Hiking up Arizona’s Camelback Mountain

Taking advantage of some gorgeous Arizona weather, yesterday I took a walk up Scottsdale’s Camelback Mountain, so named because of its distinctive two-hump shape. The hike began easily enough, with some railroad-tie steps and a rocky path that sloped gently uphill. After being lulled into a false sense of security, I turned a corner to find a steep rock face with a railing sticking out of it (see photo.) After negotiating my way up the rock face, I plodded along for another hour or two until I reached the top, where I was rewarded with an impressive view of the surrounding city. The beautiful red-rock and desert scenery is outstanding– everything most people imagine when they think of the American Southwest.

Because I’m far from an exercise fiend, I thought the hike was somewhat challenging, and I assumed other people would find it a little difficult as well. That is, until I saw six-year-old kids on the summit, accompanied by their elderly grandparents. Apparently, I need to sign up at a gym.

Okay, I’ll admit it. The mountain is hardly a mammoth. At 2,704 ft., Colorado natives would probably label Camelback, perhaps accurately, as a glorified hill. But for someone who grew up far removed from mountains, this was a towering peak. And for someone who continues to live far removed from consistent exercise, the hike was a challenge, but one well worth the effort, particularly the very fun jog down.

While performing a modest bit of research before yesterday’s trek, I found one website that offered this very telling piece of advice regarding Camelback: “It’s best to get an early start if you want to find a parking space.”

Of course, unlike bars, restaurants, and parties, mountains are not enhanced by more people. Still, in an effort to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, hundreds of tourists and Phoenix-area residents flock to the mountain every day, and even though it is hardly a Fortress of Solitude, Camelback does provide weary city-dwellers with a much-needed refuge from office deadlines and honking horns.

For visitor information, give this site a whirl.