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
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.
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”.
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.
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.
Piestewa Peak Trail Map & Elevation Profile
Piestewa Peak Resources
- Official City of Phoenix website for Piestewa Peak
- Overview of Piestewa Peak via Visit PhoenixWeather Forecast
- Get turn-by-turn driving directions via Google Maps
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.
Gershom Spruijt says
The City of Phoenix website you linked to as a resource says that the trailhead parking for this peak is closed for the next several months, requiring us to use an alternative parking or an alternative trail. Still looks like an interesting peak, but starting at another trailhead would turn this into a full-day hike. Could someone verify this? Suggestions for alternatives?
Richard Oppelaar says
Hi Gershom, Thank you for pointing this out. That’s a recent update to their website, but as I understand it it’s just the parking lot that is closed. You are still able to park along the road close to the trailhead, and access the summit trail. It closed periodically over the summer, too, but all trails and trailheads remained open and accessible. You’re right – going at it from another trailhead would add serious mileage!
Gershom Spruijt says
OK, thanks! I hope to check it out and will let you know how it worked out.