Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, is known for its remarkable views and grueling hikes. The majority of the trail is rated Extremely Difficult, and you can believe it - the Summit Trail from the Echo Canyon Trailhead is no easy feat!
However, even the least daring of tourists have a chance to say they hiked on Camelback Mountain - all you have to do is hike the Bobby's Rock Loop Trail. This trail is the only Easy rated trail on Camelback, and is short and sweet. The entrance to this 0.18 mile trail is off the Summit Trail, which is rated moderate from the trailhead to the Bobby's Rock spur.
It's important to understand that the Easy rating is by Arizona standards, and you may find this trail more Moderate due to the steps you will encounter at the beginning of the trail, the unmarked intersections along the trail where other hikers have bushwacked (created an unofficial trail), and most importantly - the heat of the day. When we hiked Bobby's Rock Loop, it was late morning after a heavy rain in December, and the temperatures were in the high 40's and low 50's, with a nearly cloudless sky. However, most of this particular trail was shaded by the mountain itself, keeping us from having to deal with direct sun on the trail.
Bobby's Rock Loop Trail, Camelback Mountain, Phoenix, AZ
The majority of this trail is very easy to follow - it is well traveled, and for the most part, well marked. There are no blazes, but much of the trail is lined by rocks to help denote where to walk. A word of caution, however - there are intersections along the main trail that lead to unofficial sections of trail, and which may lengthen your hike if you stray onto them. The official trail curves to the left and follows the base of the mountain, then continues turning left to meet back up with the Summit Trail; the unofficial (i.e.: bushwacked) trails split off to the right and lead further into the canyon. Although the unofficial trails are also well traveled, they should not be followed, as this leads to additional environmental harm and may traverse into privately owned land.
If you happen to come to this rocky outcropping on the trail, you have taken an incorrect split - turn around and go back to where you picked up this unofficial trail, and take the split to the left instead!
There are several large boulders along this trail, but no one is really quite sure which one is Bobby's Rock. The trail leads to two very large rocks which could be Bobby's, but there are no indications on the rocks or on the trail to mark which one is the correct one.
After passing the boulders, the trail will have one section where you will need to scramble to get up into a large cave area. Keep following along the base of the mountain, to the left, to pick the trail back up and continue through some more amazing scenery. There are no more steps to take you back out of the valley, but the terrain here isn't bad and the trail doesn't become too steep on your way back up to the Summit Trail. Just after the trails meet back up, you will come to a small pavilion where you can take a few minutes rest, grab a quick snack, read through an informational plaque, and enjoy some fantastic views.
The Bobby's Rock Trail is a wonderful trail on Camelback for beginners - providing Easy hiking with a little bit of challenge (steps) and amazing views.
We suggest you also take some time to follow the Summit Trail up to the Overlook. There, you will find information on the sites in the distance, rock benches to rest and take in the view, and warnings about continuing on the trail!
We hope you enjoy hiking on Camelback. We certainly did!
See more pictures and get more details on our Camelback/Bobby's Rock Loop hike on our Facebook page.