Camelback Mountain – the Scottsdale and Phoenix areas’ most prominent natural landmark – is full of surprises. Even if you’ve lived in Scottsdale for a while, there are five things you might not know about this local icon.

5 Things You Never Knew About Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain, right in the heart of Phoenix, is aptly named – it looks like a relaxing, two-humped camel. You’ve seen it before (and if you’re just moving to the area, you’ll see it often), but here are five things you probably didn’t know about this beautiful landmark.

#1. Camelback Mountain’s summit is a preserved park you can hike to all year.

Camelback Mountain has two trailheads, but only one takes you to the actual summit:

  • Echo Canyon is a 1.2-mile round-trip hike, and it’s considered moderate to challenging. There are handrails, but it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
  • Cholla Trail is about 1.5 miles long and it curves around the eastern side of the mountain. It’s not as challenging – and it’s less-trafficked – than the Echo Canyon Trail is.

In the 1960s, when Phoenix was developing rapidly, Senator Barry Goldwater took an interest in preserving Camelback Mountain. He helped raise the cash to buy the “hump” part of the mountain from private owners. Then, he donated the land to the city, where it was ultimately preserved and turned into the protected park area that’s there today.

#2. The mountain holds the distinction of being Phoenix’s highest peak.

The summit is 2,704 feet above sea level. You can gain about 1,300 feet in just 1.2 miles, which makes it an incredible challenge if you’re up for it. (Around 750,000 people attempt to climb Camelback Mountain each year.

#3. Camelback Mountain was a sacred place for indigenous peoples.

The mountain and some of its surrounding areas were sacred to the ancient Hohokam people. The Hohokam farmed the Salt River Valley, which you can overlook from the mountain, as far back as 300 BCE.

#4. The mountain and its surrounding area is teeming with wildlife.

The cliffs and valleys built into Camelback Mountain are home to several creatures – including rattlesnakes – and you can often see them out when you’re hiking. Some of the mountain’s other wildlife include javelina, fox, bobcat, rabbit, squirrel, raccoons and plenty of birds and insects.

#5. Camelback Mountain is made, in part, from granite out of the Pre-Cambrian era.

Geologists believe that the granite in the camel’s “head” is about 1.5 billion years old – but it’s a bit confusing, because the rest of the mountain is made from red sandstone that’s only about 30 million years old. The reason it has scientists stumped is that the granite often lays atop its younger counterpart – and nobody can figure out how it got there.

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Don Matheson
REALTOR® | Founder
The Matheson Team
RE/MAX Fine Properties
21000 N. Pima Rd., #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

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