Echo Canyon Trail will be refurbished, including new parking
A hiking trail that may be the Valley's most popular closes effective Monday (1/28) for months of construction work.
The Echo Mountain trail at Camelback Mountain will be closed for an estimated 8 to 9 months while crews rebuild the first part of the trail and double the amount of parking.
According to David Urbinato of the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, the trail now is in essentially the same configuration as it was when the city acquired Camelback Mountain in the 1960s. That includes the first quarter mile of the trail, which is a steep climb made up mostly of steps made out of railroad ties.
Urbinato says the wooden ties are deteriorating, making them dangerous to step on.
During the reconstruction project, he says the initial part of the trail will be rebuilt to follow the natural contour of the land. He says that will make it into an actual trail rather than a series of steps. In addition, he says it will be less steep and less subject to erosion after a hard rain.
The project will also essentially double the number of parking spaces, from the current 68 up to 132. Parking has been a particular problem for hikers, with hikers often waiting a half hour or more for parking spaces to open up. Parking is prohibited in nearby residential areas.
Also, there will be new permanent restrooms to replace the series of portable toilets currently in place at the trailhead.
Urbinato says the project should be finished around the start of the fall hiking season in September or October.
More information is available at www.phoenix.gov/parks .
PHOTO: Hikers took advantage of a break in the rain on Friday on the soon-to-disappear stairstep portion of the Echo Canyon trail.