Hiking Piestewa Peak in Phoenix
Lori Ann Piestewa, was the first Native American woman killed in 2003, while serving for the US Army. Piestewa Peak in Phoenix was renamed after her. Prior to that it was known as Squaw Peak, many locals in the area still refer to this mountain as Squaw Peak.
Several other names were suggested, one of which was Swilling Peak, an early pioneer of the area. That name along with the others were rejected and Piestewa Peak was accepted.
Starting the Trail
The start of the hike begins up a stone laden trail. In the last year or so, the trail has changed a bit at the beginning due to all the new improvements to the Phoenix Preserve area.
Recently the parking areas, drive ways, and bathrooms are all getting makeovers. After hiking this mountain for many years, its interesting to see the changes.
Getting To Piestewa Peak
It is located in north Phoenix area, just off of the SR51 highway and the Glendale/ Lincoln exit in the Phoenix Mountain Preserves. I have been hiking here for years myself and have left a lot of sweat and weight on that mountain.
Piestewa Peak in Phoenix is a regularly hiked mountain in the north Phoenix area right next to Camelback Mountain. It is like working your way up a stair stepper, a great workout for anyone who hikes it.
On the hike, you will rise quickly up the side of the mountain and start to get some views of the cities surrounding. Phoenix is surrounded by many other cities, and they can all be seen when you hike up Piestewa.
Many small mounds and peaks surround Piestewa Peak, and you can take an off trail to reach them. I recommend staying off of those trails because they aren’t well developed, also they were made by off trail hikers.
Just stay on the main trail, you can’t miss it, and you will make it to the top in no time.
If you get pooped, there is some cool rock benches that you can rest on, I think they are made from the surrounding rock from the trail.
Reaching the Half Way Point
When you reach the point in the photo above, you have just about made it to the half way point. This section could even be a little more than half way up though.
This is the best rest bench. There really isn’t much need for so many rests on this trail because it’s pretty short, but this one is shaded by a tree, and has great views.
The rest stops aren’t a bad idea to take a stop and drink some water on summer days. At this rest stop you can look south and see the South Mountains just south of Phoenix.
After you reach the guard rail and the stairs in the photo below, you only have roughly 5-10 more minutes until you reach the summit.
Once you reach the view in the photo above, you’re so close to the top. Don’t stop now, keep going and finish the uphill part of the workout.
Summiting Piestewa Peak in Phoenix
Taking a hike up Piestewa Peak in Phoenix, is worth the workout. Make sure you bring plenty of water. We live in the desert after all and, if you’re not used to it you can become dehydrated quickly.
Leave the animals alone, as we do have several poisonous species such as rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, and scorpions. At the peak there are ring tail cats, and chipmunk like creatures waiting for scraps from hikers. Don’t feed them on purpose because they will learn to rely on humans and may become aggressive for food.
Many people have died hiking the mountains in the Phoenix area because they were unprepared, and not used to the environment. Trying the hike in the summer months is best done at night under a full moon. Day hiking should be done in the winter months in Arizona.
Check out these other hikes that I have done around Arizona
- Backpacking Havasupai Falls
- Backpacking Horton Creek
- Hiking the Barefoot Trail in Pine Arizona
- Hiking to Fischer Point in Sandy’s Canyon
- Arizona Highline National Recreational Trail
This is a small list of some of the gear I would take on this hike.
- Camera: GoPro
- Camera Handle: GoPro Shorty
- Hydration Pack: Camelbak Mule
- Protective iPhone Case: Insipio Case
- Sunscreen: Sky Organics
- Boots: Vasque Boots