Arizona National Scenic Trail

Arizona Trail Map
Length:813.6 miles
Steps:1,845,794 steps
Burned:104,595 calories (29.9 lbs)
Hiked:Apr 13 to June 3, 2014
Walk Trail!

Arizona is a land of beauty and surprises! You hear about the Grand Canyon and the hot deserts, but many people don't realize that Arizona also has lush forests, huge tracks of grasslands, snow-covered mountains and animals that look like something that came out of Central America. And, yes, the Grand Canyon is pretty darned awesome as well!

Even the notoriously hot deserts are filled with fascinating creatures and incredible wildflower blooms. Much of the state rises far above sea level providing some of the clearest skies for star gazing—it's not a coincidence that Arizona hosts some of the world's best observatories including Kitts Peak and the Lowell Observatory!

And the 800-mile (1,287 km) Arizona Trail runs right through the heart of it from the Mexican border to the Utah border. This footpath is the third national scenic trail to be completed (the other two are the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail), and it links deserts, mountains, forests, canyons, lakes, mining claims, rivers and communities throughout the state. You'll drop as low as 1,650 feet (500 m) above sea level along the Gila River to breath-taking heights of 9,600 feet (2,900 m) above sea level in the San Francisco Peaks.

In a word, Arizona is awesome! And the Arizona National Scenic Trail, or AZT for short, showcases the best of Arizona. It meanders through the Santa Catalina Mountains, over the Mogollon Rim, past the San Francisco Peaks and directly through the heart of the Grand Canyon. You'll run into rattlesnakes and scorpions, but also rabbits, squirrels and elk.

The idea for the trail was originally developed and promoted in 1985 by Dale Shewalter, a Flagstaff fifth-grade school teacher. In 1988, the US Forest Service dedicated the first segment of the Arizona Trail—54 miles just north of the Grand Canyon. In 1994, the Arizona Trail Association formed as a non-profit to promote, build, maintain and protect the Arizona Trail. In 2011, the trail was officially completed linking the Mexican border to the Utah border. And in 2012, Congress officially designated the AZT as a national scenic trail.

Grand Canyon Overlook

The AZT on Walking 4 Fun

Our virtual walk will follow the trail northward from the Mexican border to the Utah border, which is the direction that mileages and guidebooks generally follow. The Arizona Trail Association divides the trail into passages, which more-or-less correspond to the stages found on Walking 4 Fun. In fact, the stage and passage numbers are identical up through stage/passage 32. The trail splits just before Flagstaff with a shorter resupply route running directly through Flagstaff while the main trunk of the Arizona Trail loops around town to the east. We'll stay on the main trunk for our virtual walk.

Because of this split, our path skips passage 33 (the resupply route) and runs straight from passage 32 (stage 32) into passage 34 (stage 33). After that, the stage numbers will be one less than the corresponding passage number. Which isn't really important to know for a virtual walk, but for those of you familiar with the passages and want to know why the stages don't match up with passages after passage 32, that's the reason.

You'll also find another stage that has no corresponding passage at all—the very last one. The Arizona Trail ends at the Utah border, but it ends at the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument and a mere 30-minute walk away from Wire Pass Trailhead. This trailhead leads into the world-famous Coyote Buttes (home of the famous Wave formation) and Buckskin Gulch (the longest and deepest slot canyon in America). Seeing as we're in the area, it would be a crime not to visit such a spectacular area! So the last stage continues a short ways into Utah to explore these Vermilion Cliffs a bit. We've come so far already—what's another few miles between friends?

