Route DescriptionDifficulty: Mostly Class 1 with a Class 3 section complete with handrails
Distance: Round Trip - About 2.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1300 Feet
This is a strenuous trail with a 1000 feet gain per mile. The trail is well maintained and requires the ability to climb steps, scramble up solid rock and to be able to hike up some very steep sections with only a handrail for security.
The first quarter of a mile or so will take you up a mixture of man-made steps and some pretty solid rock trail to the top of Echo Canyon. There are two well placed benches here, giving you a chance to rehydrate and catch your breath. While you are catching your breath, you can have it taken away again by looking East from here to the Superstition Mountain Range.
Once you are ready to move on, continue onward to the more challenging parts of this trail.
The next quarter of a mile or so contains steep steps and a easily climbed Class 3 section that provides a railing for assistance and peace of mind. Along this section is a fence to the left which is used to keep people off of the neighboring residential properties. Once you have passed the first railing you will come across another shortly thereafter. This section is less exposed than the first railing section but some people may opt to use the railing still, for balance and continued peace of mind.
For the last half mile of the trail you will be alternating between semi-flat surfaces to a couple of steep but fun scrambles on solid rock. Be cautioned though that loose pebbles sometimes accumulate on some of the rock and can cause a potentially dangerous slip hazard.
Once you reach the summit, you are rewarded with panoramic 360 degree views, although there is a 99% chance that you will not get to enjoy those views alone. The summit is wide and open and has near verical drop offs on both the East and West sides. Views include the Superstition Mountain Range, Piestewa Peak and the North Phoenix Mountains, South Mountain Preserve and downtown Phoenix.
Once you have soaked in the views, you can return the way you came or head down via the Cholla Trail and complete the loop.
Getting ThereFrom Interstate 17 - You will want to take the Glendale exit. Travel East on Glendale past Highway 51. Glendale will turn into Lincoln Drive. You will continue on Lincoln until you reach Tatum Boulevard. Take a right on Tatum Boulevard and drive until you reach McDonald Drive. Take a left here and then an immediate right onto Echo Canyon Parkway. The parking area will be on the right hand side and is hard to miss. Just look for the line of cars parked on the left hand side of the road to the parking lot, or watch for the line of cars waiting for a parking spot.
If coming from South Highway 51 - Take the Highland/Camelback Rd exit. Take a left onto Highland as soon as you get off the exit. Drive until you hit 16th Street. Take a right here and follow it until you reach Camelback Rd. Take a right on Camelback Rd and follow it until you reach the stoplight intersection of 44th Street. Take a left here and follow it until it turns into McDonald Drive, take a right at the stoplights onto McDonald and then an immediate right onto Echo Canyon Parkway to the parking lot.
Red TapeThere are no parking fees here unless you park illegally.
Rules and Restrictions include:
The Park opens at sunrise and closes at sunset
When to climbOctober through April is generally the best time to climb as temperatures are milder than they are in the summer.
Summer temperatures can reach into the high 110's. Monsoon storms are also a concern when climbing during the Summer.
What will I need?Be sure to have a good pair of hiking or climbing shoes.
1-2 liters of water