Bobby's Rock Trail
Length: .25 miles
Elevation gain: 200 feet
This trail follows the Echo Canyon summit trail out of the parking lot. At the bottom of the first set of steps, it veers to the right. There will be a trail post that shows where to turn for Bobby's Rock. This area is open sunrise to sunset.
Ramada Loop Trail
Length: 1/8 of a mile
Elevation gain: about 100 feet
This is an easy trail that loops around the upper ramada at Echo Canyon. Take the main summit trail up to the 1/8 mile marker and turn right. After looping around a small ramada and butte, the trail heads back toward the parking lot. This area is open sunrise to sunset.
Summit Trail (Echo Canyon)
Length: 1.2 miles one way
Elevation gain: 1,264 feet (summit is 2,704 feet)
Difficulty: Strenuous and difficult
Enter at Echo Canyon Parkway just east of Tatum Boulevard off of McDonald Drive. Parking is extremely limited at this trailhead and waits for a spot on weekends can be substantial.
This is a very strenuous trail recommended only for experienced hikers. The trail ascends through some spectacular sandstone rock formations and offers unparalleled views from the summit of the greater Phoenix area. The Echo Canyon area is open sunrise to sunset.
Length: 1.5 miles
Elevation gain: 1,200 feet
Difficulty: Strenuous and difficult
Parking is available on Invergordon/64th Street near Cholla Lane. There is no trailhead parking and street parking is very limited. Hikers must park on Invergordon and walk up the south side of Cholla Lane. Dropping off hikers on Cholla Lane is prohibited.
This trail is recommended only for experienced hikers. There are steep, rocky sections with drop-offs on both sides. From Oct. 1 to April 30, the Cholla Trailhead is open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. From May 1 to Sept. 30, the hours are 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The summit of Camelback Mountain is at 2,704 feet above sea level. Elevation gain from the two summit trails is approximately 1,200 feet.
During the late 1800s, the federal government reserved Camelback Mountain for an Indian reservation.
By the 1940s, however, almost the entire mountain fell into private hands and remained so for most of the next two decades. Efforts on the county, state and federal level to restrict development above the 1,600-feet level largely were unsuccessful, including failed efforts in 1963-64 in the state Legislature to arrange land exchanges.
In 1965, the Preservation of Camelback Mountain Foundation led by Barry Goldwater, spearheaded community efforts to save as much of the summit as possible. This effort ultimately succeeded and was capped of by a ceremony in 1968 marking a land exchange that President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall attended.
Geology, flora and fauna
The "head" of Camelback Mountain, which comprises the area of Echo Canyon Recreation Area, is made up of layered sandstone. The hump primarily is composed of granite that, in geologic terms, is much older than the sedimentary rock that makes up the head section of the mountain.
Because of urban encroachment, large mammals are not normally found in the park. Smaller animals typical of the Sonoran Desert populate the park including cottontail rabbits, snakes, lizards, Harris antelope squirrels as well as a variety of birds. Rattlesnakes are common on the trail. If you see one, allow it space and time to escape.
Plant species are typical of those found in the lower Sonoran Desert and include saguaro, barrel, hedgehog, pincushion, jumping cholla, christmas, staghorn, cholla and prickly pear cactoi. Tree species include palo verde, mesquite and ironwood, along with the ocotillo plant.
Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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