Cholla Trail Renovation Update

Updated 9/12/2022

The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department is pleased to provide this update on the current status of the Cholla Trail project.

Popular Phoenix hiking trail Cholla Trail at Camelback Mountain will reopen to the public on Sept. 30, 2022. The trail has been closed due to construction and a trailhead realignment, that moves the trailhead from Cholla Lane to Invergordon Road. The new trailhead will now offer hikers amenities such as a drinking fountain, restrooms and bike racks.  

Completing the Cholla Trail Realignment Project was a joint effort between the Parks and Recreation Department, Street Transportation Department, Phoenix Fire Department and the Town of Paradise Valley. All parties played a crucial role in making this project safe and accessible for first responders, hikers and surrounding residents. 

  • ​Construction Process and Updates

    • Construction began the week of November 29th. 
    • The restroom renovation is nearing completion and much of the trail work is also underway. 
    • The irrigation system is being installed and tree and shrub planting is underway.
    • The project is expected to be completed by late summer / September 2022.
    • City of Phoenix staff have been working with staff from the Town of Paradise Valley to explore the potential of adding additional parking on Invergordon south of Chaparral Road as well as potentially adding ride share drop off immediately south of the pedestrian entry gate located on Invergordon.
    • 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.

​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. Parking access will continue to be limited to on street parking on the west side of Invergordon. Access to the trail will now be directly from the sidewalks on the west side of Invergordon to a pedestrian entry gate. 

  • 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.

  • Chilled 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. 


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