Back in January, we took a lovely trip to Phoenix, Arizona and hiked the famous Camelback Mountain. Here’s some things I wish I knew beforehand.
I’m from Nebraska, which is also known as the great plains. When people ask if I want to go on a hike, it’s usually only a slight incline with some trees around. That gives you a little background of my skill level, but if I can do it, you certainly can as well. If you are a beginner like me, I would recommend Cholla Trail. It’s half walking, half climbing – while it’s counterpart Echo Canyon is all climb. Overall, the climb took us about 3 hours to complete going up and then down. I took my jacket, because it was a cool day, but once we were hiking, I wish I left it back in the car.
You can’t really park near the trail at all. The mountain is actually in a neighborhood. Your best shot is to park outside of the gated community where everyone is parallel parking. You can’t really be that mad about the walk to the trail because you are about to walk a whole bunch, and that’s kind of the whole point, right? 🙂
The first half of the trail is mostly walking a dirt path. The scenery is absolutely stunning. The mountain is smack-dab in the middle of the city, so you can see what feels like everything as you walk up. I work in a cubical all day, so I don’t get out much activity wise. I asked Jordan if we were almost to the top because I was exhausted, and he showed me the marker map (which is really nice, it shows you the elevation, and how far you are) and we weren’t even an 8th of the way to the top! That was embarrassing.
You’re about midway when it all starts turning into rock and it becomes less of a hike, and more of a climb. When we reached that point, I wish we brought our water a different way. I would have really liked a hydration pack, one of those backpacks that are basically a water fountain. However, I would have even settled for a normal backpack with more water bottles. We both brought one-liter water bottles and they were basically gone before we got to the top. I can’t stress hydration enough. To make it worse, we didn’t want to litter, so we are trying to carry these water bottles and keep our balance.
The amazing thing while you’re on this climb is you look to your right and left, and it feels like it’s just one misstep away from a terrible death rolling down a steep incline into a cactus, but at the same time it’s so liberating. There’s people of all ages making this climb. There’s also locals that are literally running down and up like it’s not like there’s just one rock that could totally throw off their run.
It took us 3 hours to complete the whole mountain, but we did spend a large amount of time at the top. You can literally see the whole entire city, with the mountains in the distance. It really is a beautiful thing. As I climbed up, I kept thinking “that’s where the top is!” and I was wrong every time. So my advice to you is, when you’re at the top, you will 100% know that’s the top. Don’t be fooled by imitation mountain tops.
You would think going down would be easier, but that’s really not the case. The phrase “it’s all downhill from here” didn’t really apply to the rock part of the hike. It took longer going down than going up. You had to be more careful not to slip, so you had to go slower. Once we got past the rock part, and it was just trail, it was nice, calm walk. It really felt like the right way to end it.
All in all, I would do the hike again in a heartbeat. It was the right amount of challenging. Mostly I would bring more water. We went in January, so it wasn’t as hot as it would be in the summer months.
Have you ever hiked Camelback mountain? How was it? What’s the most difficult hike you’ve ever been on? I’d love to hear if you’d like to share!
All the love and regards,