Outdoors

Camelback Mountain's Echo Canyon Trail to Re-Open on January 15

Echo Canyon Trail at Camelback Mountain is scheduled to re-open to the public on January 15 with a new trailhead, restroom facilities, and expanded parking lot.

This looks like a firm date (following an "oops" moment in September). Expected temperatures in the low 70s should help make it a great day for a hike.

But leave the pooch at home, at least for the next six months.

See also: -Echo Canyon Trail at Camelback Mountain to be Slightly Longer, Less Steep

The city plans to enforce a "no dogs" policy for the first half of the year because of the anticipated large crowds.

Gates will open 30 minutes before sunrise on Wednesday, with the trail officially open at sunrise, the city says. The park's located off McDonald Drive, just east of Tatum Boulevard.

The $4.3 million renovation project that's closed Echo Canyon Recreation Area since January 28, 2013, finally gives the famous hiking spot the respect it deserves: real restrooms, a bigger parking area, more bike racks, and paths to keep pedestrians off the road as they're walking up to the trailhead.

Nearby homeowners get their own access road instead of having to share Echo Canyon Parkway with park users. Paradise Valley is kicking in $450,000 for the roundabout at the park entrance.

The beginning of the old 1.2-mile trail summit trail has been lengthened to avoid erosion, making the trail's new length about 1.45 miles. With its 1,300-foot elevation gain, it'll still be a lung-burner and useful as a basic unit of mountain measurement — as in, "that mountain [or canyon trail] requires about two-and-a-half camelbacks worth of effort."

HIkers of the summit-reaching Cholla Trail on Camelback's east side were able to continue on down about three-quarters of Echo Canyon Trail to a chain link fence, not that many did so. The Echo Canyon area also provides access to several popular, local climbing routes like the east face of the Praying Monk formation.

Click here for city's pdf of the new alignment.

Text of city's news release follows:

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern