Hikes in Arizona
Arizona is a famous sun destination, and a great location for a holiday between autumn and spring. Of course, you’ll find the world famous Grand Canyon in Arizona, but that’s not all. While the state is well known for golfing and pools, there are also a lot of outdoor activities for tourists who want to explore the incredible landscapes Arizona has to offer.
Most tourists go to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon. This incredible National Park amazes visitors, and exploring the Grand Canyon on foot or horse is the best way to see this natural wonder. Equally beautiful is the stunning Sedona area, perfect in spring and autumn, with stunning natural features and great towns to explore.
We also love just hanging out in Phoenix. The town of Scottsdale is a particular favourite, with nice hotels and stunning views from the many patios, which are ideal places to enjoy a meal outdoors and the sunset over the beautiful mountains.
Hiking regions in Arizona
Best Hikes in Arizona
South Kaibab Trail
The South Kaibab Trail is one of the hardest hikes in the Grand Canyon National Park and makes for an unforgettable challenge if you’re up to the task! You’ll be provided with incredible views over the park for most of the way and then enjoy some backcountry camping at the scenic Bright Angel Campground.
- Technical Difficulty
- Physical Difficulty
Devil’s Bridge Hike
Devil’s Bridge is a natural sandstone bridge in Sedona, Arizona. This geological feature is the star on this very popular moderate trail. Climb out onto the bridge and gaze over a great view of the iconic red rocks of Sedona. This is a fun hike for most ages and definitely one to bring a camera for.
This hike is either 3.2 km long or about 72.4 km long depending on which trailhead you start at. With a 4X4 vehicle, you can drive up to the actual trailhead for the hike for a shorter walk. Without a 4X4, you’ll need to hike up one of two access roads. This guide starts from the Dry Creek Road trailhead, which is where most hikers without a 4X4 vehicle start (those with one can drive up Dry Creek Road). Expect heavy traffic on this very popular trail. Arriving early is a must in the busy season (April-May and October).
Water Wheel Falls Hike
Water Wheel Falls is a hike in the Tonto National Forest near Payson that has become increasingly popular because of its excellent swimming opportunities. The trail was named for an old water wheel you can see from the trailhead, and the route follows the East Verde River to a gorge used by cliff jumpers and a short waterfall into a swimming hole.
There are lots of points along this route where you can take a swim, but the swimming hole at the confluence of the two creeks is the best spot. This easy hike might not be well-marked, but it’s an exceptionally fun adventure for families or for any hiker on a hot Arizona day. Small children might need a hand on some of the rockier parts of the trail
Tumamoc Hill Hike
Tumamoc Hill is one of the most popular hikes in Tucson thanks to its great city views, relatively short length, and night hiking opportunities. The route is paved, which is a plus for hikers who prefer or require even footing. Because Tumamoc Hill is on university property, it’s the only hike in the Tucson Mountain Range that is open for night hiking. If you want to watch the sunset or sunrise, this is the place to be!
The route is 5.0 km long, but some hikers turn around at the midpoint instead of going the entire way. Expect a 2 m paved route with plenty of signage. Some parts of the trail are steep, which could make using a stroller or wheelchair very difficult without some assistance. Overall we rate this trail as moderately difficult. If you come in hot weather, please ensure you’ve got lots of hydration and some sun protection with you.
Humphreys Peak Hike
Humphreys Peak is one to put on the top of your Arizona hiking bucket list, as this mountain is the tallest point in the entire state at 3,851 m. It’s a challenging route with stiff elevation gain, but most strong hikers can find their way to the top thanks to the lack of technical challenges (aside from some light scrambling) and the clearly defined trail. From the top, you’ll enjoy an expansive view of the Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Humphreys Peak can be hiked year-round, but the winter months make for a more demanding climb. You’ll need snowshoes and you may benefit from packing ice axes and microspikes, too. Navigating the route is more difficult in the winter when the trail is covered in snow. Try the summer ascent first, which is generally easier to follow and more suitable for less experienced hikers. Bring a camera for that top-of-the-state view!
