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This 800-Mile Trail Spans the Entire State of Arizona and Is a Must-Do for Any Hiking Enthusiast

Suny Errot

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The Grand Canyon State is known as an outdoor wonderland for adventure enthusiasts. So, what’s the top activity that comes into mind when you hear Arizona? Are we thinking of the same thing? It’s hiking! The state offers a number of ways to explore the canyons, and one of them includes the Arizona Trail. Check this out and go on a little (or rather, big) adventure.

Have you ever heard of a trail so long that it covers the entire state and even the borders near it? Wow.

A Brief History of the Arizona Trail

Source: AZTrail

This 800-mile trail that spans the entire Arizona state is called the Arizona National Scenic Trail, most commonly known as the Arizona Trail. You can find the Mexico border on the south side, while Utah is on the north side.

In 1985, a teacher named Dale Shewalter from Flagstaff, Arizona developed a cross-state trail plan and advocated for the Arizona Trail. But it was only in 2009 that it was fully declared as a National Scenic Trail. Think about it. It took 24 freakin’ years.

Also, did you know that Arizona Trail is part of the shortened version of the Great Western Loop? Isn’t that great!

Will It Take Weeks to Finish the Trail?

Trail Hike Most Challenging Trails Arizona

Source: Instagram

The answer is yes and no. Again, this is an 800-mile long trail. If we do the calculations, it is estimated that you will be able to finish the entire trail for around 6-8 weeks depending on your speed. Some hikers take months or even years because they find themselves charmed by the different stops along the way. On the other hand, you’ll be surprised to know there are some hikers who can just breeze through hundreds of miles.

If you’re into this kind of experience, you’d really have to devote your time to it. But if you have time and budget constraints and can’t simply complete a trail this long, you can try hiking different parts of the trail. Thank the heavens for the numerous options!

There are 43 passages from North to South and each trail is achievable within a day (more or less). Each passage will possess a different hiking experience and charm, so you should give it a try!

Places to See:

  • Grand Canyon
  • Huachuca Mountains
  • San Francisco Peaks
  • Superstition Wilderness
  • Mogollon Rim
  • Kaibab Plateau
  • Santa Catalina Mountains

Source: AZTrail

Best Time To Hike

As you probably already know, Arizona has diverse weather. When it’s summertime, it’s scorching hot. When it’s winter, there may be heavy snowfall. Since the trail could begin either from the north or south, allow us to give you some input on the suggested hiking timelines:

It would be best to visit the Arizona Trail during springtime around March to April. That is if you’re coming from the North. During this time, the snow has already melted, and it isn’t summertime yet. It means you will enjoy an abundant water supply.

Now, if you are coming from the South, try visiting during fall. Mark down October to November on your calendar because that’s the time before snow rains down on the trail. It is also the best time to visit the Grand Canyon while you’re on the trail.

There’s also a lot of activities you can do here. 

Arizona Trail Mountain Bike AZ Flagstaff

Source: Instagram

Try these:

  • Mountain Biking
  • Camping (on places allowed as long as you have a permit)
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Mountain Skiing

Can You Finish The Arizona Trail in 15 Days? This Awesome Hiker Did.

Jeff Garmire Arizona Hiker

Source: FreeOutside

We’re talking about 800 miles of trail here. Conquering the whole thing is already a feat, much more completing it in record time! A hiker named Jeff Garmire made the news when he achieved the “FKT” or the fastest known time for the Arizona Trail, one of the 11 National Scenic Trails.

It took Jeff 15 days, 13 hours and 10 minutes, putting him to an average of 51 miles a day. Wow. Most people take months or years to complete the trail that takes you across the state’s deserts, canyons, forests, and mountains, but not this guy!

According to the famed hiker, he doesn’t stop for much at all – not the snakes, or snow. He always pushed himself forward, even when he was already experiencing non-stop agony due to internal pains. He also wasn’t getting enough sleep and hiked for up to 18-20 hours a day.

After finishing the whole trail, Jeff said it was a rollercoaster like no other. He documented his whole journey and experience from Day 1 to Day 15 on his website, FreeOutside. Click here to read his hiking log.

Hiker Tips

Arizona Trail AZ Experience Hiking

Source: Instagram

  • Don’t rely on one GPS only. Bring maps, compass, and download Arizona Trail Google Earth GPS Data, as well as access interactive maps.
  • Check the weather conditions before going so you can equip yourself with the right gear.
  • Be prepared: Bring all necessities, food, water, equipment and wear appropriate hiking clothes.

Location: Arizona Trail, Flagstaff, Arizona, 86004

Website: https://aztrail.org/

Have you ever hiked the Arizona Trail? Tell us about your experience! You can also conquer a less strenuous hike, such as the 3-mile hike to Robbers Roost Trail, the popular “hideout for outlaws and robbers in the Silver Ore days.”

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