Piestewa Peak - Elevation 2,608 Feet

My Hike of Piestewa Peak In North Phoenix, AZ; Trail Photos, Directions And Summit Video

Piestewa Peak (Elevation 2,608 Feet)
Piestewa Peak, AZ
Above: The view of Piestewa Peak from E. Glendale Avenue near Highway 51.

February 2012 - Piestewa Peak is a very popular hike in north Phoenix. The 1.2 mile trail (one way) is well-marked to a summit that offers spectacular 360-degree views of metropolitan Phoenix. Special thanks to my friend Phil Ladden of Phoenix for taking me on this trail.

This peak was formerly known as Squaw Peak. In 2008, the name was changed because some regarded the word "squaw" as derogatory to Native Americans. It was then renamed in honor of Lori Piestewa, the first Native American woman to die in combat with the U.S. Military in 2003 while in Iraq.

Directions: The simplest directions are to locate Squaw Peak Drive and E. Lincoln Drive in Phoenix. Then travel in a neighborhood on Squaw Peak Drive into the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. Parking and the trailhead is on the left. (Note: If you're coming from the west, E. Glendale Avenue is the road to take. Travel east and upon crossing Highway 51, the road becomes Lincoln Drive.)

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Piestewa Peak Trail

Near the bottom of the trail, a large ocotillo and saguaros line the hike.

Piestewa Peak Trail, AZ I must be honest: This is not the trail for you if you enjoy solitude. It was difficult to snap a photo of the trail without hikers in view.

At one point, with the large number of people going at different speeds, I told Phil that it felt like I was traveling on the bustling Highway 101! :)

Saguaro Cactus

Plenty of saguaro cactus along the trail.

TOP: Three saguaro cacti on a steep hill above.

SECOND: A photo Phil took a year ago on a previous hike. Love the saguaros and notice the parking lot on the right.

Phil's description of this hike can be read here.

Piestewa Peak, AZ Near the top, Phil did his favorite pose. He calls it the "Surfing Hang Ten". :)
Piestewa Peak

On The Summit

There is one peculiar thing about Piestewa Peak. Many hikers reach the open rocky area below (see adjacent photo) and they act like they're at the top. But they're not!

You've got to do the modest rocky scramble to reach the true summit. Don't cheat yourself like many do. Go to the real summit. :)

Piestewa Peak

Phoenix Mountain Preserve

Phoenix Metro

Four photos at the summit.

FIRST: Looking out toward Scotsdale and some of the smaller peaks that are part of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.

SECOND: More mountains in the park.

THIRD: Phil poses with Camelback Mountain in the background.

FOURTH: The grand view of the downtown areas of Phoenix with South Mountain (left) and Sierra Estrella (right) behind.

My visit to Arizona was part of a one-week getaway. I spent time a lot of time outdoors, photographing desert scenery. Days after this hike, I also summited Picketpost Mountain and Silly Mountain. Most importantly, I had good times with new and old friends throughout Phoenix.

I still believe Picacho Peak is my all-time favorite Arizona climb, but this was a good one as well.

Piestewa Peak Hike Phil and myself at the top. Happy trails!


While on the summit, a helicopter flew around the peak. :)

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