Blue Mesa Trail
Blue Mesa Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park. With dazzling views of the neatly striped hills and mesas, giant fossils of petrified wood, and a convenient paved trail, this hike is a great pick for hikers of any skill level and age in the park. It’s a short loop, but it definitely packs in the scenery. Use this as a first introduction to the park since it’s right in the middle of the park road, or enjoy it on its own. Expect heavy traffic on this route.
The Blue Mesa Trail is best done in the morning when the sun is at a low slant. This illuminates the colors of the hills and prevents shadowing from the hills on the western side of this loop (which you’d experience in the afternoon). Don’t stress if you can’t do this hike in the morning, though, it’s just a suggestion!
Camelback Mountain via Echo Canyon and Cholla Trail
Camelback Mountain is Phoenix’s most dominant peak, begging to be climbed as it rises above the city, resembling a camel laying down. This approach to the mountain is a point-to-point route, but you can simply double the distance and climb it as an out and back if you don’t have a car shuttle. The beginning of your hike starts from the Echo Canyon Trailhead, following Echo Canyon Trail up the west side of the mountain, descending via Cholla Trail. You’ll have an incredible view of the city and the surrounding mountains since this is the tallest peak in the Phoenix area.
Camelback Mountain is not a beginner or kid-friendly hike. There are multiple rescues on this mountain every season and hikers have died from dehydration and accidents up here. If you’re a new hiker or you’re not used to hiking in desert conditions, save this one for the future.
Bright Angel Trail
Completing the Bright Angel Trail in one-day is only for the fittest of all hikers. We debated including this hike, as it is so dangerously tough. Better yet consider getting a backcountry camping permit and staying at the Bright Angel Campground! Even though it's a challenging hike, we think the Bright Angel Trail is one of the best hikes in the USA.
- Technical Difficulty
- Physical Difficulty
Cathedral Rock Trail
Cathedral Rock is one of the most popular hiking trails in Sedona… Maybe even the most popular! This hike offers gorgeous scenery, getting you up close to one of the region’s most recognizable sandstone features. This trail has the magical energy that so many parts of Sedona do, and you’ll be in awe at the natural beauty of nature’s church.
This hike is short but difficult for some, with hands-on sections that require some climbing. We don’t recommend this trail for small children and dogs will likely struggle to make it up.
Expect heavy traffic on this very popular trail. Arriving early (before 7:30 AM) is a must in the busy season (April-May and October), especially since the parking lots are small. You can also reach Cathedral Rock from Baldwin and Templeton trails for a quieter experience.
Wave Cave Trail
You probably didn’t think you could surf in Arizona, did you? The Wave Cave is a unique cave where a “wave” of rock protrudes out into the cave opening. It’s one of the many fascinating rock formations and caves that make Arizona’s landscape so fun to explore. The hike to the cave is moderate, with a few short, steep sections. Most hikers will be able to complete this trail.
If you want the perfect photo op in the cave, try hiking early in the morning before the route gets busy. You’ll also want to bring plenty of water and prepare for the heat of the desert, perhaps avoiding hiking from June through September altogether if you’re not used to the temperatures in this part of the world.
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Summit Mount Olympus Trekking Tour
Months Tour Operates
This tour is your chance to trek one of the most mystical mountains on earth: Mount Olympus. This self-guided journey starts in Litochoro, an enchanting town at the foot of Greece’s highest peak. Then you’ll spend two days on the mountain, sleeping in a mountain hut on the second night. You should be comfortable hiking up some serious elevation on this tour to reach the summit, a worthy reward for your effort.
Avalanche Skills Training 1 in the Canadian Rockies
Months Tour Operates
Avalanche safety is a must-have tenet of backcountry adventure and a critical step in keeping yourself and your adventure partners safe in the wintertime and shoulder season. The Avalanche Skills Training 1 in the Canadian Rockies tour is a practical chance to learn the basics of avalanche safety in one of the most beautiful mountain environments in the world.
Self-Guided Mount Triglav Trek
Months Tour Operates
Take on a quintessential Slovenian trekking adventure to the summit of its highest mountain! The Self-Guided Mount Triglav Trek allows you to hike at your own pace and enjoy the incredible scenery of Triglav National Park.
Other Activities in Arizona
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