sure your phone is fully charged. Not only will you be able to capture some truly one-of-a-kind photos while on this hike, but you will also want your phone at peak efficiency if you happen to find yourself in an emergency situation.
Once properly prepared, your Camelback Mountain hike is guaranteed to be an experience that will always remain a golden memory.