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Camelback Mountain (who spots the Praying Monk?)

Ever wonder who drunk all AZ water and turned it into a Wild West desert? Well, it could be the 🐪.


In the center of the Phoenix Valley lays a big lazy looking mountain called Camelback. With an elevation of 2,704 ft, hiking it is one of the most popular tourist and first-date activities for nature lovers. The views are great from the top, access is easy and it is also fairly short. The mountain is surrounded by the green Arcadia and Paradise Valley on both sides. There are a couple of golf courses and lavish resorts soaking up the sun and the views of this centrally located landmark.


Things to know:

  • Camelback Mt is the highest peak in Phoenix
  • No pets are allowed on the trails
  • Due to its difficulty, prep for your hike with correct hiking shoes and plenty of water to last the whole trail.

Cholla Trail:

Echo Canyon:

Camelback has been a Phoenix city park since 1968. It has two trails that differ by intensity but meet at the peak. One is called Cholla with a trailhead located East of the mountain and is a much milder hike. The other one is Echo Canyon and it is accessible from the Northside. While it is a magnificently gorgeous ascend that you can explore (but are not encouraged to) a bit off the trail it is a much harder hike and should be approached with much caution and WATER 💦.


One of the most unique sports on the Echo side is a rock in a shape of a praying monk. You can see it even from the 101 Highway West of the mountain. Once you see it you’ll know why it is called this way. It has become a city’s unique rock climbing spot (if you’re into that kind of exploration :)


Another amazing feature is close to the top of the Echo Canyon side. It is a hole in a rock with a small adjacent cave. To get there you have to wonder just slightly off the trail about two-thirds up. It is easier to spot when going down. There is a sign that says be aware of wild bees. I love sketching from there as it is often shaded and secluded.


The variety of hikers makes for great people watching as it ranges between the struggling and unprepared first-time hikers powering through to the seasoned trail runners who seem to have an extra pair of lungs as they pass by you swiftly. The hike is so popular that some of the boulders along the trail are polished and make it tricky to find some grip. But all in all, it is always worth it!


The moment you reach the peak you stop with a feeling of AWE regardless of the time of the day.


Just remember to always stay hydrated and turn back before you get too tired as descending is no easier than going up. And staying aware of your capabilities without being a show-off can mean a difference between a fun hike and a broken leg or a heat stroke.





(p.s. Couloir bottles will keep your water ice-cold through the hike and won’t break from hitting those rocks along the way 😉⛰️)


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