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Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300, AZ
details
drive
no permit
forecast
route
stats
974
4,706
11
topics
nearby
Love or hate it, you have to admit, it's convenient! The large parking lots bring large crowds. Regardless, this is a great hike. If crowds get you down try the Circumference Trail. (claimed one of the best wildflower shows in Arizona).


Okay so your heart is set on the summit. This is an old horse trail. Some of the railings are still in place up near the mile mark. The trail was mainly used for means to travel to an old mine[1]. You can forget exploring that area as it is off limits. So stay on the trail and keep out of trouble! Plenty of restrooms are available in the parking areas. It's great to wash your face off after a hike in the summer heat.

The trail starts out with a few switchbacks. A wide trail handles the crowds fairly well. At times it gets extremely crowed. Then there are times you luck out and a beautiful day will go by with only a few visitors. Conversations of how Piestewa compares to Camelback is often heard in passing. Camelback while statistically more challenging is smoother. An extra 100 feet of elevation, two steep handrail sections and a few stretches through boulder fields gives it the "tougher" nod. The footing on Piestewa is typically more jagged yet generally no steeper than a staircase.

Several benches along the way provide comfort. Passing the 0.25 mile marker you are in the midst of switchbacks. Between the 0.45 and the 0.6 mile marks the trail flattens out. The Circumference Trail spurs off to the left and then down away at the half way point 0.6 miles. Continue on up the next series of switchbacks that start immediately after the 0.6 mile marker. The second section of flattened trail opens up after passing the 0.75 mile marker. Enjoy the stroll and relax as the nasty sections are yet to come. The trail goes in and out of the contours with minor elevation gain for a short distance. Welcome to never ending switchbacks. It's something like thirteen in a row. The first being the least forgiving as it is steep and the footing is rather loose. After that it's not too bad footing wise. The third takes you up to a popular bench. After the fourth switchback comes the largest step with exception near the summit. ( now gone, this trail receives a lot of volunteer maintenance ) On Camelback these are the kind of long legged steps you battle over and over again. More steep slopes are encountered passing the one mile mark. Though it's nothing to worry about as the steps are small and close together. Just like a staircase.

Okay it's on to the summit. Believe it or not, only a small percentage of the crowd makes it up to the official summit. Most are satisfied with the larger area just a few yards shy of the peak. It's fun to look around and see the city from a birds eye view. Personally I prefer the shear drop off from Camelbacks summit which adds a real sense of elevation! Piestewa Peak is a nice alternative when you can't get into the Camelback parking lot!

Note
This is a preserve. Taking home rocks or even moving them is prohibited. Leave the wildflowers in place. Only park in designated areas. Do not cut switchbacks. Over the years I have seen rangers hand out tickets for all of the above. An illegal parking ticket really puts a damper on the ride home. I myself have been tempted to follow an old obviously blocked trail that cuts up the dreaded switchbacks. Forget it, it's stupid and just isn't worth it period.

Rangers
Over the years I have met many rangers on the trail. They are friendly, helpful and do a great job.

[1] 2014 - 17 years later I'm not sure on my source. Met a man named John that farmed in the area back in the 60's. He said the city paid them 5k to construct the trail to the top in 1965. I asked if it was originally a mining trail that ended near the horse rails and he said no. I asked if it was built for recreation and he said yes. Also stated that burros were used rather than horses to build the trail. People did take horses up often back in the day.
Description 4,706 Triplogs Laps 11 Topics
RatedFavorite  
Wish List 27
 Region
 
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0
 Phoenix Central
Statistics
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Popular Workout
Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,400 feet
Elevation Gain 1,180 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.3
Interest Peak
Fastest Split Dave1
2011-05-0332m 3s
Author joebartels
Descriptions 209
Routes 741
Photos 9,410
Trips 3,462 map ( 17,973 miles )
Age 47
Location Phoenix, AZ
Photos
Viewed All Mine Following
3  2017-02-07 survivordude
1  2017-01-24 Thoreau
3  2017-01-22 Thoreau
5  2017-01-21 Thoreau
2  2017-01-15 survivordude
2  2017-01-10 Thoreau
1  2017-01-05 Thoreau
7  2016-12-03 xthine
9  2016-11-24 Jim_H
8  2016-11-18 astrobrewer
18  2016-11-12
Phoenix Summit Challenge PHX4
cw50must
5  2016-11-08 cw50must
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 12
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Map - Beartooth Phoenix
Backpack   No
Preferred   Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov → Any
Seasons   Autumn
Sun  5:23am - 7:27pm
Dogs not allowed
Route Scout
import queue
Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Piestewa Circumference - Freedom Trail #302
0.0 mi away
3.6 mi
1,205 ft
Piestewa Peak Alternate Summit Trail
0.2 mi away
0.4 mi
210 ft
Mohave Connector Trail #202
0.2 mi away
1.1 mi
165 ft
Mohave Trail #200
0.3 mi away
0.6 mi
270 ft
Mohave - Ruth Hamilton Loop
0.3 mi away
3.0 mi
760 ft
Nature Trail #304 - Phx Preserves
0.4 mi away
1.4 mi
265 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna
Anna's Hummingbird
Baird's Old World Swallowtail
Chuckwalla
Curve-billed Thrasher
Desert Pocket Mouse
Greater Roadrunner
Harris Antelope Squirrel
Red-tailed Hawk
Ringtail
Rock Squirrel
Rock Wren
Say's Phoebe
Speckled Rattlesnake
Sun Spider
Unidentified Fauna
Wildlife Handling and Feeding
Flora
Barrel Cactus
Barrel Cactus - Red
Brittlebush
Buckhorn Cholla
Creosote Bush
Desert Globemallow
Desert Tobacco
Jumping cholla
Ocotillo
Phacelia
Pincushion Cactus
Saguaro
Geology
Quartz
Meteorology
Haboob
Haze
Lightning
Moon
Rain
Sunrise
Sunset
Named place
Camelback Mountain
Phoenix - Metro Area
Phoenix Mountains Park
Piestewa Peak
Tom's Thumb
University of Phoenix Stadium
Culture
Aerostat
Aircraft
Benchmark
Cairn
Fireworks
Holiday Spirit
Humor
Old Glory
Search and Rescue
Trash Hauled Out
Iron Schist
by joebartels

