Phoenix, Arizona is flanked by mountainous ridgelines in all directions.
Phoenix, Arizona is flanked by mountainous ridgelines in all directions.

At only 2.2 miles, Camelback Mountain begs to be climbed. But, with the thermometer soaring in the triple degrees, it’s for my own good that I’m holed up in a hotel working in temperature-controlled ballrooms all week.

View from hotel

I’m on assignment with a producer in the foothills of Phoenix, Arizona. A tempting view of the Sonoran Desert Preserve to the west is seen from my bedroom suite window.

I could push my luck humping up Camelback Mountain in the evening, after the sun sets, but scaling rocky terrain and dodging rattlesnakes in the dark sounds….err, stupid. Besides, it rarely drops to less than 90 degrees at night. Locals are acclimated to the blistering heat but the rest of us need not forget plenty of water, lotion and sunglasses.

Camelback is a distinctive city feature that defines the natural skyline and the two trailheads stay steady with foot traffic. Over 200 miles to the north is the incredible Grand Canyon yet Phoenix is no leg-burning slouch. The area enjoys 180 miles of trails and it’s ranked as one of the best hiking cities in America by National Geographic. Much of the scrambling is urban on a small range running right through the valley.

Hopefully, I’ll get the time (and light) to see at least one cacti or yucca plant alongside a prairie dog or jackrabbit.

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