PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Construction on a new access point to the popular Cholla trail on Camelback Mountain starts this winter.

Right now, Cholla Trail is closed. It’s been closed since March 2020 for maintenance and safety reasons after a hiker got hurt by a loose boulder. The new path will be accessible off Invergordon Road, where hikers park and cut through the Phoenician Golf Course.

The old way to access Cholla trail is by walking up Cholla Lane. With an estimated 10,000 people walking it a month, according to city officials, homeowners have been frustrated and concerned with safety and congested pedestrian traffic.

Renderings for new access point for Cholla trail

The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department released renderings this week of the new path leading up to the mountain trail. Desert plants are designed to line the path to provide privacy for the homeowners and still give hikers their nature experience.

The Cholla Trail improvement project will cost about $1 million according to Jarod Rogers, Director of Natural Resources with the City of Phoenix. 

He said parking on Invergordon will still be issue, but the easier access through a pedestrian gate on the road should alleviate foot traffic in the neighborhood and in front of houses on Cholla Lane.  Right now, it can be tricky for first-time hikers to find the trailhead which is accessed by walking a few blocks up Cholla Lane. 

New access point for Cholla trail to reduce foot traffic in neighborhood

Parking in the area has been especially difficult.

Rogers said the old Cholla Trailhead on Cholla Lane will remain closed indefinitely. Officials plan to revegetate the area and make it look like it never existed. The hiking community is looking forward to the improvements. Camelback Culture is a hiking community. Jes Shapiro runs the Instagram page.

“I’m hopeful and glad that the City has the plans together and has gone to permitting,” said Shapiro. She says sometimes “nature calls” and hikers use the bathroom in the bushes and along the trail. “We’re looking forward to the trail being open and having accessible water and bathrooms. It’s a safety concern to not have those things.”

The new Cholla Trailhead entrance off Invergordon is estimated to be complete about seven months from when construction begins. The City of Phoenix is working with the new owner of the Phoenician to make these improvements. The trail could reopen by summer 2022. See the full details on the city's website.

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