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This 5.8-Mile Hike Leads to the Most Insane Crystal Blue Waters in All of Arizona



The world is abundant with treasures known or unknown to man. Sometimes, you just need to go out there and see for yourself how lucky we are for having been blessed with wonderful destinations by nature. Located near the Grand Canyon, Hopi Salt Trail is one of the hidden gems of Arizona, presenting a daunting hike along with a steep elevation gain. It is both intimidating and exhilarating, but we’re sure it’s worth exploring! Keep reading.

With a Trail Stretching 5.8 Miles, Hopi Salt Trail Is One Hike You Have to Prepare For!

The saying “no pain, no gain” holds weight when it comes to taking on the formidable trail. Surely, the Hopi Salt Trail is not a trail you want to be in if you aren’t well-acquainted with long treks and high hikes. We only have one thing to say to you. Experience would be your friend in conquering this majestic jewel of life itself, as well as arduous preparations of trail equipment and hiking gear. It’s worth noting that with this distance, it’s rather unwise to even think of taking it without any preparations. We should also warn you. Many hikers say this has been the “sketchiest trail” ever.

You need to anticipate a lot of gravel and boulders the whole way through the trail. That being said, you should take your time and just focus on carefully placing each step and boulder hop if you don’t want any injuries.

Hopi Salt Trailhead

Source: Bob Bordasch

The start of the actual trailhead is only a couple hundred yards long and is relatively flat and easy. You might get a false idea that the hike will be a breeze. It’s not. The initial descent into the canyon is a ~500 foot, ~140-degree vertical drop of large boulders.

Hopi Salt Trail Hike az

Source: Bob Bordasch

There are also many small rocks and gravel. Continue your hike and you will find that the gravel is super loose and you need to keep your distance with your fellow adventurer if you don’t want to knock out your friends below with falling rocks. Remember to balance your footing and be steady.

Salt Trail arizona grand canyon

Source: Bob Bordasch

The hike might take longer than expected, but you will love every second of it. Once you see the hints of blue from the refreshing water below, you will feel energized.

Rich in Rock-Formations, Hopi Salt Trail Is a Picture-Perfect Trail!

Boulder Field in arizona

Source: Bob Bordasch

Hopi Salt Trail is near the magnificent Grand Canyon. We know, there are just too many picturesque places in Arizona, huh? Visitors will surely find the trail breathtaking with its wondrous auburn-colored rock formations. If you want to see it clearly, then that’s your sign to start trekking when before evening strikes and pack yourself with some camping gear and a camera as well. This way, you will be able to get halfway through the trail and make it just in time to witness the sublime sunset tinting the trail. The view there will be unmatched. You will be in awe of the whole canyon bathed in a warm color, and it’s not just visually appealing. It is also relaxing to look at.

During the daytime, you get to traverse the trail and admire the rusty red mix of color in the rock walls, ceilings, all while crossing the unique rock formations.

With an Elevation Gain of 3,000 Feet. This Trail Is a Tough but Rewarding Adventure!

Hopi Salt Trail has a gradual rise to 3,000 ft. or 944 meters. Can you believe it? It is only 56 meters short of a kilometer high! This is probably one of the reasons why not a lot of people brave this trail. It really poses an overwhelming challenge. So once again, this is your reminder to prepare for the hike before coming here, and to not underestimate whatever challenge lies ahead. After all, Hopi Salt Trail has earned the rating “hard” in some hiking websites. However, all is worth it because of the awe-inspiring desert landscape visible as far as the eye can see.

Arizona Hike

Source: Instagram

After traveling 5.8 miles, it only gets better. A stunning crystal-clear river awaits you at the end of the Hopi Salt Trail. And no, believe it or not, this is not Havasupai. Depending on the season, you can swim in this river if it’s not too cold.

On the other hand, the river being frozen mid-stream is nothing less enchanting. Feel free to admire it. You can just snap many photos to serve as a treasured memory of a fun hike in Arizona. Hopi Salt Trail is an absolute jewel. For some hikers, they consider this destination a sanctum of nature that unites one’s soul with the wilderness.

Nature lovers will appreciate the comfort that comes in the journey and the destination. It is a definitive adventure that you should take if you can, granted that you have to be prepared for it. This journey, if you choose to take it, will be an unforgettable experience etched into your mind as well as your spirit.

What You Should Know

Hopi Salt Trail az

Source: Reddit

  • Do not underestimate the Arizona sun. Some people think they can take the temperatures at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Well, it can be pretty close to, if not similar, to the intense Phoenix heat. You will most certainly feel that the temperature (at any point during your hike) feels like was a million degrees. Bring enough water to keep yourself hydrated. Heat exhaustion is real and deadly.
  • If you can find a shady spot somewhere along the trail, you might want to set up camp after hours of hiking. This is a good idea if you want to rest, chill for a moment, and maybe snap many photos of the natural wonder in front of you.
  • The stunning river at the end of the Hopi Salt Trail is generally blue unless after heavy rain or snowmelt.

Do You Want to Hike This Trail?

Originally, a Navajo Nation permit is required to take the hike and you need to visit the Cameron Visitor Center before going. However, some say that the tribe has now restricted access to this area because hikers keep leaving waste, garbage, and other signs of disrespect to this cultural landscape. According to both the Tribal & Federal Law, individuals will be fined a minimum of $250 per day for trespassing as non-traditional members, while a $15 tow fine per mile will be imposed for vehicles. We can only hope that access to the trail will be granted again so you can see the beauty for yourself. If it does open soon, remember that you have a responsibility to take care of Mother Nature and not litter it. In the meantime, you can read personal blogs and vlogs that document the experience of hiking the Hopi Salt Trail.

Do you love to hike? Check out our other articles perfect for an outdoor adventurer like you: This 800-Mile Trail Spans the Entire State of Arizona and Is a Must-Do for Any Hiking Enthusiast. You might also like our article on the best hiking trails in Arizona for beginners.


A writer big on nature, travel, and dogs. If you can't find Errot with her furry pal, then she's probably out exploring.