Camelback Mountain Hiking Tours
NOTE: The Cholla Trail remains closed for maintenance by the City of Phoenix, so the normal two-trail experience of our guided Camelback Mountain hiking tours described below is unavailable until further notice. The Wild Bunch Desert Guides continue to offer Camelback Mountain hiking while only using the Echo Canyon Trail, but we humbly suggest our guests delay a Camelback hike for another visit so they can get the full experience.
“Let’s go elsewhere to places like McDowell Sonoran Preserve says Laurel Darren, the owner/operator and co-founder of the Wild Bunch. “There are so many other better options right now that are either more suitable to the abilities of our guests or even more satisfying to explore.
“Camelback always draws a lot of visitors, so it can be dangerous, but especially now in the age of COVID-19 when the city has closed Cholla Trail, making every hiker use Echo Canyon Trail. That makes Social Distancing a challenge, and it also makes parking there even more impossible with everybody limited to the already-jammed Cholla Trail lot.
“We tend to steer guests to the more off-the-beaten-path experiences anyway. But it’s an especially great time to avoid the typical tourist stops to see some really unique scenery that most visitors never see and that are even more amazing to me anyway.”
Ultimate Camelback Mountain Hiking Trail Adventure
Do not settle for only one trail while hiking Camelback Mountain on a trip to Arizona.
Instead, do what few people attempt on the world-famous trademark landmark of Phoenix – C-R-U-S-H
both trails with the help of Wild Bunch Desert Guides on your Camelback Mountain hike.
The Wild Bunch provides all the tools -- including first-hand local knowledge and experience – to make your assault on the iconic summit a dream come true.
A guided Camelback Mountain hike from Wild Bunch features hiking the entire epic mountain route with more than 1,400 feet of vertical gain.
Our usual Camelback hiking tours start at the Echo Canyon Trail, which boasts heart-pounding switchbacks, notorious high-angle handrail climbing and triple boulder field scrambling.
Celebrate your Camelback hike to the signature mountain’s summit with a 360-degree panorama of the Phoenix Metro Area. The spectacular must-see views stretch 50 miles in every direction.
Next on your Wild Bunch guided Camelback Mountain hike, descend the exposed spine and ridge line of Cholla Trail, moving east towards Scottsdale, to complete an impressive five-mile, end-to-end traverse of the entire 2,707-foot mountain.
Completing the Wild Bunch’s Camelback hiking challenge is incredibly satisfying, as numerous guests have recounted for us for years in person and on Social Media.
“Having a guide help us hike Camelback was the best experience we had while visiting Scottsdale,” Elizabeth Dean Cincinelli wrote on Facebook on Oct. 28, 2018, after a guided adventure tour with the Wild Bunch.
“Our guides made the hike safe, manageable, and fun. I recommend Wild Bunch Desert Guides for anyone looking to hike the many trails around the area. This service even included water and snacks for the hike. Our guide Matt also had lots of knowledgeable information about the mountain and wildlife.”
The Ultimate Camelback Mountain Adventures includes:
- Professionally guided mountain interpretation;
- Use of lightweight summit packs;
- Healthy snacks, energy drinks and bottles of refreshing water;
- Passenger pick up at the end of the hike for a ride back to your accommodations.
There are Wild Bunch guests physically unable or too young to handle the two-trail challenge of a Camelback Mountain hike.
And that is entirely OK! Please do not be offended if we suggest another of our adventure tours for you. The Wild Bunch always puts the safety and happiness of our guests foremost in our minds.
Camelback Mountain hiking tours are rated “Double Black Diamond
” – which means, with a steep 1.1-mile climb to the summit, expert hikers consider the challenge “extremely difficult” and certainly not for everyone. Hikers have died from falls on Camelback, and anyone with a fear of heights should avoid the sheer cliff drops off the side of the summit, and steep drop-offs on Cholla Trail.
For those wishing for another of the Wild Bunch guided adventure tours instead, please visit our other Phoenix & Scottsdale guided hiking tours
for numerous options.
Because we are a small, local mom-and-pop specialty shop, the Wild Bunch Desert Guides deliver a personal touch and countless extras you will not see from other hiking tour companies or Phoenix hiking tours. From the detailed follow-up in the booking process, to the drinks and special snacks provided during our adventure tours, guests are delighted to discover the homespun hospitality and personal care everyone craves when traveling.
However, for those up for the challenge of Camelback Mountain hiking, the Wild Bunch offers these tips for success:
- Plan on 2-3 hours to complete the journey;
- Hydration, Hydration, Hydration! A minimum of 2 liters per person, more is better, especially when it's hot out. Remember, when your water is half gone, it's time to turn around.
- Salty snacks to keep your strength up and to help replenish electrolytes lost through sweating
- Good Footwear - Hiking shoes or boots with great traction
- Start early in the day to avoid the crowds, especially on weekends, when the parking lots fill up fast. The lots are closed when full, meaning no new visitors to the trails;
- Wear sun protection for your face and head (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen);
- Make sure to bring a camera or better yet a cellphone (which can summon help if you have an emergency) to capture the incredible summit views.
- And always when hiking alone, especially in an unfamiliar area let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
Of the two trails used for Camelback Mountain hiking tours, considered slightly more difficult is Echo Canyon Trail because of a more rugged terrain that requires steep climbs and scrambling over large rocks.
So, adrenaline junkies sometimes opt for an up-and-back journey completely contained on the Echo Canyon Trail.
Either way, any of the Camelback Mountain hiking tours offered by the Wild Bunch Desert Guides are $195 (plus tax) for a solo hiker up and down. Or $95 per person up and down for 2 or more (plus tax). Currently Cholla is closed so Up and Down Echo Canyon is the only available option.
“Our intrepid guide Laurel set the perfect tone for our hike up Camelback,” Rebecca from Chicago wrote on Tripadvisor in March 2018. “My son was like a jackrabbit and my daughter was afraid of the heights, but Laurel got everyone through perfectly. My daughter was laughing and smiling on the way down. It made all the difference for us to have an experienced guide.”
Another 2018 reviewer whole-heartedly agreed on Google.
“We hiked Camelback Echo Trail with Matt and Laurel,” Elizabeth Olson wrote. “Not only did we get safely to the summit but learned a lot about the mountain, wildlife, and desert plants along the way. Our guides also included water and snacks to help us on this difficult but worthwhile hike.”
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