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Hiking Piestewa Peak in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve

Hiking to Piestewa Peak in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve

Piestewa Peak

The second tallest in the Phoenix Mountains, Piestewa Peak has a lot to offer considering its location and length. It has great views into the rest of the Phoenix Mountain Range and into the city of Phoenix. It has easier flat sections, challenging steep sections, and a short scramble to the true summit. Previously known as Squaw Peak, this mountain was renamed in 2003 to honor Lori Ann Piestewa, the first known Native American woman to die in combat in the U.S. military.

Getting to the Trailhead

Trail Details
Summit Elevation: 2,608′
Distance: 2.2 miles
Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation gain: 1,112 ft
Dogs: No
When to go: Fall, Winter, Spring
Trail hours: 5am to 11pm
From Phoenix, get on highway 51 going North. Take exit 5 toward Lincoln Drive. Turn right onto East Glendale Ave, then after half a mile turn Left onto East Squaw Peak Drive – you’ll see a sign for Piestewa Peak at the light you’re supposed to turn at. Go another half mile on East Squaw Peak Drive and pull into the parking lot for the trailhead on your left. The gate for the park is open 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If there are no spaces, there is more parking across the street. There is also parking along part of East Squaw Peak Drive, and around the corner on North 24th Place. The trailhead has porta-potties, but no running water.

Hiking Piestewa Peak

From the trailhead begin making your way up Trail 300 – Summit Trail. The path starts out wide with periodic man-made steps and cement curbs on either side, and at a gradual climb. Depending on the time of day and year, there is little to no shade along the route.

Piestewa Peak Trailhead

The trail has long steadily climbing switchbacks, then around mile 0.5 there is a flat stretch that leads to the small saddle. This saddle is the only trail intersection you need to watch out for. Stay right, following the sign post that says “300 Summit”.

Saddle en route to Piestewa Peak

You’re halfway to the top! At mile 0.65 you reach another saddle, but this time the Summit Trail crosses over to the left side of the ridge, and climbs along the Northwest face of the ridge. Short steep switchbacks begin around mile 0.8 and climb until mile 0.9 where a longer switchback brings you around again to the right side of the ridge.

Nearing Piestewa Peak

This longer straight stretch leads you to another set of tight switchbacks with a few railings, then puts you up and over to the other side of the ridge one last time at mile 1.0. Drop down a large step, cross North to the bottom of the final section of steep steps to the summit, and finish the climb.

The true summit is a short scramble up the right side, but there is more area to sit and enjoy the view on the left. Once you’re done enjoying the views of Phoenix and the other surrounding mountains, return down the way you came.

View of Phoenix from Piestewa Peak

Piestewa Peak Trail Map & Elevation Profile

Download file: Piestewa Peak via Summit Trail.GPX

Piestewa Peak Resources

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2020 Arizona Winter Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge

Arizona Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge – Winter Edition

This hike is part of the Arizona Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge – Winter Edition. This self-paced hiking challenge includes six hikes all easily reached from the great Phoenix metropolitan area. They are a great way to explore the area, train for bigger adventures, and you’ll be doing good, with a portion of the net proceeds going to support Big City Mountaineers.

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