PHOENIX -- The crowd dwindles at Piestewa Peak as the morning sun comes up. Parking spaces are easier to find and the trails are less traveled. It’s a whole different story early in the morning.
“The front lot is full; this one is full, this next one is also full, so over the hill is another parking lot that's where I'm at and it's filling up,” said hiker Glenn Notsch.
This is before 5 a.m., when beating the heat is the name of the game.
“I think most people are kept away from the darkness, but we wear a headlamp,” Notsch said.
Mountain dirt shuffles between the feet of those going up and coming down.
Despite the cooler early morning temps, experienced hikers like Denise Lalio still take plenty of water.
"I definitely like to come out early because it's nice and cold obviously, so you want to stay cool and hydrated because the sun is going to come out soon. Got my water, so I'm definitely prepared," she said.
Those caught in the early morning hiker rush weren’t too worried as long as they get off the mountain before the 80s turn to 90s, which then turn to the 100s.
“I wanted to get here at around 4:30, 5 o'clock before the big rush and get a good spot, but we got here a little later and we parked way down there but it's worth it, the view, the weather, it's Arizona,” said hiker James Aceu.
Piestewa Peak is also really busy right now early in the morning because Echo Canyon, which is another very popular hiking area, is closed and will be throughout the summer and into fall. They're doing some major parking lot renovations.