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Squaw Peak or Camelback?

Chicago
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214 posts
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Squaw Peak or Camelback?

Which is a better hike: Camelback or Squaw Peak?

I am looking for good views with a moderate hike...

Mesa, Arizona
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for Tempe
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1. Re: Squaw Peak or Camelback?

For good views with a moderate hike I'd recommend Pinnacle Peak. I don't consider either Camelback or Piestewa moderate. However, of the two I'd say Piestewa. The trail at the top is easier to follow and there is more parking.

Phoenix, Arizona
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2. Re: Squaw Peak or Camelback?

Just FYI, Scott, our governor re-named Squaw Peak. It's now "officially" called Piestewa Peak - just so you aren't confused. Most of us native phoenicians will probably never stop calling it Squaw Peak, though. ;)

I like Squaw Peak better than Camelback - I used to live near SP and hiked it every day. The trail itself is a tad strenuous, especially near the top, but you can go slowly. It does have great views of the city along the way, though, and getting to the very top is definitely worth it. The people along the trail are always pretty friendly, too, and most of us will stop and chat with tourists when we take breaks at the benches and such.

If you do want an easier hike, Pinnacle Peak is definitely a good choice. It's a beautiful groomed trail, with signs indicating wildlife and plant names along the way. The views of the surrounding area include desert, golf courses, resorts, and upscale homes.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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3. Re: Squaw Peak or Camelback?

Scott my choice is Camelback,I live close to it and like the trail composition better. It has two main trails, Echo Canyon and Cholla. I climb one of them to the summit every week and go to the saddle of Cholla trail every Friday with my wife.

In addition, you can rock climb and rappell on Camelback as well as do the summit trails.

Echo canyon is the shorter and steeper of the two,located at the Western end of the mountain, with an elevation change of 1300 feet and a distance of 1.1 miles, topping out at 2704 feet above sea level. Needless to say you won't need to bring your Diamox pills. Lots of boulder hopping, and on two steep sections there are hand rails you can use. Quite a bit of shade on this trail especially early in the morning.

Parking can be a problem at the trailhead, you may have to wait in line at peak times and on weekends, however there are porta potties there, a drinking fountain, bike rack, and a small ramada.

The Cholla trail head is at the East end of the mountain off Cholla Lane, which is off Invergordon Road or 64th Street.

I would guess the elevation gain is around 1100 feet because you have to hike up through a residental area to the trailhead after parking on Invergordon road in the designated area. Again you may have to cruise up and down to get a spot at peak hours and on weekends. It's about 1.4 miles long and pretty easy up to the saddle which is about 2/3 of the way up. After that the trail to the summit involves alot of scrambling over rocks where you need to use your hands.

There are none of the amenities of the Echo Canyon trail on the Cholla trail...just you, a bike rack and the trail. There is virtually no shade on any of this trail, and the exposure is greater than that of Echo, although in short bursts.

Hiking boots or a good pair of sneakers with good traction are mandatory, as well as water...probably a quart would get you through this time of year. On either trail I would use a small camelback or fanny pack so you can keep your hands free..you'll need them. Treking poles would help you a little on both trails,but overall you'd probably wish you didn't bring them.

Rattlers do live on the mountain on both trails, however just keep your eyes open and stay on the path. I've come across one every year so they're pretty rare. You're more likely to see roadrunners, chuckwalla lizards, hawks, and out of shape hikers than anything.

Both trails are great hikes and the view from the top is worth it if the air is relatively clear. Somewhere between 30 to 45 minutes should get you to the top on either trail.

If you're looking for someone to hike with and are here before the 5th of October or after the 1st of November let me know. In any case enjoy the hike.

Los Angeles...
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4. Re: Squaw Peak or Camelback?

I would say that Pinnacle Peak is easy-to-moderate, Squaw/Piestawa Peak is moderate, and Camelback is moderate-to-difficult, so maybe that will help you choose. I personally live near Pinnacle Peak, so I hike it often and love the beauty and views, but I also liked Squaw Peak the couple of times I did it. Haven't hiked Camelback yet, so can't comment on that. Hope that helps a bit!

Chicago
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5. Re: Squaw Peak or Camelback?

Vaperotto,

Thanks for all the detailed information! Both sound pretty cool. I am gonna be down Oct 24th to 29th - so I guess I will be in town when you are out of town?

I am looking forward to some mountain climbing - we dont have any mountains here in Chicago! Just a lot of concrete and tall buildings...

Arizona
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6. Re: Squaw Peak or Camelback?

Both hikes are great.

I prefer Camelback because I think it's prettier and you have two trails from which to choose. The trail itself is usually less crowded than Squaw (Piestewa, whatever) Peak.

But if you want a moderate hike, Squaw Peak Park (it's still called that, btw) has a lot of variety. If you park in the main parking lot which is off Lincoln Drive, you will have access to quite a few trails: the summit trail to the Peak; a series of trails south of the parking lot that meander over some of the smaller hills there; nature trails that head east into the main park area, and the Peak cricumfrance trail. Some of these trails are relatively flat, or lead to a valley east of the Peak that is criss-crossed with trails.

There are so many trails in this park, you could spend days there. I would highly, highly reccomend it. Maps are available. Google "Phoenix Mountains Preserve"

Scottsdale, Arizona
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7. Re: Squaw Peak or Camelback?

Oh well such is life, I'm sure you'll have a good hike anyway. Yup, I'll be in China climbing Huashan mountain...Google 'Huashan' and check it out if you get a chance.

I know about the mountains of Chicago...used to live in Hyde Park and then in Homewood...still crying about the Bears loss last weekend and Aurelios pizza is just soooo far away.

Chicago
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8. Re: Squaw Peak or Camelback?

Well, just like the election coming up: it seems like it's 50/50 between Camelback Mtn and Squaw Peak.

Maybe I'll hike both (Camelback on Sat and Squaw Peak on Sun)?

Scottsdale, Arizona
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1,176 posts
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9. Re: Squaw Peak or Camelback?

So as to confuse you more, my pick is squaw, however you never know, if you go on camelback once in awhile i've seen crazy base jumpers that sky dive off it, which is illegal, so dont do that, but take pics if ya see it!

10. Re: Squaw Peak or Camelback?

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