Best Hikes with Dogs Arizona  by Renee Guillory

Best Hikes with Dogs: Arizona Guide Book

by Renee Guillory (The Mountaineers Books)
Best Hikes with Dogs Arizona  by Renee Guillory
Renee Guillory and her canine companions, Artemis and Sparky, have hiked more than 700 miles together in Arizona. Now they share their favorite trails, presented through dog-centric eyes. On most trails, you'll encounter few people to dodge. Most hikes offer shade, if not water, to help keep your dog cool in extreme Arizona conditions.

© 2004 Renee Guillory/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Hikes with Dogs: Arizona" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 72.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 72.

A leash is not required as long as your dog responds to voice commands, but keep it handy in case you encounter other trail users or wildlife such as javelina or deer, which range here. Be aware that rattlesnakes and venomous lizards live nearby; be sure of your dog’s ability to respond to voice command and keep her close to you, especially among the bouldery riverbanks that make up much of your trail beyond Badger Springs Wash.
Phoenix, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.5
Plan to take plenty of water on this hike—shade is plentiful through and along the typically dry washbeds, but the path along ridgelines is largely exposed. Once your dog is leashed, you are ready for the Arizona Trail loop. Your loop through the Oracle State Park segment of the Arizona Trail follows multi-user paths that approach the foothills of the scenic Santa Catalina Mountains. The Arizona Trail is a nearly completed statewide trail system, open to all nonmotorized uses (and canines!), that spans from Mexico to Utah. This segment of the Arizona Trail is a fairly recent addition to Oracle State Park.
Tucson, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.6
This pretty route on part of the Santa Catalina section of the Arizona Trail offers a shorter alternative to the Oracle segment day hike, in case you and your dog only have just so much quality tail-wagging time to spend on the trail. Even though it is a short hike, plan to pack in plenty of water since a fair proportion of the trail is fully exposed. (As in all fragile desert environments, pack out all waste.)
Tucson, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.8
The Ben Avery Trail, named for a noted Arizona outdoor enthusiast and writer, leads through dramatically hued volcanic basalt hills rising up from the bajadas of the rugged Eagletail Mountains. There are grace notes here, however. Natural arches and rock spires can be viewed from the trail, and the sweet scents of the fall- and spring-blooming, bitter condalia trees waft over the desert.
Tonopah, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 7
Once your dog is watered and leashed—remember to take extra water since half of this loop hike is fully exposed—you are on your way. This trail loops through both meadow and forest atop a mesa nestled in the shadow of the San Francisco Peaks. Buffalo Park is busy at peak times, though not as busy as it could be. Mountain biking, though allowed, is unpopular herering. Cattle grazing is permitted on most public lands in Arizona, and iardia is always a threat. thanks to the level trail. By heeding trail etiquette and leash rules, you and your dog will certainly enjoy this highly scenic, conditioning or maintenance hike just minutes from downtown Flagstaff.
Flagstaff, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
The path carries you and your dog through several narrow ravines where the footing is tricky—use extra caution if it has rained recently. In wetter years, you will see columbines and butterfly weed poking out from between the boulders along the trail. And as the trail’s name suggests, a butterfly field guide is a good read before you head out. The Southwest is home to more than half of North American butterfly species and the Santa Catalina range is one of the best viewing spots in the Southwest. Plan to take your hike in spring or between summer rains (July to August), and then while you are taking a shade break with your pooch, you can enjoy the flits and flurries of these colorful creatures.
Tucson, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.3
Once your dog is watered and leashed, head east from the parking lot through a fence opening. Within 50 steps, you have crossed into the West Clear Creek Wilderness Area and onto the brink of a lovely, remote canyon with a gorgeous view into the canyon before you. And since this is a short hike, you seem to plunge, rather than walk, to the creekside. Calloway Trail 33 briefly ducks under the cover of a mixed pine and oak forest—transitioning to a pinyon-juniper ecosystem as it loses elevation—and your demanding drop into the canyon is made quite pleasant with the shade and promise of water from this perennial creek below.
