Here's some background: Cammelback is the tallest peak in Phoenix at 2,704 feet. The infamous “thumb” can be seen from most places in the valley – a white burst of rock jutting skyward out of the desert ridgeline. The Outbound works best with JavaScript enabled. The Tom’s Thumb Trail is a 5 mile out, 5 mile back, extremely difficult, 10 mile round trip hike. Once you get away from the busier Tom’s Thumb Trail, the East End trail is a seldom-used section of the hike that offers great solitude, and the route crosses one of the few springs in the Preserve. The Echo Canyon Trail is 1.3 miles one way to the mountain summit. Comment document.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "a7c2343ebbfaf27831f47f66c8286d0d" );document.getElementById("d7a4bde038").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); The weather has FINALLY cooled down and hiking season is now here in Phoenix! Hiking Camelback. Yeah, neither do we, but it keeps the lights on. Tom’s Thumb was one of the first hikes Case and I did when we got to Arizona for Spring Training. Learn more. Trail Distance: 4 miles; Location: McDowell Sonoran Preserve; As one of the most beloved hikes in Phoenix, Toms Thumb takes hikers through the Sonoran Desert to a strange, thumb-shaped rock formation atop a mountain. It's a challenging hike that will get your heart pumping for sure, but the views from the top are more than worth it. Photo: Kevin KaminskiWhether you turn around at the rock basin, make it to the Flatiron Summit, or venture all the way to the top of Superstition Peak, you will not be disappointed by the ever changing rock formations, beautiful views, and rigorous workout! The McDowell Mountains sit about 30 minutes north of central Scottsdale. Experienced explorers like the cardio workout they get from ascending over 1,300 feet in just 2.5 miles. Within the vast park they provide opportunities to bike, ride horses, and hike. Tom’s Thumb East End Loop-McDowell Sonoran Preserve: This hike is a challenging, 11-mile loop that includes East End, Windgate Pass, and Tom’s Thumb trails found within the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in the Northeast Valley of the Phoenix Metro Area. While not as scenic as the other trails on this list, the 1,100 ft elevation gain is guaranteed to give you some 360 degree views of the entire surrounding Phoenix Metro area. Camelback mountain hike/climb. We are so not responsible for giving some minimal and not very specific advice and then you go out and get eaten by a squirrel or whatever impending danger you may encounter out in the wilderness. Grab your hiking shoes, friends, and lots of water, then head out on one of these awesome hikes this weekend. You can’t visit this sunny state and not attempt its most famous mountain hike. Luckily, we ended up doing a completely different trail instead of the one they planned and wound up going up to Tom's Thumb. Tom’s Thumb. The colossal 90-foot vertical granite crag is visible at the north end of the McDowell Range to commuters far below on the Loop 101. Learn more. The last 1/2 mile climb to the mesa (an unmarked leading up the mesa) is so worth the rather rocky and less trodden path with a completely changed landscape of grasslands, prickly pear cacti and breath taking views for Weaver’s Needle and 360 degree panorama of awesomeness. Camelback Mountain should be hiked at least once in your life. It sits on a ridgeline north of Lookout Mountain and sticks out like a sore thumb from the semi-jagged horizon line. Piestewa Peak is a popular spot for locals who do not want to drive or hike for hours to fit in a good workout, so be prepared to encounter some crowds if you visit on a weekend. 2. Camelback if your more into longer rides. Tom’s Thumb East End Loop-McDowell Sonoran Preserve: This hike is a challenging, 11-mile loop that includes East End, Windgate Pass, and Tom’s Thumb trails found within the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in the Northeast Valley of the Phoenix Metro Area. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Find the travel option that best suits you. We have a “Hiking Forecast” on the local news every morning, cuz that is what we do from October through April in Phoenix – hike! History. Don't see your favorite Phoenix hike on The Outbound? Camelback Mountain (O'odham: Cew S-wegiom) is a mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, United States.The English name is derived from its shape, which resembles the hump and head of a kneeling camel. If we haven’t stressed the point sufficiently, Camelback Mountain is a difficult hike. Learn more. There are over 300 rescues every year on Camelback, please don’t let yourself be one of them! Black Top Mesa has amazing views, stream crossings, mountain ascents (over 2,300ft gain), wildflowers, panorama galore, grasslands, challenge and seclusion. Camelback Mountain. Whether you live here or are just visiting the Valley, this summit hike offers some of … But where should you hike? Anyway, here are 5 butt kicking trails in the Phoenix area that are a good challenge, have killer views (not literally) and a real sense that you are hiking in a very unique desert environment, one that only the Sonoran Desert can offer. The Camelback Mountain hike is one of the most popular hikes in Phoenix. Kevin Kaminski Tom's Thumb is a small spire of rock that is easily visible from most of Scottsdale. -Camelback Mountain is a great hike!