One of my favorite outdoor activities in Phoenix regardless of the weather is to hike Camelback Mountain. Specifically, I enjoy the incline and challenge of the Echo Canyon trail on the west side of Camelback.
This is a video from the top of the mountain. It was taken on Super Bowl Sunday, February 5th, 2012. This was a going away hike for my buddy and fellow fitness enthusiast Josh Hackett, who left Arizona to launch mattress discounter Northwest Mattress Outlet in Portland, Oregon. You can find photos from this hike on Hiking Camelback.
A funny side note, is that although living in Phoenix my entire life I had not hiked Camelback until 2007 when another friend and workout buddy, Jason Lewandowski challenged me to hike it one summer Saturday morning.
The combination of punishing heat, rough terrain and extreme incline immediately hooked me. I began to hike Camelback on a weekly basis and track my times for improvement. I became slightly obsessed with improving my times both up and down. Although I am definitely not the fastest, I managed in early 2009 to get me up time to 30:23 and my down time to 15:28 both personal records.
My love of Camelback led me to launch HikingCamelback.com in April 2011 which is a site dedicated to providing information about Camelback Mountain, educating new hikers and to serve as a way for regulars to interact. Camelback also served as a strong component of my weekly workout routine, allowing me to maintain my cardio and cut weight. I have wrote about this as the Hiking Camelback Workout.
Although, I no longer live in Phoenix and cannot enjoy hiking Camelback on a weekly basis; I am sure to tackle the mountain whenever I visit the Valley. If you have never tried hiking Camelback Mountain, I strongly encourage you to test your skills on either Echo Canyon or Cholla Trail.