Rejoice, Phoenix-area hikers: The Echo Canyon Trailhead, and the Summit Trail up Camelback Mountain, will reopen at sunrise Wednesday, January 15.
The trailhead closed in the summer of 2013 for a massive renovation project. The City of Phoenix expanded the trailhead parking area, and it now features 135 parking spaces — nearly double the original 68 — along with flush toilets, a chilled drinking fountain, a shade ramada, bike racks and a roundabout to improve traffic flow.
Crews also rerouted the first quarter-mile of the trail, and the new Summit Trail is about an eighth of a mile longer as a result. The total distance to the summit is about 1.3 miles, but hikers are warned that with a 1,200-foot elevation gain, this trail is one of the Valley’s most strenuous. Fit hikers should allot 45 minutes to reach the summit and another 45 minutes to descend.
Another important note: For the first six months after reopening (through July 15), the Summit Trail will be “hikers only” — in other words, no dogs allowed. Dogs are still allowed on the Cholla Trail, the other major trail at Camelback.
The trailhead will be open from sunrise to sunset. Even with the added parking spaces, it’s sure to be packed once it reopens, so get there early or be patient while waiting for a place to park.
For more information on the improvements to the trailhead, including a map of the rerouted trail, click here.