Best Loop Hikes Arizona  by Bruce Grubbs

Best Loop Hikes Arizona Guide Book

by Bruce Grubbs (The Mountaineers Books)
Best Loop Hikes Arizona  by Bruce Grubbs
It's hiking with a welcome twist: no tandem driving, no dropping off a car at the end of the trail-and no turning around to hike back the way you came. Bruce Grubbs has selected the best existing loop trails and stitched together segments of other trails to form new loops. This is a guide of tremendous variety. You have your pick of terrain: desert, canyon, mountain, or forest. There are hikes along old pioneer trails, through volcanic fields, and past petroglyph views. To top it off, you'll often hike through several different life zones on the same trail-Grubbs is your guide in understanding these, too.

© 2004 Bruce Grubbs/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Loop Hikes Arizona" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 75.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 75.

A great hike for a hot summer day, this loop on the north side of the San Francisco Peaks uses the Abineau Canyon Trail to reach scenic views of the north side of 12,633-foot Humphreys Peak, and then follows the old Abineau Canyon Road through fine aspen stands to return via the Bear Jaw Trail and its historic aspen carvings. Hiking counter-clockwise gets all of the climbing over with pretty quickly, and the Abineau Canyon opens up as you reach the avalanche runout zone.
Flagstaff, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.1
Starting from the remote Rogers Troughs Trailhead in the eastern Superstition Mountains, this loop follows the historic Reavis Trail (the route of the Utah to Mexico Arizona Trail) past the old Reavis Ranch site and its apple orchard. Descending the headwaters of Fish Creek on the little-used Frog Tanks Trail, the loop then follows Rogers Canyon to scenic Angel Basin, where it joins the Rogers Canyon Trail to complete the loop.
Apache Junction, AZ - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 18
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This easy loop from the Peralta Trailhead offers classic views of Weavers Needle in the western Superstition Mountains. The loop uses the Peralta Trail, a short section of crosscountry, and the Bluff Spring Trail to circle through some of the most dramatic scenery in the Superstition Mountains. Hike clockwise because it’s easier to find the return trail. Start the hike on the Peralta Trail, which climbs 1.8 miles up Peralta Canyon to Fremont Saddle.
Apache Junction, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
Starting from the easily accessed Barnhardt Trailhead on the east side of the Mazatzal Mountains, this scenic loop climbs spectacular Barnhardt Canyon via one of the best trails in the range, passes the historic Chilson Camp, heads north on the Mazatzal Divide Trail, then returns via the Rock Creek and Half Moon Trails. Expect to see waterfalls in Barnhardt and Rock Creeks if you do this hike in early spring, just after snowmelt. At any season, you’ll have panoramic views of the Mogollon Rim country.
Mesa, AZ - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 17.3
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This hike loops through a remote section of the Blue Range over the easternmost portion of the Mogollon Rim via the Lanphier Canyon, WS Mountain, and Largo Creek Trails, with an optional shorter loop, as well as a short side hike to the top of Bear Mountain. Attractions include views of much of the eastern Blue Range. Campsites are plentiful but water is scarce, especially during late summer and fall. Starting from the Blue Trailhead, cross the Blue River and follow Trail 52 along the east side of Lanphier Creek. After 0.6 mile, Trail 51 comes in from the right; this will be the return trail. For now, stay left on Trail 52 and follow it southeast as the canyon gradually ascends through ponderosa pine forest. The trail stays near the creek with its seasonal flow until you have gone 2.5 miles, then it climbs away on the left and traverses a bench high above the creek.
Alpine, AZ - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 23.4
This is an easy loop through the Red Rock–Secret Mountain country, using the Bear Sign Canyon Trail to ascend Bear Sign Canyon to a saddle and then following Secret Canyon Trail for the return. Attractions include rare Arizona cypress stands in the cool depths of Bear Sign Canyon and an optional side trip to the hidden recesses of Secret Canyon. A Red Rock Pass, obtainable at the Red Rock Ranger Station in Sedona, is required for parking at the trailhead. Start off on the Dry Creek Trail, which follows the normally dry creek north through fine stands of Arizona cypress, mixed with pinyon pine and juniper trees. After 0.7 mile, turn left on the Bear Sign Canyon Trail, which heads generally northwest as it follows the twists and turns of the canyon. The high, forested cliffs of the Mogollon Rim form the backdrop, and red rock buttes, fins, and pinnacles create a dramatic foreground.
Sedona, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.1
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This loop, part of the extensive White Mountain Trail System in the forest surrounding the towns of Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside, takes you over the broad summit of Blue Ridge Mountain and back along Thompson and Billy Creeks. Go north, across the road, on the Blue Ridge Mountain Trail, whichBlue Ridge Mountain turns northeast and ascends the gentle slopes of Blue Ridge Mountain through mixed pinyon-juniper and ponderosa pine. Marked by blue diamonds nailed to the trees, the trail is easy to follow as it wanders up the hill for 0.6 mile to the junction with the Ice Cave Trail. Stay right on the Blue Ridge Mountain Trail, which reaches the broad summit area in another 1.5 miles. On the east slopes of the mountain, the trail follows an old road and eventually turns southeast to reach Trailhead 2.
Pinetop, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.8
Starting from the Madera Trailhead in Madera Canyon, this loop ascends the Bog Springs Trail to Bog Springs, then traverses high on the west slopes of Mount Wrightson to reach Kent Spring. The descent follows the old Kent Spring Road and trail to rejoin the Bog Springs Trail a short distance from the trailhead. Highlights include close-up views of the steep upper slopes of Madera Canyon and scenic views of the canyon and Santa Cruz River Valley. Hike clockwise to avoid having to climb the steep Kent Spring Road.
Tucson, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.5
