The Ultimate Arizona Hiking Guide
Headed to the beautiful Grand Canyon State? You would be cheating yourself out of the Arizona experience if you didn't do at least ONE hike. I also don't mean nature walks or lookout points... I mean multiple miles and elevation gain, baby!
Here are a few MUST do hikes when visiting the Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sedona, Flagstaff, and Page area rated from easy - difficult with mileage + elevation gain:
Phoenix and Scottsdale
While phoenix is mostly known for the city, museums, shopping, food, and resorts, there are also a few hikes and natural hidden gems close by.
First on our list is Piestewa Peak, located within the phoenix mountain preserve, it is the second highest peak after Camelback mountain. According to All Trails, this trek is 2.1 miles with an elevation gain of 1,148 feet and is rated difficult for the quick gain in elevation. I did this hike at sunset and ate Chipotle at the top... 10/10 experience.
You can see Camel Back mountain in this photo!
Another hike in the phoenix/Scottsdale area is the famous Camel Back Mountain, located just 20 minutes from downtown Phoenix. You can see Camel Back Mountain from Piestewa Peak! Camel back Mountain is a 2.5 mile out and back trail with 1,400 feet of elevation gain. This is a pretty difficult hike due to the quick elevation gain and some rock climbing mixed in. This hike takes around 2 hours to complete and offer great views of the city.
Sedona is absolutely gorgeous and a must do when coming to Arizona. Amidst the vortex and pink jeep tours, there some incredible hikes you can't miss. Cathedral Rock is one of the best. Only 740 feet of elevation gain and 1.2 miles, this is a pretty quick, hour long hike, with great views of the gorgeous red rocks in Sedona. This hike is pretty popular, and like all places in Arizona, it can get hot QUICK. So get up early and beat the crowds as the main and overflow parking lot can fill up quickly.
A hidden gem, and more of a hang out/swimming hole is Slide Rock State Park. While there are hikes and nature walks at this state park, this swimming area is the highlight for me. Bring a few cold beers, a sandwich, and take a dip on a hot day? YES PLEASE. You can get some great content for the gram here too ;)
A nice leisure hike/walk is West Fork Trail. This trail is an 8 mile out and back train but can be hiked for as long as you'd like. This trail reminded me of Kings Canyon National Park and Zion! The lushes green in contrast to the gorgeous red rocks with a stream running in the middle? You really can't get more relaxing than this.
Seven Sacred Pools trail in Sedona offers several different routes. Specifically Seven Sacred Pools via Soldier Pass to Brins Mesa Loop is a 5 mile loop with less than 1,000 feet of elevation gain. This is a pretty popular hike and the parking lots fill up quick, so there is a shuttle: HERE is the blog post I used for the shuttle service.
Mount Humphreys Peak is a difficult 10.7 mile hike in Flagstaff, Arizona with an elevation gain of almost 3,400 feet. While this trek can take a good 6 hours, it is one of the most scenic hikes you can do in AZ. You can even see the Grand Canyon from the peak!
Page and Grand Canyon
Page, Arizona is home of the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe bend and Antelope Canyon.
Horseshoe Bend is a quick, 1.5 mile out and back trail that takes you to the lookout point of the bend. It costs $10 to enter the park and can get pretty crowded. The trail takes about 15-20 minutes each way. Dogs are allowed and there are no water stations around, so be sure to pack a water bottle.
The Upper Antelope Canyon can only be explored with a tour guide and can cost between $75-100. The tour takes around 2 hours with round trip transportation and is pretty incredible. This experience is not so much a hike but more of a tour. Your tour guide will also give you some tips on how to best photograph the canyon so you can capture the different layers on the rock. I would suggest going in the morning so the light hits the canyon walls juuuuuust right.
There are over 100 trails in the Grand Canyon that you could explore. I have two suggestions for moderate/quick hikes on the north rim:
South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point is a 1.8 mile hike with less than 700 feet of elevation gain. This is a great hike to avoid some of the crowd at the top of the lookout point.
Another popular trail is the Three-Mile Rest house via Bright Angel Trail. This semi-difficult, 6 mile hike is an out and back and has around 2,000 feet of elevation gain. There are restrooms and water stations early on in the trail with a little bit of shade sprinkled throughout. Pack extra water and get an early start as this trail can get a little crowded and hot!
While there are SO many hikes I did not cover, these are a few of my favorites + one's I have done.
End up doing one of these suggested hikes? Tag me on instagram and follow along for more of my adventures!