How Long To Hike Camelback Mountain In Phoenix, AZ

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Camelback Mountain in Phoenix was named after the mountain ridge that resembles the hump and head of a camel. Hiking up Camelback Mountain is a popular pastime in Arizona and should be on your bucket list when you visit the state. However, Camelback Mountain is rated as a strenuous hike due to the inclination of the climb. How long to hike up Camelback Mountain, you might ask?

You can choose between two trails to hike up Camelback Mountain. You can hike the Echo Canyon Trail or the Cholla Trail up Camelback Mountain. Both courses should take about two or three hours to complete the out and back trail, and both these trails are approximately 2.5 miles long.

Although neither of these trails is easy, the Echo Canyon Trail up Camelback Mountain is more challenging. It has a steeper climb and elevation gain of 1 400 feet, and some rock scrambles to reach the top. However, Cholla Trail should not be underestimated. While the climb is not as steep, there are still some rock scrambles on the trail, and it is by no means an easy hike.

How Long Does It Take To Hike Up Camelback Mountain?

Camelback Mountain is an extremely popular hiking trail to complete in Arizona. From the top of the mountain, you have spectacular views of Phoenix and the surrounding landscape. You can hike to Camelback Mountain any time of the year. However, the weather in summer is scorching. Therefore, winter is the best and most popular time to hike Camelback Mountain.

You don’t need a permit to hike up Camelback Mountain via either Echo Canyon or Cholla Trail. However, you cannot take dogs on either trail, and it is advisable to leave small children at home. In addition, this climb is not suitable for people lacking in experience and fitness.

There are restrooms at the trailheads, and you can also fill up your water bottles here. Be sure to do so as there aren’t any water points or food stalls along the trail.

Both Echo Canyon and Cholla Trail lead to Camelback Mountain and are 2.5 miles in total and will take about two or three hours to complete the round trip. So how can you access Camelback Mountain from the different trailheads?

How Long To Hike Camelback Mountain Via Echo Canyon Trail

Echo Canyon Trail is the more difficult and more popular route to Camelback Mountain. Echo Canyon takes you up the west side of Camelback Mountain. This hike is extremely popular, and you are bound to come across many other hikers when you are on the path.

Due to its popularity, Canyon Trail usually has some crowds. While crowds are great for safety reasons, they also mean that you will have a harder time finding parking near the Echo Canyon Trailhead. Parking here is limited, especially on the weekends.

You are recommended to start the climb as early as six o’clock to ensure that you find parking space, avoid the crowds, and make it down from Camelback Mountain before the extreme Arizona heat arrives. Hiking at this time also ensures you will have a spectacular view of the sunrise while climbing.

How Long To Hike Camelback Mountain Via Cholla Trail

Cholla Trail is not as popular a route to hike up Camelback Mountain. While this trial is not quite as grueling as Echo Canyon, it is slightly longer and takes the same time to complete. Cholla Trailhead has more parking availability than Echo Canyon’s Trailhead. Still, aim to start your climb early to avoid the heat.

Regardless of the trail, you decide to follow up Camelback Mountain; you will have beautiful views of the metropolis and surrounding area from the top of the mountain. The last bit of both trails requires some rock scrambling to reach the top. Wearing good hiking shoes and having both hands accessible will assist you in successfully making it to the top of Camelback Mountain.

Apart from the challenging and fun hike, there is another reason why Camelback Mountain is such a popular spot for hikers. It is called the Praying Monk and is a massive sandstone rock that climbers like to attempt. Even if you don’t wish to climb the Praying Monk rock, you will undoubtedly enjoy watching others trying to.

The Challenges Of Hiking Camelback Mountain In Phoenix

There are a few challenges to consider when hiking Camelback Mountain in Phoenix. While you can prepare for some of them, you will just have to face others. Here are the top challenges of hiking Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona:

  • Crowds and Parking. As we have mentioned, Camelback Mountain is a popular hiking destination for many. Therefore, you might have trouble finding parking near the trailhead, especially on weekends. In addition, the trail might be busy, meaning you could be slowed down because of slower hikers in front of you. Therefore, arrive early to avoid the crowds.
  • Heat and Exhaustion. Temperatures of up to 100°F can be expected in summer. Therefore, you must bring enough water for Camelback Mountain. Unfortunately, the trailhead is the only place to fill your water bottles. You are recommended to take at least four liters of water per person. High temperatures also mean that you will feel exhausted quickly.
  • Sheer drops and rock scrambles. People have died falling off the sheer drops up Camelback Mountain. Wear appropriate shoes and make sure of your footing when climbing this mountain. There are some sections where you must scramble up the rocks and boulders. Take care when doing so.

Despite the challenges of hiking Camelback Mountain, there are many rewards for enduring this arduous hike. Many endangered species live in the area, and you will likely spot animals, such as hawks, lizards, quails, and falcons, along the way. Take care not to disturb the environment, and be sure to take everything you bring with you home again.

Can You Camp In The Camelback Mountain City Park?

While you cannot camp in Camelback Mountain City Park, various other campsites in Arizona are worth a visit if you want to be close to Camelback Mountain. Camelback Mountain follows a strictly enforced sunrise to sunset rule. Therefore, if you are hiking Camelback Mountain in the late afternoon, be sure of what time the park will close.

As for camping, there are many campgrounds and RV parks around Phoenix where you can stay before and after hiking Camelback Mountain. Scottsdale Trailer Corral is the closest RV park to Camelback Mountain. You can also visit the Estrella Mountain campgrounds, the Rowland campground at McDowell Mountain Park, or Ironwood Picnic Area and Campgrounds.

These camping locations are all situated close to Camelback Mountain so that you can start the hike early in the morning.


Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, is a popular and challenging hike. You can follow two trails to reach Camelback Mountain: Echo Canyon and Cholla Trail. Of the two, Echo Canyon is the hardest. Both routes are about 2.5 miles long and take about two or three hours to complete the round trip.

There are many perks of hiking Camelback Mountain, such as the gorgeous views and landscape, the animals, and the infamous Praying Buddha sandstone rock. You must take enough water on this hike as the only water fountains are at the trailhead. Be sure to start hiking early to avoid the crowds and heat.