Gators Were Meant to Hike and Climb


Sophomore Taryn Maher celebrates reaching the top of Camelback Mountain via the Cholla Trail, a popular hike on weekends in Arizona. Photo by Elyse Gifford ‘21.

Emmie Halter, Club Writer

While the weather is still cool and the New Year has just started, hiking is the perfect activity to jumpstart your New Year’s goals and enjoy the outdoors. Phoenix is known for its numerous hiking trails such as Camelback Mountain, Papago Park, Squaw Peak, South Mountain, and many others. Not only do tourists travel from afar for Phoenix’s hiking, but locals also enjoy the trails. Hiking may seem like a daunting activity at first, but rest assured, many of these trails are easy walks for beginners.

Before going on a hike, you first must take certain precautions to stay safe. Hydration is key when it comes to the hot Arizona weather. Even though it is winter, bringing a water bottle is still a must due to the dry climate. Also, for safety reasons, hiking alone is not a good idea. If you happen to get hurt or lost, having a friend or family member to call for help will be important. Other than having water and a friend with you, hiking is an activity anyone can enjoy.

Many people believe the best time to hike is either early in the morning between 6 to 10 am to avoid heavy sun and heat. Since it is winter you can still hike in the afternoons while not working up too much of a sweat, but mornings are the safest and most enjoyable times to hit the trails. Many hikers also enjoy hiking to watch the sunrise, which is around 7:30 am, in Feb.

Sophomore Claire Besh says that she “loves hiking Camelback on the weekend because the trail is so close to her house and has a great view at sunrise”.

If you are looking for an easy hike on Camelback, the Cholla Trail will be the best option. Echo Canyon is the alternative to getting up Camelback, but is steeper and more difficult. Piestewa Peak is another mountain that has relatively easy trail options such as the Freedom Loop.

If you live closer to Central Phoenix, the Dreamy Draw trail at Piestewa Peak boasts mainly flat surfaces that allow hikers to jog the trail if they please.

Sophomore Rishita Shah says her “favorite cross country practices are at Dreamy Draw because it is a unique way to train and run long distance.”

In addition, South Mountain, Phoenix’s largest mountain range, is just south of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The easiest trail at South Mountain, the Pyramid trail, leads to Dobbins Lookout and the Lost Ranch, which are both historical sites that can be stops along your hike. The northernmost Holbert trail is another trouble-free hike that leads you to “Mystery Castle”, which has daily tours available.

Xavier girls love to try new things, so challenge yourself to a hike this new year!

Elyse Gifford ‘21 works her way to the top of Camelback Mountain. Camelback boasts two trails, Cholla and Echo Canyon, both of which are popular weekend hikes. Photo by Taryn Maher ‘21.