Echo Canyon Trail at Camelback Mountain to be Slightly Longer, Less Steep; Trail Closed January 28 Until Fall

Categories: Outdoors

monk mist crop.jpg
Image: Ray Stern
Camelback's Praying Monk formation emerges briefly from low clouds on Saturday.

Besides the trail's beginning portion, engineers have identified two 100-foot sections of trail further up toward the summit that will be repaired. If those improvements are seen to be beneficial, the changes could be expanded to other parts of the trail.

No new handrails or fences will be part of the project.

Some new signs will be installed. A sign at the aforementioned saddle will warn people of the difficulty of the trail ahead.

"They'll understand what they're getting into," says Vonderscher. The sign may contain "additional interpretation" to help hikers who want to turn around at that point feel like they've achieved something, he says.

The officials tell us that rock climbers and even BASE jumpers who find their way onto various cliffs in the park might not be hassled during the closure. (Climbing has a long history at Camelback, going back at least to the 1940s.)

But after the conference call, we visited the park to hike the trail a couple of times before the closure and got a different story from a ranger. We were told that anyone caught on the west side of Camelback Mountain during the construction period could be arrested, and that the construction crews have been told to call the police if they see anyone out there.

Someone will push their luck, no doubt. We won't -- we'll be patient and wait for our favorite trail to re-open this fall. Or maybe it'll be late summer, if we're lucky -- we like it sweaty.

It won't be the same trail -- not exactly.

But we'll love it just the same.

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