(Editor’s Note – This original post from December 2015 has been updated to reflect current Grand Canyon vacation details.)
Camelback Mountain Arizona is the famous landmark icon near Phoenix and the surrounding areas of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. This prominent monument in the center of Phoenix Valley is part of the Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area.
For many local Arizona residents, Camelback Mountain is a point of pride symbolizing a resting camel keeping constant watch high above the Phoenix horizon. In fact, Camelback Mountain, which is a natural sandstone formation, was named after its resemblance to the head and hump of a kneeling camel.
As vacationers fly into the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport they cannot help but notice this massive prominent landmark. Camelback Mountain overlooks the Valley of the Sun, which is shared by Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Paradise Valley.
History of Camelback Mountain
Some say it took tens of millions of years for wind and weather to sculpt this masterpiece made of sandstone and granite. Camelback Mountain rises to over 2700 feet in elevation and is the highest peak in the Phoenix mountain ranges.
Early exploration discovered a ceremonial cave nestled into the north side of the mountain suggesting that the Hohokam Culture lived in the area. The Hohokam considered Camelback Mountain to be a sacred site. Although they abandoned the area around the 14th century, today the religious Hohokam cave and its purpose cause many people to still refer to Camelback as Sacred Mountain.
Over the years several key political leaders have made efforts to preserve and protect this mountain monument as a natural landmark. Recommended laws to prevent any building and development above the 1,600-foot mark have yet to succeed however. In 1965 US Senator Barry Goldwater secured higher elevations of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix for natural activities and the area became an official Phoenix City park in 1968.
Despite legislative restrictions, there are now some luxury resorts and golf courses in the area. These were designed to blend into the natural settings and help make Camelback Mountain a great vacation destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Camelback Mountain Hiking
Camelback Mountain trails attract more than 300,000 avid recreational hikers from around the world each year. In fact, the area is famous for its ultimate urban hiking experience.
There are two hiking trails that lead to the Peak of Camelback Mountain. The ascent is 1,280 feet and the hikes are not for the beginner hiker, as both trails are strenuous with steep grades. Climbing Camelback Mountain, the summit hikes take between 1.5 and 3 hours, round trip.
Camelback Mountain’s Echo Canyon Trail (Summit Trail)
1.2 Miles with a 1,262 Feet Elevation Gain – Hike among spectacular sandstone rock formations with unrivaled views from the Camelback Mountain summit overlooking all of Greater Phoenix.
Camelback Mountain’s Cholla Trail
1.4 Miles with a 1,200 Feet Elevation Gain – Hike up steep rocky sections and navigate through trails with drop-offs on both sides. Trail consists of dirt, gravel, and boulders, with some handrails.
Camelback Mountain can also accommodate beginner hikers. The easier trails are equally enjoyable and take less than an hour to complete.
Camelback Mountain’s Bobby’s Rock Trail – 0.25 mile with a 200 feet elevation gain.
Camelback Mountain’s Ramada Loop Trail – 0.123 mile with a 100 feet elevation gain.
Praying Monk Camelback Mountain
A natural point of interest situated on the northern slope of Camelback Mountain is a natural rock formation known as The Praying Monk. This natural red sandstone formation is popular among rock climbers. It is also equally enjoyable to view from below as the outline looks like a monk kneeling in prayer and facing the mountain peak.
Other Camelback Mountain Activities
There are a lot of things to do on Camelback Mountain since it is also a cultural hub. You’ll find a wide array of activities such as exciting nightlife, world-class shopping, and outdoor activities including horseback riding, mountain biking, river rafting, kayaking, and Arizona desert eco-tours.
Camelback Mountain Resorts – Several resorts located near or on Camelback Mountain host vacationers during their stay; popular Camelback Mountain hotels include Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, Camelback Inn, Royal Palms and The Phoenician.
Camelback Mountain Golf – For the golf enthusiast there are several golf courses surrounding Camelback Mountain as well, such as Camelback Golf Course, Indian Bend Golf Course, and Camelback Golf Club.
Grand Canyon Tour Includes Camelback Mountain
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