Location and easy access make both routes to the summit of Camelback Mountain very popular. Weekend afternoons can be crowded, but the citys most prominent natural landmark is always a good destination. Although steep, and portions of both trails require some bare-rock scrambling, the effort is rewarded with great views at every turn. Descending the Echo Canyon trail during sunset is a classic Phoenix experience.
Although the Echo Canyon Trail is rightfully considered the more challenging of the two trails to the summit, the margin is narrow, with an average elevation gain of only 200 feet/mile more than the Cholla Trail. An over-and-back route is the best way to experience Camelback Mountain, extending the workout to almost 2600 feet of total elevation gain in about 4.5 miles.