I’ve been prepping myself for a 3-day hike in the Grand Canyon in May 2014 by taking on some of the more strenuous trails around Phoenix. Camelback Mountain has a reputation for setting the legs on fire, so when I saw that my church had organized a hike up the humps the first weekend of December, I couldn’t pass it up. Below is a quick summary of my experience.
At the time of our hike, the only way to access the top was via Cholla Trail (pronounced choy-ya) which rises up from the east side. In the picture below, envision hiking a trail cut just on the other side of the spine of the camel that runs from the right (or rear) to the left.
- Destination: Camelback Summit – the top of the tallest hump in pic above
- Distance: about 3 miles round trip
- Elevation gain: 1,300 feet
- Time: 3.5 hours; time of day: early morning
- Weather: sunny with calm air and temps in the mid-50s
- Free admission
- Views from the top and other vantage points
- Desert landscape
- That burn in the legs
- Parts of trail require scaling rock walls and navigating back down them
- Concern of bee attacks as advised by signs (bees killed a few people on Camelback in 2013)
- Volume of other hikers on the weekend resulted in congestion
- Parking a half mile from the trail head on a residential street
I’m glad I hiked Camelback so that I can say that I’ve done it, but I won’t be rushing back anytime soon. The single biggest turnoff was the volume of people. Friends have recommended other trails that will help prep me for my Grand Canyon hike, so I’ll place priority on those trails in the future.
If you have hiked Camelback, I would like to hear your thoughts in the comment box below. Questions? Fire away and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Some more pics from my hike (click to enlarge)…