-Please start early, my brother and I started at 5:30am and finished in a couple hours.-If you don't start early, you'll end up having to pass or walk behind a good number of hikers, so start early!-I did the Cholla Trail, which offers a great challenge, but not extremely tough. Two thumbs up for Tom’s Thumb Trail. There are a couple ways to venture into the area but I like taking Dutchman’s Trail #104 (ample parking BTW at First Water Trail head) to Bull Pass Trail #129 where you will climb about 1,100 ft in just over 1 mile. Don’t want to hike it alone? Please explore responsibly! Just peruse some of the photos from this hike and from the original Tom's Thumb hike on … Alta Trail-South Mountain Regional Park: This trail is considered one of the most challenging trails within South Mountain Park, but the steep climb to the ridge line rewards the hiker with a striking view of the desert landscape below. Starting at the Lost Dutchman State Park (good parking but does get busy), the Siphon Draw Trail provides an extremely strenuous climb up the Superstition Mountain. Need to Get Outside? I cannot count how many times someone from out of town tells me they are hiking Camelback Mountain – a 1,280 ft gain in elevation over 1.14 miles via the Echo Canyon Trail – in the East Valley of the Metro Phoenix Metro Area. This is also a good hike if you need a quick workout without all the people. Here are some things you need to know. The Tom’s Thumb Trail is accessible from multiple trailheads in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Tom’s Thumb East End Loop-McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Live in the area - Mountain Creek if you are into rails and tricks. Book your tickets online for Camelback Mountain, Phoenix: See 2,502 reviews, articles, and 1,345 photos of Camelback Mountain, ranked No.6 on Tripadvisor among 228 attractions in Phoenix. Camelback Mountain is just 20 minutes from downtown and can be seen all over the area, rising to 2,707 feet. apparently this is a recent edition to the trails here and we weren't disappointed. Camelback Mountain has been one of Phoenix Arizona's most historical landmarks since the 1900s. Don’t let this hike fool you. We had tackled Camelback when we lived in Mesa a few years ago, but I was pretty set on expanding my hiking horizons this time around.. After your climbing you are rewarded with the views of the surrounding area, including the Four peaks, Piestewa Peak, and Camelback mountain. Cholla Trail is an excellent choice for a moderate to somewhat difficult hike on the Camelback Mountain hiking trails! Required fields are marked *. Get an ad-free experience, support The Outbound, and snag a bunch of other perks by subscribing for only $29.99/year. Which is forgivable since they don’t live here so what do they know? Two difficult trails ascend 1,420 feet to a summit resembling the hump of a camel's back, affording 360-degree views of the surrounding city. Photo: Kevin Kaminski Whether you've only visited Phoenix or you're a long-time local, you must've seen Camelback Mountain - it's pretty hard to miss. Show us by creating an adventure. This is a challenging hike in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale and worth the effort. After passing the boulders, you reach the summit-Tom’s Thumb! The Alta Trail also may be accessed from the west end of San Juan Road (approximately 6.0 mile marker), where the Alta Trail meets the ending of the National Trail. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox. This 1 mile trail carries with it a 500 ft climb with some trails in the vicinity to add for a longer hike. I have hiked out to the Thumb, over to the Lookout and back to the trailhead, a 5.9 mile round trip hike, and from the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead to the Gateway Trailhead, a 7.5 mile one way hike in the past. It takes about an 1.5 hours round-trip for hikers in good physical condition. The infamous “thumb” can be seen from most places in the valley – a white burst of rock jutting skyward out of the desert ridgeline. Phoenix is one of the very best cities in the country for hiking with tons of trails that are easily accessible from the metropolitan area. The Echo Canyon hike is the more rugged of the two and requires steep climbs and scrambling over large rocks. Become a Camelback Climber and view times of the fastest climbers in Phoenix. 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