5 of The Best Hikes in Arizona
If being outdoors is your kind of thing, Arizona, the Grand Canyon State, has some pretty spectacular trails for you.
Many people picture Arizona as just a hot desert, but there’s a lot of more diversity and variety than you think. There are many trails for beginners and experts alike.
Before we get on with the best hikes in Arizona, I want to address that preparation is crucial. We know you want to have fun, but safety should be your priority. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure to plan ahead where you are going and how you will get there. Though Arizona is mainly seen as a hot desert state, its climate is more complex due to the latitude and the geography. Most of the state is considerably dry, but the high mountainous areas get around 30 inches of precipitation annually. Familiarize yourself with whatever trail you’re planning to hike so you can prepare yourself in all aspects.
- Don’t push yourself too hard. The best way to know you’re at a right speed is if you can still talk without huffing and puffing while hiking.
- Fuel up with high energy food. You should also hydrate often.
- Hike as light as possible, with food and water being the heaviest items in your bag.
- Wear the right stuff. During the day, you want something light and moisture wicking. You also want to protect yourself from the scorching sun, so wear protective clothing or sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Night times become frigid so make sure you have something to keep you warm in your pack.
- If you have a new pair of hiking boots, break in them first, before you go on a long hike.
- A handheld GPS is very useful, but you should still bring a map and compass if you can.
- Bring purification tablets with you.
- Have a signaling device like a mirror or a whistle, in the case of emergencies. You should also have a basic first aid kit.
#1 Grand Canyon National Park
Of course, you have to hike the Grand Canyon – no doubt about it. But as for where to start or what trail to take, you’ve got a lot of options. One of the most popular trails is the Bright Angel Trail.
It’s quite a steep and strenuous trail, with an elevation change of over 4200 feet and a round-trip distance of around 15.6 miles. However, it also breathtaking and rewarding, passing by the Indian Garden Campground and the Colorado River.
The Grand Canyon National Park has lots of options for day hikers as well. However, do not expect to see so much in just a day because they are mostly around the rim. For more information, visit the National Parks Service
#2 Flat Iron in the Superstition Mountains at Lost Dutchman State Park
The Superstition Mountains is another great site for hiking, offering many trails of all sorts. Among those trails, the Siphon Draw Trail is one of the popular ones because it takes you to the prominent rock formation, Flat Iron.
However, it is quite a steep hike, and the trail may have loose rocks. Reaching the Flat Iron from the Siphon Draw Trailhead is about 2.5 miles with 2,400 feet elevation gain.
#3 Havasu Falls
The Havasu Waterfalls is a hidden gem that’s not very easy to get to. First of all, you will need a permit to hike and camp there.
Second, of all, it’s not easy to get reservations. So if you want to visit the blue-green waters of Havasu Falls, plan well and early.
The hike to the falls is about 10 miles from the trailhead. The first 8 miles will take you to Supai village. You will need at least two days to enjoy the area so get your camping gear ready.
#4 The Inner Basin Trail in the San Francisco Peaks
The Inner Basin Trail has a spectacular view of the San Francisco Peaks. It shows the greener side of Arizona, with towering aspens and pines. Though it is beautiful in spring and summer, the amber leaves of the aspens in fall are like no other.
The trail begins at Lockett Meadow and has a gradual elevation that leads to a picturesque open meadow, the Inner Basin.
#5 Mount Humphrey
The list would not be complete without the mention of the highest peak, Humphrey’s Peak. It’s 12,633 feet above sea level, and the trail is about 9.5 miles long with an elevation gain of almost 3500 feet.
The trail takes around 6 hours, but it is only recommended for very experienced hikers since it’s more physically demanding.
Arizona is full of wonders when it comes to hiking trails. Although the Grand Canyon in itself is beautiful and worthy of all the attention, there are still many other beautiful places this state has to offer.
If you have other recommendations, share them using the comment section below. You can also tell us about your experiences with these places if you have hiked them already.
Louise is the founder of TheAdventureLand.com, where she and her associate’s blog about Outdoor experiences, tips & tricks that will help you have an exciting adventure. She is also a tour guide of travel company where she learned many things about wilderness. “Let’s pack our bags and explore the world!”. Follow her on Twitter @adventure_howdy