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Camelback's Cholla Trail reopens after two years. But not everyone is happy

Camelback Mountain's Cholla Trail is finally open again after being closed for two years for improvements.
Credit: 12News

PHOENIX — After being closed for more than two years, Cholla Trail on the east side of Camelback Mountain reopened Friday morning.

RELATED: Phoenix's popular Cholla Trail set to reopen Friday

People were lined up before dawn at the new trail entrance on Invergordon just North of Camelback.

Cholla Trail closed two and a half years ago after a 300-pound boulder fell on a man. The City of Phoenix shut the trail down to make improvements and realign the entrance.

For years, the trailhead was up a hill at the end of a residential street. But residents didn't like an estimated half-million hikers walking past their houses at all hours of the day a year. And the City of Phoenix didn't like that hikers were exposed on an unlined residential street where they could be struck by cars. 

The new trailhead opens on Invergordon and bypasses the residential street entirely. There are now bathrooms at the bottom of the trail, and the trail itself is a lot flatter and better constructed, city officials said.

"It's a little easier than the start of the original Cholla Trail, Adam Waltz with the Phoenix Parks and Rec Department said. "We have some new stone steps."

One thing the new trailhead does not have is parking. Waltz said there was no room to include a parking lot in the renovations since the city doesn't actually own the property - it's just granted an easement. 

Parking for Cholla Trail will continue to be along Invergordon Road, which now includes dedicated spaces for rideshare services to pick up and drop off hikers.

Not everyone is happy with the renovations, however. Some homeowners said the city has just transferred hikers from the front of their property to the rear. One group has hired a lawyer to fight the trail renovations but has not taken any action yet. 

The new Cholla Trail is open from sunrise to sunset. For additional details, visit the City's website.

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