The Camelback Christmas tree returns, just in time for the holidays

PHOENIX - After months of controversy and wondering if it would ever return, the Camelback Christmas tree is back just in time for the holiday season. 

"There are some grinches who are against the tree, but in the end, love won out," explained the man known as 'Camelback Santa'. 

The tree appeared on top of the trail this weekend; already attracting hundreds of hikers who make the yearly pilgrimage just to see the tree. 

In May, a committee with the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department voted to recommend banning the tree to the Parks and Recreation Board, but the board never moved forward with a formal decision, hence why the tree is back. 

But there are some changes, according to Camelback Santa, who has sort of adopted the tree tradition over the years. 

First, the tree this year is much shorter, shrinking from twelve feet to six feet. 

Second, Camelback Santa is asking that people only place ornaments made of bird seed on the tree. 

Finally, there are signs near the tree, asking people to help clean up any litter left behind from the tree. 

In May, city officials cited the fact that in years past that trash would collect near the tree. The glass ornaments could break, posing a safety risk, and suggested that the tree was more or less a hazard. 

The city also cited rules on the books, stating that people are not allowed to leave things behind on mountain summits or trails, whicht would include a Christmas tree. 

ABC15 was told; however, the city has no plans to take the tree down. 

"If somebody cuts the tree down like they did last year, or the parks department won't let those nice people bring up another one, a new tree will appear within 24 hours," explained Camelback Santa, who vows to keep the tree tradition going. 

Print this article Back to Top

Your Region News
West Valley Phoenix Metro Southeast Valley Northeast Valley Northern Arizona Central/Southern AZ