Love or hate it, you have to admit, it's convenient! The large parking lots bring large crowds. Regardless, this is a great hike. If crowds get you down try the Circumference Trail. (claimed one of the best wildflower shows in Arizona).


Okay so your heart is set on the summit. This is an old horse trail. Some of the railings are still in place up near the mile mark. The trail was mainly used for means to travel to an old mine[1]. You can forget exploring that area as it is off limits. So stay on the trail and keep out of trouble! Plenty of restrooms are available in the parking areas. It's great to wash your face off after a hike in the summer heat.

The trail starts out with a few switchbacks. A wide trail handles the crowds fairly well. At times it gets extremely crowed. Then there are times you luck out and a beautiful day will go by with only a few visitors. Conversations of how Piestewa compares to Camelback is often heard in passing. Camelback while statistically more challenging is smoother. An extra 100 feet of elevation, two steep handrail sections and a few stretches through boulder fields gives it the "tougher" nod. The footing on Piestewa is typically more jagged yet generally no steeper than a staircase.

Several benches along the way provide comfort. Passing the 0.25 mile marker you are in the midst of switchbacks. Between the 0.45 and the 0.6 mile marks the trail flattens out. The Circumference Trail spurs off to the left and then down away at the half way point 0.6 miles. Continue on up the next series of switchbacks that start immediately after the 0.6 mile marker. The second section of flattened trail opens up after passing the 0.75 mile marker. Enjoy the stroll and relax as the nasty sections are yet to come. The trail goes in and out of the contours with minor elevation gain for a short distance. Welcome to never ending switchbacks. It's something like thirteen in a row. The first being the least forgiving as it is steep and the footing is rather loose. After that it's not too bad footing wise. The third takes you up to a popular bench. After the fourth switchback comes the largest step with exception near the summit. ( now gone, this trail receives a lot of volunteer maintenance ) On Camelback these are the kind of long legged steps you battle over and over again. More steep slopes are encountered passing the one mile mark. Though it's nothing to worry about as the steps are small and close together. Just like a staircase.

Okay it's on to the summit. Believe it or not, only a small percentage of the crowd makes it up to the official summit. Most are satisfied with the larger area just a few yards shy of the peak. It's fun to look around and see the city from a birds eye view. Personally I prefer the shear drop off from Camelbacks summit which adds a real sense of elevation! Piestewa Peak is a nice alternative when you can't get into the Camelback parking lot!

Note
This is a preserve. Taking home rocks or even moving them is prohibited. Leave the wildflowers in place. Only park in designated areas. Do not cut switchbacks. Over the years I have seen rangers hand out tickets for all of the above. An illegal parking ticket really puts a damper on the ride home. I myself have been tempted to follow an old obviously blocked trail that cuts up the dreaded switchbacks. Forget it, it's stupid and just isn't worth it period.

Rangers
Over the years I have met many rangers on the trail. They are friendly, helpful and do a great job.

[1] 2014 - 17 years later I'm not sure on my source. Met a man named John that farmed in the area back in the 60's. He said the city paid them 5k to construct the trail to the top in 1965. I asked if it was originally a mining trail that ended near the horse rails and he said no. I asked if it was built for recreation and he said yes. Also stated that burros were used rather than horses to build the trail. People did take horses up often back in the day.
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Permit $$
None


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Between 16th and 24th Streets on Lincoln Drive go North on Piestewa Peak Park. Follow Piestewa Peak Park through the neighborhood into the park.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
stay out of the scorching sun
prehydrate & stay hydrated
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