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Official: Echo Canyon makeover is on schedule

PHOENIX — The makeover of a popular Valley hiking area is on schedule, an official said.

Echo Canyon Trail was closed in January but when it reopens in late fall everything will look and feel different: Two new parking lots will hold up to 130 cars, doubling its size. The project includes bike trails, new bathrooms and ramadas and the trail up the side of Camelback has been redesigned.

“Crews removed all of the steps on the trail,” said David Urbinato, a spokesman with Phoenix Parks and Recreation. “We created a real dirt trail that follows the contour of the mountain.”

Urbinato said hikers and residents used to create traffic jams on the sole road to the area. That is no longer a concern. A separate road is being built into Echo Canyon for hikers.

Urbinato realizes the wait for the reopening of Echo Canyon is difficult.

“The regulars didn’t like losing access to the trail but they understood the parking situation had become horrible,” he said. “Many regulars stopped going because they just couldn’t wait in line.”

Hikers should be able to climb the mountain’s north side again by November.