Urban hiking at Camelback is an adventure unlike any other, because there’s something so surreal about a real nature hike at the edge of a major city. The beautiful red sandstone cliffs and the deep blue desert sky make Camelback Mountain a natural draw for thousands of people each year, and in the midst of all this breathtaking scenery, climbers can look down and see the bustling city of Phoenix, right there in plain view.

Here, learn about the several different trails that await Camelback visitors.

Praying Monk on Camelback MountainEcho Canyon Trail. Echo Canyon Trail is the best-known summit trail on Camelback and one of the most popular hiking paths in the valley. But remember this: after the grueling 45-minute climb to the summit (2700 feet above sea level), you’ll have to do it all over again for your descent.

Cholla Trailhead. The Echo Canyon Trail isn’t the only path to the summit, of course. Phoenix hiking enthusiasts who have already summited Camelback Mountain via its most famous path usually end up tackling Cholla Trailhead next. It comes in from the east side of the mountain and presents a difficult and sometimes steep climb. But it’s not as tough as Echo.

Bobby’s Rock Trail. Bobby’s Rock is a popular jumping-off point for BASE jumpers and a favorite spot for rock climbers. Getting to this high point is a relatively simple trip of only about 20 minutes for the average hiker. Bobby’s Rock Trail begins at the same point as the Echo Canyon Trail but covers less than half the distance.

Hiking Camelback Mountain is great exercise, but it’s important to keep some safety precautions in mind. Particularly in the summer, things get very hot around here, and hikers need to be sure to keep hydrated. It’s not a cakewalk, either. Most first-timers report a tougher climb than they were expecting, so anyone tackling Echo Canyon and most of the other trails should pace themselves and allow plenty of time to finish the trip.

If you’re in good shape and you complete your hike, you’ll be rewarded. See that sprawling urban patchwork way out there? You’re looking at four million people. And it’s so very quiet…