Cholla Trail Renovation Update

​​​​The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department is pleased to provide this update on the current status of the Cholla Trail project. We intend to begin construction this winter on a new trail route for the popular Cholla Trail that services the east side of Camelback Mountain. The new, improved route will provide a much better trail experience for hikers and neighbors. The alignment is now moved away from Cholla Lane and will include a small restroom as well as drinking water. Special attention was given to providing a Sonoran Desert plant palette that will be used to buffer the surrounding neighbors from the trail. Below you will find additional information and background as well as a rendering of the improvements.

 

Background Information

  • Since 1997, the City of Phoenix has utilized an easement on Phoenician land which provides hikers with access to the popular Cholla Trail on the east side of Camelback Mountain. From 1997 until March 2020, hikers were permitted to park only on Invergordon Road, then walk up Cholla Lane to access the trail. This condition created several undesirable hiking conditions.

  • Due to the volume of hikers, which often reached over 10,000 per month, people frequently walked on the street rather than the trail alongside Cholla Lane. Hikers on the street created obvious safety concerns which led the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department (Parks) to begin planning a safer trail alignment.

 

Trail Realignment

  • Recent efforts by Parks have focused on finding a solution that allows hikers to access Cholla Trail without walking up Cholla Lane. In the past several years, the redevelopment of the Phoenician golf course property has provided the opportunity to consider an alternative trail alignment.

  • An alternative route has now been designed that reroutes the trail off of Invergordon, south of Cholla Lane, thereby avoiding Cholla Lane.

  • The new alignment will also provide a more natural hiking experience, away from City streets.

  • Special consideration will also be given to provide visual screening with plant material between the trail and adjacent residences.

  • Drinking water and restroom facilities will now be provided at the existing restroom building that had been part of the golf course.

 

Cholla Trail Relocation - Illustrative Plan

Cholla Trail Renovation Update



​Trail Improvements Already Completed

  • Since the closure of Cholla Trail in 2020, Park Rangers, Park Stewards and a trail contractor have completed hundreds of hours of trail work to improve the upper reaches of the trail.  They have removed unstable boulders, greatly improved the trail tread and incorporated additional trail posts and wayfinding efforts which has resulted in a much safer trail.

 

Letter of Intent with Host Properties

  • The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department and the property owner, Host Properties, have come to satisfactory terms to allow Parks to use a portion of the previous golf course land for the purposes laid out above.

  • On November 8, 2021, the Parks and Recreation Department received a letter of intent, signed by Host Properties.

  • On November 8, 2021, the Parks and Recreation Department also received approvals for the grading and drainage permits from the City's Planning and Development Department.

  • With receipt of the signed letter of intent and approval of the grading and drainage permits, the Parks and Recreation Department can now proceed with construction of the Cholla Trailhead relocation project. 

 

Construction Process and Updates

  • Construction staging is scheduled to begin the week of November 29th.

  • The project is expected to be completed by summer 2022.

  • Valley Rain Construction has been selected as the project contractor. Valley Rain is an award winning contractor who has extensive experience constructing trails and trailheads in challenging sites. They recently completed the renovations at Piestewa Peak in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve and have completed many other successful projects for the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department.


Questions or Comments

  • If you have questions or would like to receive future information about this or other preserve projects, email us at pks.nrd.projects@phoenix.gov