Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, United States got it’s name from its shape, which resembles the hump and head of a kneeling camel. You can see it, of course, from the windows of your airplane coming into Phoenix, but also from just about anywhere in the surrounding areas.
It’s quite another view from the top of the mountain looking down on the city.
I headed out early on a summer morning and hiked to the top. I went at a pretty good clip to get the exercise I was looking for and then leisurely enjoyed my time coming down and taking in the views.
There’s restrooms at the base of the mountain where I hiked, but of course, nothing else up or down the mountain. So make sure you “go” before you go and take plenty of water and a snack or two.
The following information is shared from the City of Phoenix which you can access here.
The summit of Camelback Mountain is at 2,704 feet above sea level. The mountain’s two summit trails gain approximately 1,200 feet in elevation.
History of Camelback Mountain
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 it’s surrounded by residential development, 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 cacti. Tree species include palo verde, mesquite and ironwood, along with the ocotillo plant.
A Few Pictures.. I got there just as the sun was coming up over the mountain.
If you get to Phoenix, it’s definitely a great day trip to explore Camelback Mountain. If you just have a half day available, you can get up to the top and back down with no problems. The views are awesome!
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At the top with a friend, Mark, and a bunch of others. I can’t believe we didn’t get the picture with Phoenix down below behind us! A travel pic snafoo. 🙂 Oh well, it was such an awesome morning hike!
PS: If you’ve been to Camelback Mountain, let me know! Share your experience!
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