Here are my top 10 best hikes in Arizona. Did you know that Arizona is full of hikes called “Hike” in the United States? Let me share my best routes with you.
Hiking in Arizona | My top 10
- SEVEN FALLS – TUCSON
- CAMELBACK – PHOENIX
- TOMB’S THUMB – PHOENIX
- BLUE MESA – PETRIFIED FOREST
- SUNRISE PEAK TRAIL – FOUNTAIN HILLS
- WEST FORK TRAIL – SEDONA
- BRIGHT ANGEL TRAIL – GRAND CANYON
- MOUNT HUMPHREY – FLAGSTAFF
- SALOME JUG – SALOME CREEK
- BOB BEAR TRAILHEAD / FOSSIL CREEK – STRAWBERRY
Nature and hiking lovers? I would like to share with you some important details to know before hitting the road for a hike in Arizona.
Hiking in Arizona in the Summer
Summer in Arizona is synonymous with extreme heat. It is true that we reach 50 degrees Celsius after spring. The best season for hiking in Arizona is winter and early spring. As I write this article, we are at the end of March and it is already 28 degrees, that’s to tell you! So think before hitting the road for hikes in the middle of summer, many hikers have lost their lives on these trails. If you decide to hike in Arizona during the summer, here are some tips:
Drink liters of fresh water to avoid being dehydrated
Have food like granola bars or fruit.
Leave at dawn to avoid the searing heat
Choose hikes with water points to cool off
Do not bring your dog (their pads burn on the heat of the floor)
Here, I warned you adventurer! Now let’s discover my top 10 hikes in Arizona.
#1 SEVEN FALLS – TUCSON
Long, scenic, warm, intermediate
Distance : 13 km ou 7km en prenant le tramway
- Durée: 4 heures
- Prix : 5$ la journée
The first six water crossings are grouped together on a 1km section. I highly recommend checking out the niveaux d’eau before your adventure. During the monsoon season from June to September, the trail can be inaccessible and flash floods are a reality in the desert. So double check. The route is well marked, you will have no difficulty following the path.
My opinion : I really love that they have this option. Taking the tram cuts the hike in half, making it only 7km one way and 7km return. It’s very convenient if you’re short on time or don’t want to commit to a 13km hike. If you take the tram, make sure you know the timetable for the last one (link). Otherwise, you come back on foot!
#2 CAMELBACK – PHOENIX
Short, very difficult, panoramic
- Durée: 2-3 heures aller-retour
- Prix: Gratuit
The Echo Canyon Trail and the Cholla Trail are two hiking trails considered extremely difficult. Indeed, you have to climb half the time with the strength of arms and hands. However, dogs are prohibited in all areas of Echo Canyon and Cholla Trail, which is currently closed (April 2021).
Let’s talk about the Echo Canyon trail.
It’s a steep, rocky climb that requires rock climbing to reach the top, but the 360 degree views are worth it. The Echo Canyon trail is considered a harder climb than the Cholla trail. Some portions are so steep that it is necessary to climb with a rope.
My opinion: A difficult trail with a pleasure to climb the rocks, and as a bonus an incredible view of Phoenix and its surroundings. I recommend !
#3 TOMB’S THUMB – PHOENIX
Difficult, overlooking view
Distance : 6.4km
- Durée : 80-90 minutes
- Prix : Gratuit
The Tomb’s Thumb trail is a switchback trail. First, if you want to venture on this trail, you will have an incredible view of the Mcdowell mountains and the city of Phoenix.The trail is managed and monitored by volunteers from the association
by McDowell Sonoran Conservancy of Scottsdale. However, there is no water at the trailhead, so bring plenty to stay hydrated.
My opinion: It was one of my first trails in Arizona. I found the hike quite complicated but the view is worth it!
#4 BLUE MESA – PETRIFIED FOREST
- Distance: boucle de 1,6 km
- Point de départ: abri solaire Blue Mesa
- Prix : Tarif d’entrée du parc national
Blue Mesa Trail is in Petrified Forest National Park. Once at the starting point, you will find a path that alternates between gravel and tar. There is a steep incline at the start and end, quick but strenuous!
This trail gives you a unique experience of walking among the bluish clay hills as well as petrified wood. Many plant and animal fossils have been discovered by paleontologists in the sedimentary layers of Blue Mesa.
My opinion: This trail is very easy, find yourself facing the immensity of nature and petrified wood. To do absolutely!
#5 SUNRISE TRAIL
- Distance: 8km
- Point de départ: Water fountain, N 145th Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85259
- Prix: Gratuit
Sunrise Trail is a trail located near Fountain Hills. It offers panoramic views at every new bend with a gentle but steady climb. You will reach a stage point at 2 km, beyond which the ascent intensifies. The summit offers varied vistas, including the 4 Peaks Wilderness, Superstition Wilderness, Fountain Hills, South Mountain, Camelback, and the nearby peaks of the McDowell Range.