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This is the classic Grand Canyon loop hike, easily reached via paved roads on the South Rim. While none of the trails are regularly maintained, the Hermit Trail is considered the easiest of the old Grand Canyon Trails. The Boucher Trail, while well-traveled, was not built to the same standards as the Hermit, and it is steeper and rougher. By doing this loop clockwise, you’ll have the easier Hermit Trail for the long climb to the South Rim.
Grand Canyon, AZ - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 19.1
This easy loop along the crest of Brown Mountain in Tucson Mountain Park uses the Brown Mountain Trail and the Cougar Trail. Views of both the Tucson Mountains and the sweeping Sonoran Desert to the southwest are spectacular. As a bonus, plan to spend some time at the nearby Arizona Sonora Desert Museum which displays plants and animals of this lush desert region. From the trailhead, walk south on the trail toward the Brown Mountain Picnic Area for 0.3 mile, then turn right on the Brown Mountain Trail. The trail climbs the southeast ridge of Brown Mountain, soon reaching the crest. As it follows the ridge northwest, you’re treated to a series of views of the Tucson Mountains and Avra Valley.
Tucson, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.6
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This loop climbs into Bull Pasture, a desert basin perched on the west side of the rugged Ajo Mountains in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Hike counterclockwise to avoid the steep ascent from Estes Canyon.
Ajo, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.1
This loop on the pine-, fir-, and aspen-forested ridges and through deep canyons north of the Mogollon Rim, uses the recently rediscovered historic General Crook, Houston Brothers, Barbershop, U Bar, Fred Haught, and Arizona Trails to wind past three historic cabins. Camping is plentiful on the broad ridges between canyons on this loop, as well as in some of the canyons. General Springs Cabin at the trailhead is the first of the three historic cabins on the loop. These cabins were built as fire guard stations in the days when access to the forested backcountry was by pack animal and trail. An extensive road system has eliminated the need for local fire guards. All three cabins have been restored as historic sites.
Happy Jack, AZ - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 21.6
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Another great hike from Turkey Creek on the west side of the Chiricahuas, this loop ascends to the Chiricahua Crest via the Pole Bridge Canyon and Turtle Mountain Trails. Using the Crest Trail, you climb Monte Vista Peak, an open summit that offers sweeping views, and then continue to Chiricahua Saddle. An optional side trip takes you to the highest summit in the range, Chiricahua Peak. Then the Mormon Ridge Trail is used to descend to Turkey Creek and the trailhead. Hike counter-clockwise to face the views as you descend the Mormon Ridge Trail.
Tucson, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 11.5
Using the Bell Rock Pathway and informal trails, this loop encompasses both Bell Rock and its towering neighbor, Courthouse Butte, and offers dramatic views of the red rock formations.
Sedona, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.9
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This easy loop through the gorgeous Sonoran Desert of the Tucson Mountains uses the Ringtail, Coyote Pass, Cactus Canyon, Ironwood Forest, and Mule Deer Trails to form a figure eight, double loop with a short cherry-stem section.
Tucson, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.3
Yet another long loop starting from historic Sheep Bridge, this rugged hike uses a section of easy cross-country hiking through the Sonoran Desert foot hills to reach the seldom-used Davenport Trail. Passing the site of historic Club Cabin, an old cowboy line cabin which burned in 2004, the trail climbs to another old cowboy camp on the Mazatzal Mountain crest, then follows an especially scenic portion of the Mazatzal Divide Trail also used for the route of the Arizona Trail. At the park, a ponderosa pine-filled glade, the loop uses the rugged Willow Spring Trail for the return. This loop should be done counterclockwise so that the most difficult route-finding is at the start, on the cross-country and Davenport Trail portions. The Willow Fire burned much of the Mazatzal Mountains in June 2004. Expect eroded trails and deadfall at higher elevations.
Phoenix, AZ - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 43.1
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This loop on the east side of the rugged and remote Galiuro Mountains from the Deer Creek Trailhead starts on the Paddys River Trail and then uses the Rattlesnake Canyon Trail to reach the old Powers Garden ranch site. The loop returns on the Deer Creek Trail. Hike clockwise so that you encounter the fainter trails early in the loop. Return is then on the more heavily used Deer Creek Trail. Trails in the Galiuro Mountains in general are little-used and may be faint and overgrown with brush. You should have the USGS topo, which shows all the trails on the loop.
Safford, AZ - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 25.1
Starting from the Pumpkin Trailhead on the west side of Kendrick Peak, this loop with a short cherry stem uses the lesser-used Pumpkin Trail, the Connector Trail, the Bull Basin Trail, and the Pumpkin Trail to complete a loop over the top of 10,418-foot Kendrick Peak, one of many volcanic peaks on the Coconino Plateau. Highlights include cool pine-fir-aspen forests and 100-mile views. A few years ago, most of Kendrick Peak burned in a lightning-caused wildfire. In some areas, all the trees were burned, while in others, the fire burned on the ground and spared the treetops. You’ll be hiking through this mosaic of burned and unburned forest throughout this hike. The elevation gain is somewhat more gradual when you hike clockwise, and you’ll also be facing the views as you descend the upper Pumpkin Trail.
Williams, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.3
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far the most popular western Superstition hike, this very scenic desert loop starts from the Peralta Trailhead and uses the Bluff Spring, Terrapin, and Dutchman Trails to loop past the base of towering Weavers Needle and through classic western Superstition desert.
Apache Junction, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 15.5
This is a very easy loop in Red Rock State Park along and above a beautiful section of lower Oak Creek. Numerous intersecting trails can be used to create several different loops, or to return early.
Sedona, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.4
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