Flagstaff, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.5
Permanent streams are an oddity in the desert Southwest. It’s a good thing for you and your trail dog that the Tonto National Forest has developed the Cave Creek Trail system, which in addition to Cave Creek Trail 4 includes the Skunk Tank, Cottonwood, Skull Mesa, and Quien Sabe Trails. Start exploring this unique and beautiful area with the Cave Creek Trail.You and your dog will be walking in the footsteps of the Hohokam and Tonto Apache peoples, who at different times used this lush riparian area extensively. Little wonder. This thriving creek flows even in dry cycles and offers plenty of shady stretches among mighty cottonwoods and sycamores with easy access to the stream.
Phoenix, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 10
Once your dog is watered and leashed—remember to pack water in—cross the bridge to begin the Cochise Stronghold Trail 279. Though the pathway itself is very easy on boot and paw, with the exception of occasional rocky segments in the upper reaches, this trail takes you through the rugged natural fortress of the Chiricahua Apaches, a sanctuary for Cochise’s troops in their bloody 12-year war with the U.S. Cavalry (Cochise, legend has it, is buried somewhere in the stronghold). Once you cross the bridge, point the leash left. Before you get 0.25 mile in, the path begins climbing through an extravagantly lush, oak, juniper copse studded with turpentine bushes, blood-barked manzanitas, beargrass, Schott’s yuccas, madrone trees, quinine bushes, agaves, and chilicates—a pepper plant. Stay alert and heed the leash rule, for deer, bears, and javelinas thrive in this bountiful place.
Tucson, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 6
The route that you and your dog are following is an old pack trail. Use is light and the path occasionally fades along this first stretch, so watch for cairns to guide you. You follow a slight incline at 0.5 mile, then the path levels out again as it winds toward the edge of the mesa. There is a very pretty, arborous grotto at 0.9 mile where the rocks form a small basin that holds water after rains. Another good rest spot is a shady grove at 1.4 miles. Take time to enjoy these respites from your exposed trail, especially on the way out, when you will have just completed a rough climb.
Strawberry, AZ - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 9.2
Well over half of this fairly remote trail is in the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, which means it is open only to hiking and horseback riding past the wilderness boundary at 0.8 mile. You should plan on taking along your drinking water since the spring can be dry; in the happy event that the water is running, purify what you take to drink while your dog enjoys a splash. Once your dog is watered and leashed up, take the path out of the parking circle. Dorsey Spring Trail 7 shares a trailhead with the Hog Hill Trail, and initially you and your dog follow an old road, so the path is somewhat rocky, wide, and exposed. You come to an unsigned fork at 0.25 mile—you will see an old gatepost—Hog Hill continues straight and the Dorsey Spring Trail takes off to the right (westerly). A winding path takes you through a lovely, mixed-age pine-juniper-oak forest, parts of which are real showstoppers in autumn: from saplings to centenarians, oaks drape the canopy and forest floor with fall color like a lavish, shimmering veil.
Flagstaff, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
You cover significant elevation change on this hike, and the initially gentle grade of the old roadway is deceptive. After 0.5 mile, the trail narrows somewhat and alternates between gentle declines and moderately steep drops: here the path is comfortable gravel or packed dirt, there it is loose and rocky. Wear sturdy footgear (bring along technical sandals for wading) and take your time—on warm days, make sure your hardworking trail dog has plenty of splash time in the creek and plan to break often in the shade on your way out.
Strawberry, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 8
Winter hiking here is spectacular because only parts of these trails keep snow on the ground for any length of time. Dogs love the slushy snow, but the slush can also turn to ice. You will want to bring crampons because this is a hike that touches the bottom of the snowfall range for Arizona, and the snow-melt-freeze cycle can produce icy patches on the trail. Check your dog’s pads occasionally to see that she is not collecting painful clumps of snow and grit between her toes. Watch her for signs of hypothermia and put on her vest to keep her warm along shadier stretches.
