One of the reasons we were inspired to move to Arizona was our love for the surrounding desert landscape, and that same passion still resonates across our Arizona communities. An iconic landmark in the greater Phoenix area, Camelback Mountain is a prime example of the way nature informs our own designs through its neighboring Optima communities, Optima Sonoran Village and Optima Camelview Village. But Camelback Mountain has its own distinct allure, fostering a wide-reaching and beloved sense of community for many in the area.
Camelback is located in the Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area between the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix and the town of Paradise Valley, and is named after its distinct shape, which resembles the hump and head of a kneeling camel. The site has long held significance to Native tribes and settlers in the area, and by the early 1900s, there were strong efforts to keep the mountain protected and preserved. The surrounding area saw major development, but in 1965, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater helped secure the higher elevations against development. The area became a Phoenix city park in 1968.
Phoenix offers seven breathtaking mountain summits to climb, and Camelback Mountain has the highest, reaching 2,704 feet to provide the best views in the area. Climbing to the summit is considered a right of passage for many. Hikers can choose from two trails to reach the summit: Echo Canyon and Cholla. Both trails are difficult, with Echo Canyon being the steeper of the two and Cholla being the longer option. Luckily, there are a few less strenuous trail hikes as back-up options, as well. Camelback is the perfect place to experience the vast diversity of desert beauty; from colorful granite, to blooming wildflowers, to local wildlife. And since the trailhead is only 20 minutes away from downtown, there are plenty of places to recharge after a long hike.
There’s a reason why Camelback Mountain is considered one of Phoenix’s Points of Pride; the beauty both on — and off — the mountain top are truly spectacular.