Echo Canyon Trail Closure

Trail Closed

Summit Trail Closed Till The Fall

Many Echo Canyon (Summit Trail) regulars are familiar with the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department plans to improve the parking situation at the Echo Canyon trailhead.  If you were not aware of this initiative, take a moment to read our post about the Camelback Parking Improvements.

What some hikers may not know is that the city of Phoenix will also be making major improvements and upgrades to the trail during the revamp.  This includes improved bathroom facilities, cold water supply and trail preservation tactics.  During this construction project they will be closing the Echo Canyon trail down.  This will take place over a nine month period.  While Summit Trail is closed, Cholla Trail will still be open, however if it becomes too congested its use may be regulated.

We took some time today to speak with David Urbinato, a Public Information/Communications Officer at The City of Phoenix.  Here is a summary of what he had to say.

The current plan is to close the Echo Canyon trailhead down sometime towards the end of January 2013.  The goal is to issue a press release 30 days prior to this and also just before the closure.  The idea is to have the trail closed mostly during the summer in order to minimize the impact to the peak hiking seasons.  This closure will however impact the end of the spring portion of peak hiking including the very popular time during baseball spring training.

One of the largest strains on the Parks and Rec Department is the deployment of two park rangers at the Echo Canyon trailhead to police parking and congestion.  The new parking improvements aim to alleviate this issue to some extent by providing increased parking capacity at the trailhead as well as better two-directional traffic flow.  There will be a gatehouse at the trail entrance; however David said that the department is unclear how often this will be staffed when completed.

David urged hikers to take advantage of the more than 180 hiking trails the valley has to offer other than Echo Canyon trail.  He strongly encourages use of North Mountain where parking is ample.  He also mentioned South Mountain as a viable alternative.   David said that both these mountains provide comparable views to Camelback Mountain, which is one of the major draws of the trail.  David also said that these trails provide a more moderate hiking challenge better suited to many climbers that take on Echo Canyon, unaware of the difficulty.

While in the short run this closure will no doubt upset some Echo Canyon regulars, in the long run it is a much needed overhaul that will leave the trail a better and safer place for all hikers.

For more information be sure to check out the official Camelback Trailhead and Trail Improvements page.

Thanks to David for spending the time with us today to explain the situation in detail.

One Response to “Echo Canyon Trail Closure”

  1. […] Today I decided to do some “investigative reporting” and called The City of Phoenix directly.  I was transferred to a very helpful public relations guy named David Urbinato who spent about 15 minutes on the phone with me outlining the nine month trail closure.  You can find out about this on my post about the Echo Canyon Trail Closure. […]

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