Video: Chasing waterfalls on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix


Camelback Mountain is one of the most recognizable mountains in Arizona. How it gets its name is obvious when you see if from central and southern Phoenix, Tempe or Chandler. It clearly looks like a camel lying prone in the desert.

Panoramic view of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, AZ
Situated just a few miles north of Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, Camelback Mountain is one of the most noticeable landmarks upon arrival in Arizona.

It’s a popular place to hike. Thousands of visitors and residents make the climb to the top of Camelback Mountain on Cholla Trail or Summit Trail each year. What’s rarely seen, though, are the post-storm waterfalls that run off the steep rock faces on the west end of the mountain that form the head of the camel.

A rare phenomenon: Waterfalls in the desert

I filmed this short video from Bobby’s Rock Trail in the Echo Canyon Recreation Area:

 

 

Full-length video with tips on how and where to see the waterfalls on Camelback Mountain:

Timing is important. In order to see the waterfalls, you’ll need to be there either during or immediately after heavy rainfall – a rare event in Phoenix. I was fortunate to catch the falls on a Saturday morning in mid-October 2018 after a well-timed rainstorm. I was literally the only person in the area where the falls are visible.

Want to see the waterfalls on Camelback Mountain?

Start out from the Echo Canyon Trailhead near Tatum Blvd and McDonald Drive and follow the signs for Bobby’s Rock Loop. Follow the main trail south down into a small canyon and back up. Proceed another half mile or so until you reach a point where you can see several rocky cliffs to your left. If no waterfalls are evident, it’s probably because there’s  not enough rain. You might have to wait for the rain to pick up or try another time.

This map will get you there:

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