Mostly Class one with some class 2 scrambling, and a class 3 section with handrails for assistance
Round-trip 3-7 miles depending on shuttle/no shuttle
This loop can be done in two ways. Either climbing up the Echo Canyon Summit Trail
and descending via the Cholla Trail
or vice versa and looping back around to your vehicle or by simply shuttling one car to one trailhead and parking with another car at the other trailhead thus making a shorter distance having to climb.
By climbing both trails combined, you will have views of the downtown Phoenix skyline, the Superstition Mountain Range
, Piestewa Peak
, North Phoenix Mountains, South Mountain Preserve and numerous other small peaks dotting the skyline. Not to mention the views you will be hiking two parts of the mountain that are somewhat differing in their difficulty and approaches.
To do the loop starting from the Echo Canyon Trailhead, reach the summit via this trail and descend via the Cholla trail. Once at the end of Cholla Lane walk North (left) on Invergorden Rd until you reach McDonald Drive. Follow McDonald Drive West (left) until you reach the Echo Canyon Parkway then take a left onto Echo Canyon Parkway back to your car.
To complete it starting from the Cholla Trail reach the summit via this trail and descend via the Echo Canyon Summit Trail. When you reach the parking lot, exit out of Echo Canyon Parkway and go East (right) onto McDonald Drive until you reach Invergorden Rd. Go South (right) on Invergorden Rd until you reach your vehicle.
Getting ThereStarting from the Echo Canyon Trailhead
From 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.
Starting from the Cholla Trail
From Interstate 17:
Tak the Glendale exit and follow Glendale East. Glendale will turn into Lincoln Drive. You will want to follow Lincoln Dr until you reach Invergorden Road. From here, you will turn right onto Invergorden. Parking will be located on the right hand side after Cholla lane. Parking will be hard to miss because of all the cars that will be parked there.
From SR 51:
Take the Highland Ave/Camelback Rd exit if coming from the South, or the Colter St/Camelback Rd exit if coming from the North. Follow Camleback Rd to the East until you reach Invergorden Rd. Take a left on Invergorden and drive until you see the mass of cars parked along your left hand side, or watch for Cholla Lane. You will have to turn around once you reach this point to find parking.
Finding the trailhead:
Once you have parked your vehicle, walk West down Cholla Lane along a small gravel walkway until you reach the trailhead.
There are no parking fees here unless you park illegally.
Rules and Restrictions include:
The Park opens at sunrise and closes at sunset
When to climb
October 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.
If Shuttling, another hiking partner would be essential.
1-2 liters of water