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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hike #2 Camelback Mountain Scottsdale AZ

Well, if you read my blog, Livin the Fit Life, you know that we didn't make it to Spain to hike Montjuic and the weather in Italy and Switzerland definitely didn't lend to hiking.  So, for my second hike in my 12 in 2012 hiking challenge, here is a nice warm hike for your reading pleasure.

Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale AZ is a short but challenging hike up steep and rocky terrain.  The mountain got its name because it looks like a camel laying down. We chose to do the Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Summit Trail which is the more challenging of the 3 options.  It was a beautiful sunny day while we were there.  A little warmer than I am used to, being from Seattle.  We actually stayed at the Camelback Inn so we were within walking distance to the mountain.

We arrived at the mountain in the afternoon and despite the heat, there were many other hikers there.  We even saw one lady running up the steep mountain and I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  As we climbed the rocky staircase at the base of the hill, we saw several rock climbers climbing up the giant boulders that surrounded the base of the mountain.
I actually had met with a trainer at the resort for a leg workout today which probably wasn't the smartest idea in the world.  This mountain climbs 1200 feet in just over 1 mile and it is so steep there is a handrail  to hold onto.  I highly recommend using it, especially when you are heading back down.  

We passed several lizards on the way up like this one here.
The panoramic views at the top were beautiful and we stayed there for a while just enjoying the scenery and the heat.

After a while, we hiked back down and my legs were so wobbly that they felt like they were going to give out on me.  Note to self:  Don't do an hour long leg workout right before climbing a steep mountain.  I definitely used the handrail on the way down!

This hike was great on so many levels.  Although it was only about 2.4 miles round trip, it was a very challenging ascent and descent.  Sometimes, for me, the downhill is harder than the uphill.  The views were amazing and I loved seeing the lizards.  Being from Seattle, I love to see different plant life and wild life than what I am used to at home. It makes for a really fun experience.

This would be challenging for children under 8.  The footing is difficult and it is very steep.  If you aren't used to strenuous exercise, make sure to take lots of breaks.  Also, be sure to bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen.  You will be in direct sunlight much of the way and you don't want to get burnt or dehydrated.  Also, this is rattlesnake area so be sure to stay on the path and be aware of your surroundings.

There are port-a-potties at the trailhead.  If you are in the Scottsdale area, this is a must do hike.  Please take some time and check it out.  During peak season (October to April) the parking lot gets crowded quickly so be prepared.  There wasn't a fee to park when we did this hike.

Location:   5700 N. Echo Canyon Parkway, about 10 miles northeast of downtown Phoenix.

To get to the Echo Canyon Recreation Area: Take McDonald Drive east about 1/10-mile from Tatum Boulevard in Paradise Valley. Turn onto Echo Canyon Parkway, which is on the south side of McDonald Drive. Note: you will still be driving on a residential street at this point. It will be about a ¼-mile drive to the trailhead parking area.

Stay hydrated and happy hiking!