Arizona, known for its dramatic landscapes, stunning canyons, and diverse ecosystems, is a hiker’s paradise. With its unique combination of desert, mountains, and forests, the state offers an array of hiking trails that cater to all levels of hikers. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 hiking trails in Arizona, each of which boasts its own unique natural beauty and awe-inspiring scenery.
Best Hiking Trails in Arizona
Here is a list of the best hiking trails in Arizona:
- Havasu Falls Trail
- Location: Supai, Arizona
- The Wave
- Location: Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, near Page, Arizona
- Camelback Mountain
- Location: Phoenix, Arizona
- West Fork Trail
- Location: Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona
- Bright Angel Trail
- Location: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
- Superstition Mountains
- Location: Superstition Wilderness, near Apache Junction, Arizona
- Antelope Canyon
- Location: Page, Arizona
- Sycamore Canyon
- Location: Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, near Flagstaff, Arizona
- Coronado Trail Scenic Byway
- Location: Coronado National Forest, Eastern Arizona
- Arizona Trail
- Location: Statewide, Arizona
Let’s explore them one by one.
Havasu Falls Trail
Location: Supai, Arizona
Havasu Falls is one of the most iconic and visually stunning waterfalls in the Grand Canyon. The trail to Havasu Falls begins in the remote village of Supai and leads hikers through a desert landscape down into the depths of the Grand Canyon. The hike is around 10 miles round-trip and rewards hikers with the opportunity to swim in the crystal-clear turquoise waters of Havasu Creek and marvel at the beautiful Havasu Falls. Due to its popularity, permits are required, and the number of hikers is limited.
Location: Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, near Page, Arizona
The Wave is a unique and otherworldly sandstone formation that has become a bucket-list destination for many hikers and photographers. Access to The Wave is highly regulated, and only a limited number of permits are issued each day to preserve this delicate landscape. The 6.4-mile round-trip hike takes you through a remote area, showcasing surreal striped sandstone formations and incredible photo opportunities.
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Camelback Mountain, located in the heart of Phoenix, offers challenging yet rewarding hikes with breathtaking views of the city. The two main trails, Echo Canyon and Cholla, lead to the summit, where hikers can enjoy panoramic views of the Phoenix metropolitan area and the surrounding desert. Due to its popularity, Camelback Mountain can get crowded, so an early start is advisable to avoid the midday heat and secure a parking spot.
West Fork Trail
Location: Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona
The West Fork Trail in Sedona is a serene and enchanting hike that takes you deep into the narrow, shaded canyon of Oak Creek. The 7.2-mile round-trip trail meanders along the creek, offering stunning views of towering red rock formations, lush vegetation, and the occasional stream crossing. It’s a particularly popular hike during the fall when the changing leaves add to the trail’s beauty.
Bright Angel Trail
Location: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The Bright Angel Trail is one of the most popular routes into the Grand Canyon, offering a spectacular descent into the canyon’s depths. The well-maintained 9.6-mile round-trip trail provides hikers with breathtaking views and access to water at the Indian Garden rest area. While it’s possible to do a day hike on this trail, many hikers opt for a multi-day adventure, taking advantage of the various campsites along the way.
Location: Superstition Wilderness, near Apache Junction, Arizona
The Superstition Mountains, with their jagged peaks and deep canyons, provide some of the best hiking opportunities near Phoenix. The Peralta Trail is a popular choice, leading to Fremont Saddle, which offers panoramic views of Weaver’s Needle and the surrounding wilderness. For more experienced hikers, the challenging Siphon Draw Trail takes you to the top of Flat Iron, providing unmatched views of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Location: Page, Arizona
Antelope Canyon is a world-renowned slot canyon that entices photographers, nature enthusiasts, and hikers alike. The Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons are both accessible via guided tours and offer an unparalleled visual spectacle. The narrow sandstone walls, sculpted by wind and water, create a mesmerizing interplay of light and shadow that varies throughout the day. These tours provide a unique hiking experience through a geological wonder.
Location: Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, near Flagstaff, Arizona
Sycamore Canyon, located in northern Arizona, is a hidden gem that offers a wide range of hiking opportunities. The Taylor Cabin Trail is a 4.2-mile out-and-back trail that takes you to a historic cabin while traversing through beautiful forests and meadows. The Sycamore Rim Trail, a 12.3-mile loop, provides a more extended adventure, showcasing expansive views of the canyon and surrounding plateaus.
Coronado Trail Scenic Byway
Location: Coronado National Forest, Eastern Arizona
The Coronado Trail Scenic Byway, a 120-mile highway, winds its way through the Coronado National Forest, providing access to some of Arizona’s most picturesque and remote hiking trails. One notable trail is the Blue Range Primitive Area Loop, a 7.5-mile hike that showcases lush forests, pristine streams, and panoramic views of the Blue Range Wilderness. This area is a true wilderness experience for those seeking solitude and adventure.
Location: Statewide, Arizona
The Arizona Trail is an ambitious, 800-mile-long trail that traverses the entire state, from the Mexican border to the Utah border. While hiking the entire trail is a monumental undertaking, there are numerous sections that can be explored in a day or as overnight backpacking trips. The variety of ecosystems and terrains you’ll encounter along the Arizona Trail is astonishing, from deserts to high mountain forests. It’s an opportunity to experience the diverse beauty of the state.
In conclusion, Arizona’s hiking trails offer a diverse array of landscapes, from the iconic Grand Canyon to serene slot canyons, lush forests, and challenging mountain peaks. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, the state’s natural beauty and unique geological formations make it a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts. These top 10 hiking trails in Arizona provide a glimpse into the stunning and diverse hiking opportunities that await in the Grand Canyon State. So, lace up your hiking boots, grab your water bottle, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the breathtaking landscapes of Arizona.