100 Classic Hikes Arizona  by Scott S. Warren

100 Classic Hikes Arizona Guide Book

by Scott S. Warren (The Mountaineers Books)
100 Classic Hikes Arizona  by Scott S. Warren
Few, if any, states can match the variety of backcountry terrain that Arizona has to offer. From arid deserts and lush riverside thickets to tall stands of conifer and alpine tundra, Arizona has it all. For the hiker and backpacker, this diversity, combined with the many trails that have been established in Arizona’s outback over many years, translates into a vast and interesting array of backcountry excursions from which to choose.

© 2015 Scott S Warren/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "100 Classic Hikes Arizona" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 100.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 100.

Exploring the north slope of the San Francisco Peaks, the Abineau and Bear Jaw Trails combine to form a great loop hike that reveals nice subalpine forests and some great views. After climbing for nearly 2 miles from the trail junction, the Abineau Trail reaches Waterline Road. Servicing a water collection system that supplies Flagstaff with drinking water, Waterline Road is excluded from the Kachina Peaks Wilderness so that service vehicles can occasionally drive the road to various springs and wells. Mountain bicycles occasionally utilize this road as well.
Flagstaff, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.8
From Sedona drive about 1 mile west on Arizona Highway 89A to Airport Road. Turn south and drive 0.5 mile to the trailhead on the left side of the road. Parking is limited. Circumnavigating its namesake, which rises in a very central position in the Sedona area, the Airport Loop Trail provides a nonstop reel of red rock scenery. Yes, there is an airport on the lengthy, flat top of the mesa, but flights are not frequent and the noisy intrusion of spinning propellers is not incessant.
Sedona, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.3
Topped by 10,720-foot Mount Graham, the Pinaleno Mountains are the highest of southeastern Arizona’s sky islands. Surrounded by arid basins, this mountain range rises decisively near the town of Safford. In so doing it provides a dramatic shift in climatic conditions, which in turn supports flora remarkably different from that of the desert below. A hike along the Arcadia National Recreation Trail reveals much about the range’s ecology.
Safford, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 10.2
Arizona’s western deserts comprise some of North America’s most arid and desolate topography. Yet, interspersed with several incredibly rugged mountain ranges, it is a land of grand vistas and a handful of great hikes. This landscape is unique in many respects, and hikers may find the region’s unusual array of plant life fascinating. Though quite rugged and wholly inhospitable (for hikers) during the warmer months of the year, the Lake Mead National Recreation Area is not without its interesting back-country excursions. One such hike leads down White Rock Canyon to the Colorado River and then on to Arizona Hot Spring.
Kingman, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.4
This pleasurable walk through a variety of mountain terrain is quite popular among local hikers. Unfortunately, the 85,000-acre Aspen Fire swept across much of this portion of the Santa Catalina Mountains in 2003. Despite being broadly affected by the blaze, the Aspen Loop hike is still a worthwhile endeavor. This hike description follows the loop counterclockwise, mountainsides feature mostly standing dead and thus begins by following the timber. Marshall Gulch Trail, which takes off just to the After 1.2 miles the Marshall Gulch Trail tops right of the outhouse. Climbing along mostly out on Marshall Saddle, where it connects with easy grades, the Marshall Gulch Trail heads other routes. The Wilderness of Rocks Trail west from the picnic area along an often shady continues west from the saddle, and the Aspen A thicket of pine saplings growing along the Aspen Trail in the wake of a large forest fire Trail runs north and south.
Tucson, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.7
In 2000 President Bill Clinton established the 70,900-acre Agua Fria National Monument. Named for the Agua Fria River, which cuts through the monument lengthwise, this parcel of BLM land embraces both riparian canyon bottom and grassland mesa tops. In addition, numerous cultural sites are scattered across its breadth. Offering quick and easy access into the depths of the Agua Fria River Canyon and the heart of the monument itself is the Badger Springs Trail.
Phoenix, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
Named for the many bear wallows that settlers found here in the late 1800s, the Bear Wallow Wilderness encompasses a montane drainage system, complete with a productive trout stream and virgin stands of timber. Unfortunately, Bear Wallow has become known for something else as well. It was here that the massive Wallow Fire began in May 2011. Ignited by an abandoned campfire near the mouth of Schell Creek, this blaze burned 538,000 acres to become the largest wild?re to date in Arizona history. Dozens of homes and buildings were destroyed, and the blaze changed the complexion of a large swath of the Apache–Sitgreaves National Forest for generations to come. Despite this widespread destruction, parts of the 7.6-mile Bear Wallow Trail, which this hike follows, were minimally impacted.
Alpine, AZ - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 15.2
Forming a rugged and scenic line of crags, buttes, and mountains in the desert west of Phoenix, the Eagletail Mountains offer intrepid hikers a wonderful opportunity to explore some desolate yet interesting terrain. The best route for entering the area is the Ben Avery Trail. Named for a noted Arizona outdoor writer, this established trail cuts through the heart of the 100,600-acre Eagletail Mountains Wilderness Area.
Phoenix, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
