Camelback Mountain via Cholla Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,193' 363 m
Descent: -1,190' -363 m
High: 2,579' 786 m
Low: 1,387' 423 m
GradeAvg Grade: 14% (8°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)
Popular hikes nearby
8A-8B-200 Loop Near Piestewa
3.8 mi 6.0 km • Loop • 917 ft Ascent 279.5 m Ascent
Singletrack Paradise Valley, AZ( 4 )
Lizard/Cactus Over-the-Rock Loop
2.0 mi 3.3 km • Loop • 109 ft Ascent 33.35 m Ascent
Singletrack Tempe Junction, AZ( 1 )
South Mountain Park - East Tour
10.1 mi 16.2 km • Loop • 1,153 ft Ascent 351.43 m Ascent
Singletrack Guadalupe, AZ( 10 )
Windgate to Bell Pass Loop
10.5 mi 16.9 km • Loop • 2,082 ft Ascent 634.74 m Ascent
Singletrack Fountain Hills, AZ( 10 )
Phoenix Sonoran Desert Preserve
5.6 mi 9.0 km • Loop • 697 ft Ascent 212.42 m Ascent
Singletrack Cave Creek, AZ( 13 )
5.9 mi 9.5 km • Loop • 1,007 ft Ascent 307.04 m Ascent
Singletrack Laveen, AZ( 7 )
Navigate on-trail with our free app
“A rigorous, rewarding, and less crowded way to the top of Camelback Mountain.”— Hunter R
While most people in the area have hiked to the summit of Camelback Mountain via the Echo Canyon Summit Trail, that's only because the Cholla Trail is less publicized and therefore lesser known. It's certifiably the safer, more enjoyable, less crowded, and less heat-stroke inducing of the two options. Which to our mind, makes it the best way to the summit.
When you're ready to embark, follow the Cholla Trail as it snakes its way through numerous, rocky switchbacks on its way to the summit. Along the way, be sure to take plenty of breaks and drink plenty of water! Every year, rescue crews are sent to Camelback to retrieve hikers who are dehydrated and/or suffering from sun exposure because they did not plan properly for their hike, or did not exhibit good self-care while on the trail. Don't be one of those people - drink your water.
Near the summit, the trail gets incredibly rocky and can be hard to follow. Take this section slowly, and keep your eyes peeled for trail markers guiding the way.
After making it all this way and finally reaching the summit, give somebody a high-five and congratulate yourself on finishing an incredibly tough hike. Top it all off by enjoying the summit's fantastic views of Phoenix and the entire Valley of the Sun. When you're ready to head back down, carefully retrace your way back to the trailhead and then to the parking area.
Hiked this trail?
Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow hikers know what's here.
Land Manager: City of Phoenix - Trails and Desert Preserves