Arizona’s Best Hiking Trails

Twelve months out of the year, Arizona is a hiker’s paradise.  Granted, summer in central and southern Arizona can be way too hot,  and winter in Flagstaff or some of the northern areas may be too cold, but the beauty of Arizona is all trails are available to you at all times…you just may need to drive a few miles to get there!   Below is a list of some of the best trails in Arizona, divided into regions, so slip into some comfortable hiking boots, pack plenty of water and don’t forget a GPS!

West Fork of Oak Creek#108, SEDONA

I’ve decided to start with the most beautiful city in all of the state; a mystical, spiritually nourishing, red rock wonderland otherwise known as Sedona, Arizona!  There are many trails for both experienced and novice hikers, but the West Fork of Oak Creek Trail #108 is a 3-14 mile long, kid friendly trail, that should not be passed up.  This trail crisscrosses back and forth across Oak Creek, so your summer hike can be punctuated with a nice cool swim and in the fall?  The lush greenery becomes a fall cornucopia of colors, guaranteed to take your breath away.  Location: SR89A, just past mile marker 387, Call of the Canyon Trailhead. (A Red Rock Pass is needed)

Camelback Mountain, PHOENIX

The views from atop this camel shaped mountain are truly spectacular; probably the best in the valley, but hiking Camelback is not for the weak.  As a matter of fact, no matter how many times you hike this Phoenix, Arizona beast, it never seems to get easier to reach the 1264 feet high peak!  The sense of accomplishment that rushes through you when you reach the top and see all of Phoenix spread out before you definitely make it worth it!  Early morning is the best time of day for conquering the camel located at 4925 N McDonald Drive in Phoenix. (Echo Canyon Recreation Area, no pass needed)

Humphrey’s Summit Trail, FLAGSTAFF

Starting out of Snowbowl, one of Arizona’s most popular ski resorts, Humphrey’s Summit Tail climbs 5 miles to the top of Mount Humphrey in Flagstaff.  I highly recommend hiking this one in the fall when the leaves are changing from dusky green to flaming oranges and yellows, but due to the coolness of the mountain air, this is a trek that can be taken in the summer when many parts of Arizona are just too hot.  Either way, climbing the highest mountain in the state is something you can add to your brag book!  Located 14.5 miles northwest of Flagstaff, you will  park in the lower parking lot of Snowball Skiing area…trailhead is located at the north end of the parking lot. (No pass needed)

Hutch’s Pool, TUCSON

Your older children, should you be looking for a family friendly activity during your stay in Tucson, will love this moderately difficult trail in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area just outside of Tucson, most likely because of the prize at the “end of the rainbow” Hutch’s Pool!  Once you’ve hiked up the canyon, then down the canyon, crossed and re-crossed Sabino Creek and hopped a few boulders you will find yourself at the sandy beached Pool that is known as Hutch’s pool.  Your teens will enjoy jumping from the low cliffs surrounding this small body of water while you spread your blanket on the beach and enjoy a nice picnic lunch! Location: Sabino Canyon Recreation Area.  (Bring your wallet; there is a parking fee at the trailhead.)

The Grand Canyon Rim Trail

To round up the list, no story on hiking trails of Arizona could be complete without mentioning at least one of the Grand Canyon trails, so why not go out with a bang, why not hike the Grand Canyon from rim to rim?  This 23 mile trail down and around one of the 7 Wonders of the World will take you 4 days, with 3 nights being spent at the various campgrounds available to you in the canyon.  (Cottonwood Camp, Bright Angel Campground and Indian Garden)  The best time to attempt this magnificent trek is from May through June or September through October.  Dress for the desert and don’t forget your camera for this once in a lifetime experience!  Location: The Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.  (Permits needed many months in advance)