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 runs nearby
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8.7 mi 13.9 km • Loop • 525 ft Ascent 159.88 m Ascent
Windgate to Bell Pass Loop
10.5 mi 16.9 km • Loop • 2,082 ft Ascent 634.74 m Ascent
Tom's Thumb from Gateway
12.6 mi 20.2 km • Loop • 2,591 ft Ascent 789.85 m Ascent
Maricopa Trail - Pass Mountain Connector
9.4 mi 15.1 km • Point to Point • 538 ft Ascent 163.95 m Ascent
Usery Park Large Loop - South Side
7.6 mi 12.2 km • Loop • 243 ft Ascent 74.17 m Ascent
Usery Mountain Regional Park Medium Loop
6.3 mi 10.1 km • Loop • 283 ft Ascent 86.3 m Ascent
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“A rigorous, rewarding, and less crowded way to the top of Camelback Mountain.”— Hunter R
While most people in the area have rund 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 runners who are dehydrated and/or suffering from sun exposure because they did not plan properly for their run, 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 run. 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.
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Land Manager: City of Phoenix - Trails and Desert Preserves