Some might think of hiking in Arizona as a desert nightmare. Sure, Arizona is hot and there is plenty of desert scenery. But Arizona isn’t a barren landscape only. The Grand Canyon and so many other amazing places offer spectacular hiking opportunities with scenic diversity.
Sedona – The red rock scenery of Sedona is a hiker’s paradise. Numerous trails can be found in and around Sedona, some within Red Rock State Park. There is a network of interconnecting trails along Oak Creek, and I’ve hiked sections of them. It’s truly inspiring to hike this area with Cathedral Rock as the main feature in the landscape. If you want a cool overlook of the community of Sedona, then head to Airport Overlook Point (also known as Airport Mesa) and hike some of the short trails. It’s easy breezy and you get to see rock treasures as Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, and many others.
Monument Valley – No doubt, Monument Valley is unique. Therefore, I wanted to get a real feel of this majestic landscape and decided to hike the only public trail within Navajo Nation’s Monument Valley Park. The Wildcat Trail takes you 3.2 miles around the West Mitten Butte. It’s not a difficult trail, it can be done anywhere from 1.5 – 2 hours. However, I used more than 4 hours because it would be a shame not to indulge in a bit of sheer escapism. What I like about this short trail is that it takes you all around the Mitten Butte, so you get to see it from different perspectives. I pretty much had the trail for myself since most people tend to view the buttes from the platform at the Visitor Center.
Globe – In the scenic Pinal Mountains south of Globe, Telephone Trail #192 offers splendid hiking in a rugged terrain. The trail follows a ridge with north facing slopes. I hiked it in December with nice temperatures and only a few small patches of snow at higher elevations. The trail can be combined with other nearby trails for a series of enjoyable hikes in this scenic area of Tonto National Forest. You’ll find the trailhead at the parking lot of the Icehouse CCC Recreaton Site.
Phoenix – Camelback Mountain is an icon of Phoenix. There are two trails leading to the summit, I’ve done the Echo Canyon Trail. This popular urban hike is just a 2.3 miles round trip, but it’s extremely strenuous and extremely fun. Camelback Mountain is unique because of its location right in Central Phoenix. Once you’re at the top, take your time and enjoy the beautiful views of Phoenix and Scottsdale. I did the hike in July and my best advice for a summer hike is to start early. Locals seem to use the trail as a daily fitness exercise, so don’t do this hike for solitude, but simply for the fun.
Tucson – Tucson and the Sonoran Desert is a great place for desert hiking. I’ve only hiked for a few hours in Saguaro National Park, the land of cactus forests. I love the desert scenery with the green giants dotted all over. There are several trailheads; I went on a trail from the Mica View Picnic Area. It’s definitely a place I want to explore a lot more when I have more time on hand.
They fired me for traveling too much, I booked Everest Base Camp Trek the next thing!
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