Phoenix, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
This remote route to Mt. Wrightson’s upper reaches lifts off humbly, beside a quiet, perennial stream, heading southwest. The effusive lushness that springs from the marriage of shade and water in southwestern canyons produces a convivial jumble of plant life: agaves, yuccas, barrel cacti, prickly pear cacti, bear grass, rose mallows, penstemons, woodsorrels, sages, cat-claw bushes, Arizona cypress, alligator and one-seed junipers, and ponderosa pines. Snakes—including rattlesnakes—inhabit the area as well, so stay alert. If you are very lucky, you might spot a coati or some white-tailed deer foraging at the streamside.
Tucson, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 9
Once your dog is watered, point her leash downhill and head north through the gate. Your trail to Geronimo Spring first follows the same path as the Kelsey and Little LO Trails. Remember to pack in water in case the springs are dry and always purify what you take from springs if they are running. You will cross into Sycamore Canyon Wilderness right away. This is an enchanting place, with three fairly reliable springs that lush up this desert montane forest nicely. Your path through this beautiful woodland is steep in places, but offers access to water when the springs are running, plenty of shade, and some nice views of Sycamore Canyon. In the spring, wildflowers add a sheen of yellow and purple to the meadows, while autumn’s reds blaze through the canopy wherever oaks have taken hold.
Flagstaff, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
Cool ponderosa pines, chaparral-oak woodlands, and a flowing spring at trail’s end—this path through the visually stunning Santa Catalina Mountains is a varied and sometimes challenging romp for two- and fourlegged hikers alike.
Tucson, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.6
The Harquahala Mountain summit path might seem easy since you and your dog begin by padding along an old mule trail, but with 3290 feet of elevation gain and a rocky trail surface, it is a true challenge. Plan to start early, pack in lots of water, and be confident of your dog’s conditioning before setting out. As always, when visiting fragile desert environments, pick up after your dog. Leashes are not required here as long as your dog responds unfailingly to voice commands, but keep the leash handy as a courtesy to other trail users you may encounter. The summit is accessible by another route, and it is there that you will likely meet other visitors.
Wickenburg, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 12
Starting left of the trailhead parking area, trek southward once your dog is watered and leashed. Remember to pack in your drinking water, as the spring at the hike’s terminus may not be running. The path is a combination of cinder and compacted forest floor, part of which once was an old jeep road—you will encounter some loose, rocky areas, but overall this is a comfortable walking surface. Hog Hill Trail 133 narrows to a faint footpath every now and then, and occasionally you follow hoof prints, since this wilderness trail allows both hiking and horseback riding.
Flagstaff, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.8
Horse Crossing Trail 20, another route to East Clear Creek, provides a tougher workout than the trail at Macks Crossing but it is shadier, more remote, and open to hiking and horseback riding only. Once your dog is watered and leashed—pack in additional drinking water for the trail and treat any you take from the stream—head out onto the path from the parking circle. The trail immediately takes a sharp right and leads you and your dog south to the creek. As with nearly all rugged canyon trails that lead to water, the footpath has a few loose, rocky segments on tighter switchbacks as well as sandy stretches along the streambanks. Overall, however, the path is a paw-pleasing, compacted forest floor.
Winslow, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
Want a cool summer hike? Take your dog to Horton Creek and enjoy a splash or three between gentle climbs up this scenic Mogollon Rim trail. The wide, level path that greets you at the trailhead for Horton Creek Trail 285 meanders briefly through an open meadow, then climbs steadily into a mixed forest of old-growth ponderosa pines, Gambel oak, Arizona sycamores, and the scaly barked alligator juniper. (For courtesy’s sake, resist the urge to skirt the leash rules—during summer months, this can be a busy trail.) From here, enjoy the gurgling creek, blushing Rim-country cliffs, and towering trees along the trail.
Phoenix, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 8