 Stage NameLength
(miles)
Position
(miles)
1.Huachuca Mountains21.30.0 → 21.3
2.Canelo Hills: East14.521.3 → 35.8
3.Canelo Hills: West16.535.8 → 52.3
4.Temporal Gulch22.252.3 → 74.5
5.Santa Rita Mountains13.374.5 → 87.8
6.Las Colinas13.387.8 → 101.1
7.Las Cienegas13.0101.1 → 114.1
8.Rincon Valley17.8114.1 → 131.9
9.Rincon Mountains21.6131.9 → 153.5
10.Redington Pass15.6153.5 → 169.1
11.Santa Catalina Mountains11.6169.1 → 180.7
12.Oracle Ridge22.4180.7 → 203.1
13.Oracle8.0203.1 → 211.1
14.Black Hills28.5211.1 → 239.6
15.Tortilla Montains28.3239.6 → 267.9
16.Gila River Canyons24.8267.9 → 292.7
17.Alamo Canyon11.5292.7 → 304.2
18.Reavis Canyon18.6304.2 → 322.8
19.Superstition Wilderness29.9322.8 → 352.7
20.Four Peaks19.3352.7 → 372.0
21.Pine Mountain19.8372.0 → 391.8
22.Saddle Mountain15.9391.8 → 407.7
23.Mazatzal Divide21.9407.7 → 429.6
24.Red Hills14.3429.6 → 443.9
25.Whiterock Mesa11.4443.9 → 455.3
26.Hardscrabble Mesa12.0455.3 → 467.3
27.Highline19.3467.3 → 486.6
28.Blue Ridge16.0486.6 → 502.6
29.Happy Jack30.7502.6 → 533.3
30.Mormon Lake34.3533.3 → 567.6
31.Walnut Canyon18.1567.6 → 585.7
32.Elden Mountain13.9585.7 → 599.6
33.San Francisco Peaks36.7599.6 → 636.3
34.Babbitt Ranch25.4636.3 → 661.7
35.Coconino Rim18.7661.7 → 680.4
36.Grand Canyon - South Rim23.4680.4 → 703.8
37.Grand Canyon - Inner Gorge20.9703.8 → 724.7
38.Grand Canyon - North Rim12.5724.7 → 737.2
39.Kaibab Plateau South21.5737.2 → 758.7
40.Kaibab Plateau Central17.3758.7 → 776.0
41.Kaibab Plateau North16.8776.0 → 792.8
42.Buckskin Mountain10.8792.8 → 803.6
43.Extra Credit: Vermilion Cliffs10.0803.6 → 813.6
Mexican border monument
Arizona Trail @0.3 miles
Mexican border monument
Total lunar eclipse!
Arizona Trail @24.3 miles
Total lunar eclipse!
Moonrise
Arizona Trail @46.8 miles
Moonrise
Arizona Trail @76.8 miles
Prickly pear bloom
Arizona Trail @90.7 miles
Prickly pear bloom
Colossal Cave
Arizona Trail @125.1 miles
Colossal Cave
Arizona Trail @134.6 miles
Honey bee!
Arizona Trail @174.1 miles
Honey bee!
Sunset on Oracle Ridge
Arizona Trail @195.5 miles
Sunset on Oracle Ridge
Fishhook cactus
Arizona Trail @205.2 miles
Fishhook cactus
Desert globe mallow
Arizona Trail @222.9 miles
Desert globe mallow
Desert Four O'Clocks
Arizona Trail @250.0 miles
Desert Four O'Clocks
Saguaro blooms
Arizona Trail @286.0 miles
Saguaro blooms
Roosevelt Lake Marina
Arizona Trail @348.3 miles
Roosevelt Lake Marina
Saguaro forest!
Arizona Trail @358.0 miles
Saguaro forest!
Fording Sycamore Creek
Arizona Trail @389.1 miles
Fording Sycamore Creek
Snake! Snake!
Arizona Trail @398.7 miles
Snake! Snake!
Arizona Trail @423.7 miles
Arizona Trail @440.5 miles
Mogollon Rim
Arizona Trail @462.2 miles
Mogollon Rim
General Springs Cabin
Arizona Trail @487.4 miles
General Springs Cabin
Arizona Trail @519.4 miles
Trail closure!
Arizona Trail @545.1 miles
Trail closure!
Prairie dog!
Arizona Trail @594.2 miles
Prairie dog!
Snow covered mountains!
Arizona Trail @612.8 miles
Snow covered mountains!
Yum! Water!
Arizona Trail @651.5 miles
Yum! Water!
Elk in Tusayan!
Arizona Trail @692.5 miles
Elk in Tusayan!
Arizona Trail @705.8 miles
Galahad Fire
Arizona Trail @732.8 miles
Galahad Fire
Crane Lake
Arizona Trail @755.4 miles
Crane Lake
Arizona Trail @761.5 miles
Hedgehog cactus
Arizona Trail @779.6 miles
Hedgehog cactus
Ant hill
Arizona Trail @796.3 miles
Ant hill
Coyote Buttes
Arizona Trail @807.1 miles
Coyote Buttes
Valid CSS!