Arizona’s share of the Colorado Plateau, highlighted by one of America’s premier national parks (Grand Canyon National Park), is a wonderland of colorful canyons, plateaus, and mesas. The Grand Canyon is not to be missed, for its depths promise hidden corridors, waterfalls, and impressive vistas to all who venture within. A smaller version of Kendrick Mountain to the northeast, Bill Williams Mountain is a wonderful summit to hike, partly for the view from the top, and partly because of the lush forest encountered along the way. Closing in on this trail are towering aspen and fir, along with a riotous growth of underbrush.
Williams, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 7
The 80-mile-long Black Canyon National Recreation Trail runs north to south from the vicinity of Spring Valley to the Carefree Highway. As a recreation trail it is a relatively new phenomenon as construction of the route began in the 1990s. The corridor itself dates back much earlier as a livestock driveway. Today, the Black Canyon Trail is divided among several access points, and hiking any segment of the trail one way would require a shuttle vehicle. This hike description follows a short section from the popular Black Canyon trailhead to a scenic bend along the Agua Fria River.
Black Canyon City, AZ - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 3
Nestled among the high summits of the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson, Madera Canyon is one of the premier bird-watching areas in the country. In all, more than 200 species of birds have been spotted here, many of which are considered rare north of the Mexico border. A primary reason for the canyon’s attraction to birds is that it offers cool refuge from the desert heat in the summertime. Providing a wonderful introduction to the natural beauty of Madera Canyon is the hike to Bog and Kent springs. Unfortunately, the 23,000-acre Florida Fire devastated the upper reaches of this hike in July 2005.
Green Valley, AZ - Birding,Hiking - Trail Length: 5
Following a portion of the Bonanza Bill Trail and then the entire length of the Tige Rim Trail, this loop hike explores some of the more remote reaches of the Blue Range. Along the way a number of ?ne vistas are to be had, especially from Tige Rim. All but a short stretch of the Tige Rim Trail is in New Mexico and, although the Arizona portion of this hike falls within the Blue Range Primitive Area, the jurisdiction changes to the Blue Range Wilderness when the trail crosses into New Mexico.
Alpine, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 10
Located within minutes of Sedona, Boynton Canyon is a popular hike for locals and visitors alike. Entering a highly scenic canyon boxed in by large red rock buttes and cliffs, this trail accesses some truly outstanding scenery. Wildlife is plentiful and the flora is fascinating. A Red Rock Pass is required for trail use. The route begins by skirting to the east of a resort that sprawls across the mouth of the canyon. For this first mile the trail traverses dry foothills before dropping back into the canyon bottom. Some minor grade changes can be expected in this first section, but once the canyon bottom is reached, upstream from the resort, the hike is mostly level.
Sedona, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 6
Even when only a small amount of water is flowing, Bridal Wreath Falls makes for a nice destination in the foothills of the Rincon Mountains. If the flow is dried up, this hike nevertheless accesses some scenic and pristine Sonoran Desert lands within the east unit of Saguaro National Park.
Tucson, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.4
In addition to offering the most convenient access to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the Bright Angel Trail is also one of the most popular hiking routes in the park. Wide enough to allow safe passage for tourist-toting mules, this is a virtual highway among backcountry trails. Although the Bright Angel Trail ends at the Colorado River, this description continues on to the Silver Bridge and Phantom Ranch a short distance beyond.
Grand Canyon, AZ - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 19.2
Administered by Pima County, Tucson Mountain Park serves as a 20,000-acre extension of Saguaro National Park West, or perhaps it is the other way around since the county park was established in 1928, ?ve years prior to Saguaro National Park’s designation as a national monument. Among the many miles of hiking trails that lace the county park, a particularly nice loop route climbs up and over its namesake, Brown Mountain. In addition to providing plenty of ?ne desert scenery, this trail also accesses some nice desert plant life.
Tucson, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.4
Rising abruptly to 7657 feet from desert elevations of less than 2000 feet, the Four Peaks comprise a well-known landmark throughout central Arizona. Forming the southern end of the Mazatzal Mountains, reaching these rugged summits requires some scrambling skills. A short and scenic hike that accesses the heart of the massif follows the Browns Trail to Browns Saddle.
Mesa, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
Situated along a remote stretch of the Arizona- Mexico border, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument encompasses a vast parcel of pristine desert country. Included among the twenty-eight species of cactus that grow here is the organ pipe cactus. Although common in Mexico, this strangely beautiful succulent is rare in the United States. The hike to Bull Pasture passes some fine specimens as it climbs into the monument’s primary mountain range, the Ajos. Be sure to get a monument entrance permit from the visitor center.
Ajo, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.7
The Butcher Jones Trail was designed in part to allow land access to some shoreline spots for anglers. For hikers this trail provides some great vistas of Saguaro Lake and the surrounding desert topography, plus it reveals a nice collection of desert plant life. Be sure to purchase a Tonto Pass for the day before driving to the trailhead.
Mesa, AZ - Fishing,Hiking,Walking - Trail Length: 5
With 35 miles of trails, the Cave Creek trail system offers a variety of hiking terrain a short distance from Phoenix. A nice loop hike here follows perennial Cave Creek for a few miles downstream from the vicinity of the Seven Springs picnic site before returning via the desert foothills to the south.
Carefree, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.2