Hiking the Echo Canyon Trail & Camelback Mountain in Phoenix

The Echo Canyon Trail on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, is one of the most popular urban hikes in the area.

Located in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona area, you’ll find families, couples, and solo hikers climbing to the top to take in the beautiful panoramic view of Phoenix.

And you can enjoy this trail, too!

How to get to the Echo Canyon Trail in Phoenix, AZ

The Echo Canyon Trail and Camelback Mountain are located just northeast of downtown Phoenix.

No matter what part of the city you’re in, it’s about a 25-30 minute drive to get to Camelback Mountain.

But I’ll make it even easier for you and highlight how to get there from the major areas of Phoenix.

Getting to the Echo Canyon trailhead from Scottsdale

Scottsdale to Camelback Mountain is only about a 10-15 minute drive depending on traffic.

From the center of Scottsdale:

  1. Follow N Scottsdale Road for about a half mile until you make a left onto E Camelback Road.
  2. Drive for about a mile, then make a right onto N Invergordon Road.
  3. Follow N Invergordon Road for about 1 ½ miles and make a left onto E McDonald Drive.
  4. Follow E McDonald Drive for just under two miles until you make a left into the parking lot for Camelback Mountain/Echo Canyon trailhead.

Getting to the Echo Canyon trailhead from Tempe

Tempe to Camelback Mountain takes around 20-25 minutes, depending on traffic.

From the center of Tempe:

  1. Head west on W 5th Street toward S Mill Avenue, then turn right onto Ash Avenue. Follow this for about ⅓ of a mile.
  2. At the traffic circle, continue straight onto W Rio Salada Parkway. Follow this for just over a mile before turning right onto N Priest Drive.
  3. After about a half mile, use the left two lanes to get onto AZ-202 Loop W toward Sky Hbr Arpt/Az-143 S. Follow this for about .2 of a mile, and stay right at the fork. Follow the signs for AZ-202 Loop W/Phoenix. Follow this for about two miles.
  4. Take exit 2 to merge onto N 44th Street, and follow this for almost five miles.
  5. Keep following this until it turns into E Mcdonald Drive for just under a mile, then turn right to stay on E McDonald Drive.
  6. Turn right into the parking lot for Camelback Mountain/Echo Canyon trailhead.

Getting to the Echo Canyon trailhead from downtown Phoenix

From downtown Phoenix, you’re at about a 25-30 minute drive.

From the center of Phoenix:

  1. Head west on W Washington Street toward 1st Avenue for about half a mile, then turn right onto N 7th Avenue.
  2. Follow N 7th Avenue for just under a mile, then turn right to merge onto I-10 E toward Tucson.
  3. Stay on this for about two miles before using the right three lanes to take exit 147A-147B toward AZ-51 N. Follow this for almost half a mile before staying right to stay on A-51 N. Continue following this for about five miles.
  4. Take exit 5 toward Lincoln Drive. Turn right onto E Glendale Avenue and follow it as it turns into E Lincoln Drive. Follow this for about four miles, then turn right onto N Tatum Boulevard.
  5. Follow N Tatum Boulevard for a half mile before turning left onto E Mcdonald Drive. Take the second exit at the traffic circle and follow the road until you arrive at the Camelback Mountain/Echo Canyon trailhead parking lot. 

Getting to Camelback Mountain from Glendale

From Glendale, you have about a 30-35 minute drive.

From the center of Glendale:

  1. Head northwest on Grand Avenue for about ⅓ of a mile, then take a sharp right onto West Myrtle Avenue.
  2. Follow West Myrtle Avenue for just over a mile, then turn onto N 51st Avenue.
  3. Follow N 51st Avenue for about ⅓ of a mile, then turn left onto W Glendale Avenue. Follow this for just under eight miles, then continue onto E Lincoln Drive.
  4. Follow E Lincoln Drive for under four miles, then turn right onto N Tatum Boulevard.
  5. Follow N Tatum Boulevard for a half mile, then turn left onto E Mcdonald Drive. Stay on E Mcdonald Drive until you arrive at the Camelback Mountain/Echo Canyon trailhead parking lot.

Camelback Parking

The Echo Canyon trailhead/Camelback Mountain parking lot has decent parking, and you should have no issues finding a spot.

However, because this is a popular hike, it’d be a good idea to go earlier in the morning to secure a parking spot.

Hiking the Echo Canyon Trail

The Echo Canyon Trail is about a 2.3-mile hike to the top and back.

It’s great for all fitness levels, but it would be rated as a moderate hike due to the steepness in some areas and a bit of scrambling needed.

However, if you take your time and understand your fitness level, anyone can complete this hike.

Here are the specifics of the hike:

  • Distance: 2.3 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,300+ feet

How long does it take to hike the Echo Canyon Trail?

How long it takes will largely depend on your fitness level. However, most people can complete the hike in about 1-2 hours.

However, there’s no shame in taking longer and enjoying the hike for as long as possible!

Echo Canyon Trail map

Hiking Camelback tips

You should not underestimate the Camelback Mountain hike.

You’re exposed to the sun the entire hike, so bringing enough water, snacks, and any other items you may need is critical.

It’s not uncommon for people to get injured, dehydrate themselves, or worse, and multiple people have been rescued from the mountain due to improper preparation.

Do not be one of these people. Bring more than you think you’ll need to be safe.

With that said, here is what I recommend bringing:

  • At least 1 liter of water
  • Small snacks (to enjoy at the top)
  • A hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Proper footwear (hiking boots/shoes, trail running shoes, etc.)

Hiking Camelback Mountain for beginners

If you’re a beginner hiker, here are my top tips to ensure that hiking the Echo Canyon Trail/Camelback Mountain:

  1. Take your time. There’s no shame in going slow. The worst thing you can do is overexert yourself and push yourself beyond your limits. Take your time, and enjoy the beauty around you. If you need to take a break, do it.
  2. Use the safety features. Along the most dangerous parts of the trail, you’ll have railings and other safety features available. Professionals have scaled this route and put in features to minimize the risk to people.
  3. Drink water even when you don’t think you need it. Phoenix’s dry heat is deceptive. You won’t realize how much water you’re losing; dehydration can sneak up on you. So, drinking water consistently is essential to keep yourself safe.
  4. Wear sunscreen. Most of the route is exposed to the blistering sun. So, apply sunscreen in the parking lot, and keep yourself sunburn-free.
  5. Enjoy the hike. You’ll have people of different fitness levels all around you. But it’s not a race. Some people will fly up the trail like mountain goats. Others will take much longer. There’s no award for pushing yourself and finishing first. The only prize is the beauty of the hike itself.

Camelback Mountain Photos

There’s no shortage of Camelback Mountain pictures to take. 

You’ll get great views of the city of Phoenix and the surrounding area along the way. And, at the top, you’ll get an excellent aerial view of Phoenix.

While I didn’t get the photos I wanted, here are the few I took.

Echo Canyon Trail aerial view
Echo Canyon Trail mountain view
Echo Canyon Trail city aerial view

So, are you ready to hike the Echo Canyon Trail?

The United States has no shortage of gorgeous hikes, and the Echo Canyon Trail is one of them.

You’ll find hikers traversing the mountain from sunrise to sunset to enjoy a great day in Phoenix, Arizona.

Another great option is to head to Cholla Lane and take the Cholla Trail. This trail also climbs Camelback Mountain from the opposite side of the Echo Canyon Trail.

If you’re interested in the Cholla Trail or Treasure Loop Trail, I’ve got information about those also.

And, if I’ve missed any great hikes in the Phoenix, Arizona, USA, area, let me know in the comments so I can cover it as soon as possible!

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