My opinion: This trail is perfect for intermediate hikers. A bit of a hill at the end and an incredible view awaits you. One of my best discoveries around Phoenix.
#6 West Fork Trail
Intermediate, fun, poetic
Distance: 3km ou 14km
- Durée: 2-3 heures
- Prix: $11 par voiture
There are a number of reasons why West Fork is one of the most popular trails in Coconino National Forest. Once you’ve strolled the pleasant little stream that ripples along the canyon, look up at the towering cliffs towering above it, you’ll fall in love with it. West Fork is fantastic all year round. In the spring, songbirds adorn the trees. In autumn, the canyon is adorned with its most beautiful colors with red and golden leaves floating in transparent pools. In winter, the ice cubes compose with the red rocks. You’ll likely find a new reason to be here with every visit. As for the trail itself, it’s an easy walk, but you have to cross the creek in several places. Usually this involves negotiating a few strategic jumps or taking a few steps through shallow water. The trail is marked and maintained for the first three kilometers.
My opinion: I.N.C.R.O.Y.A.B.L.E, this hike is breathtaking, but beware there is not a lot of parking space so I strongly advise you to get up early!
#7 BRIGHT ANGEL
Long, Incredible, Secure
- Distance: 20km aller-retour
- Durée: 4-5 heures jusqu’au camping
- Price: Grand Canyon Park entrance fee $30 per car
Motivated for your first big hike in the Grand Canyon? So let me introduce you to Bright Angel Trail. It is considered the first hiking trail in the park to have been created. Well maintained, with regular drinking water points and covered huts, this is the safest trail in the Grand Canyon. There is a ranger station located halfway along the trail (Indian Garden) and one at the bottom of the canyon (Bright Angel Campground). In hot weather, I advise you to do this trail because you can find drinking water, regular shade and emergency phones on the way.
My opinion: Definitely a must do if you are looking for a Grand Canyon hike however I don’t recommend doing it in one day! Stop at the campsite for the night.
#8 MOUNT HUMPHREY’S
Très long, élévation, scénique
Distance : 16km
- Durée : 6h
Free (during the winter), they can be obtained on Saturdays and Sundays at the Agassiz Lodge.
Go for the highest peak in Arizona! Discover the Humphrey’s Summit Trail. It starts at the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort at 2845m altitude to the summit which culminates at 3850m. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Watch out for afternoon thunderstorms during the summer months, so it’s best to start your hikes early in the morning.
#9 SALOME JUG
LONG, DIFFICULT, FUN
- Durée: 5/6h
- Prix: Gratuit
The Jug is a course including a long trail as well as a canyoning part. In fact, it includes water slides and a 10m jump from a waterfall at the end. (Warning: if you are not ready to make the final jump, do not venture into the canyon, there is no way back so you have to take your courage with both hands and jump).
Indication : Once you approach the canyon, its entrance is not well marked. In order to start the canyoning part, you have to open the cattle fence that is blocking the trail. Once you reach the recognizable path with its red earth, keep left. this is the entrance to the Canyon. However if you go right, it takes you to the exit of the canyon without going through the aquatic part. Also, both paths take you to the same endpoint. This allows, for example, a group to split up if some want to make the jump and others don’t.
#10 FOSSIL CREEK
LONG | SCENIQUE
- Distance: 6km
- Durée: 3h
- Prix: 6$ ou gratuit hors saison
Bob Bear Trailhead is the name of the trail, but you can easily find the destination by indicating the name of the creek: Fossil Creek. First, the trail is near the town of Strawberry. The trail descends for 6km into the canyon. The trail offers an incredible scenic experience but is steep and extremely hot during the summer. It rewards you with access to one of Arizona’s most spectacular water areas. There is no water or shade for the first 3.75 miles of the trail. The Bob Bear Trail can be accessed via Fossil Creek Road from the town of Strawberry.
However, a permit is required to park your vehicle in the starting area of the trail from April 1 to October 1. Therefore during this season, a maximum of one permit per person per calendar month can be booked (one permit = one day). Permits are available on the first of the month, one month in advance. Permits are not required from October 2 to March 31. My opinion: Incredible hike all the way, once you get to the creek, take time and regain strength. However when you go for a dip, be careful not to jump into the bowl, many have lost their lives. Finally only experienced swimmers will have enough strength to get to the caves below the waterfall.
Finally LEAVE NO TRACE ! This is an aspect that is close to my heart. We see way too much litter around our wonderful trails so I’ll leave you with l’article d’Arizona Dream to learn how to leave no trace behind.