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Arizona Hiking Trails
This site is designed to provide quick, organized access to informative Arizona hiking websites. Hiking enthusiasts like you have created excellent web pages on free web servers -- only to be ignored by search engines. The purpose of this site is to provide a way to find these personal hiking pages, and make your research easier.
- Coconino National Forest Here's the official US Forest Service "Recreation" page for Coconino NF. You have to click on the particular district you're interested in, and that will reveal a full laundry list of trails that you can then click on and find out everything you need to know.
- Fossil Springs Trail (Payson Area) Popular trail in Mogollon Rim country that leads through a canyon with small limestone fossils, mountain spring and swimming hole. Beautiful pine forest environment. Page has a photo, directions, description on the ArizonaHikingTrails.com website.
- General -- AZcentral this is a website maintained by the Arizona Republic newspaper. I've used it myself, and planned to put a link here last summer, then the site got away from me. Fortunately a slackpacker.com user, Peter Buechler, e-mailed me with the link, and these comments which say it all: I use it all of the time, because it
is excellent! It is a guide to all of Arizona, not just Phoenix. The trick is to not just look at the headlines, but use the "find a hike" feature. It lists tons of great hikes all over the state, with a short description. You can then get a more detailed description by clicking on the name of the hike. Check it out!
- General Guide to Bureau of Land Management hikes in Northern AZ/Southern Utah. Paria Canyon, Wire Pass, Coyote Buttes, much more. Good starting guide with descriptions & photos, links to more in-depth info.
- General TheNaturalAmerican.com is more of a "hiker's site" than a "hiking site." It does an excellent job of capturing the essence of the southwest. Everything from hiking narratives to geology to poetry...and best of all, it doesn't stray into the "weird" category. Good site to look at if you're visiting AZ, or anywhere in the southwest, done by Dave & Michele.
- General AZWilderness has over 4500 miles of trails on the database. Hiking Forum, Trail Search, Descriptions, Directions, Photos, Articles, Links to Topo Maps...well done site, growing but is already a must-click. Speaking of must clicks, I gotta remember to tell the webmasters to make those North-South-East-West pictures on the bottom of the homepage into clickable links. I click on them every time, and nothing happens, since they aren't links. Now, there's nothing that says "click here" or anything else that would lead you to believe they are clickable, but I still do it again and again. Anyway, this is a great site by Annette & Rodney. Check it out, really. One of the best AZ hiking trail sites anywhere.
- General This is the online arm of the "Friends Hiking Club" started by Phoenix area resident Bruce Roscoe in 1996. Does numerous outings, has a large and varied membership. Grand Canyon hike, Phoenix area hikes, snowshoeing near Flagstaff...all sorts of activities. Good website, good source of info.
- General here's a pretty close knit online hiking community based in Arizona. Seems to be an interesting site once you get into it, and looks like a great group to get involved with both online and on the trail. If you live in AZ you'll want to look into this site, ArizonaHikers.com.
- Grand Canyon National Park -- Grandview Trail This trail is normally used by hikers to descend to Horseshoe Mesa or those beginning a multi-day trek through the inner canyon. It does not provide "direct" access to the Colorado River.
- Grand Canyon National Park -- Kaibab Trail excellent site by Bob Ribokas with description, photos, distances, links to maps, a lot of helpful information. Really well done and helpful; used this site myself prior to a quick "up & down" to Skeleton Point. (Bring water. As much as you can carry. Then bring a camel to carry extra water.)
- Grand Canyon National Park -- Kaibab Trail not much on specifics but an excellent write-up on what to expect. This is an informative, must-read trail report on a site run by John Crossley.
- Grand Canyon National Park -- South Rim to River Fantastic photos, excellent description of the trails and the experience. Includes the usual trials and tribulations of a rim to river hike (we didn't expect...she felt ill, etc.), but is still an excellent webpage. Kaibab to river to Bright Angel. On the Natural Born Hikers website.
- Havasu Canyon May 2003 Trip narrative by those irrepressible Natural Born Hikers. Outstanding photos to go with their usual well-written and informative hike report. One thing about the Natural Born Hikers, they're always looking fit and trim. And they're always doing hikes in exotic locations. And lest I forget, they always seem to do the long, tough hikes that most of us just don't have the heart for. The kids hike without complaints. Their photos are never blurry. I think they pay homage to the wrong movie. They're more like the Stepford Hikers. Anyway, good page here, check it out.
- Hieroglyphic Canyon great site with photos and very helpful directions to find this difficult to access spot, on ToddsHikingGuide.com.
- Humphreys Peak nice description and photos of a late summer ascent written by Rick Bolger, slackpacker.com's information minister.
- Humphreys Peak a nuts & bolts site; good info, links, etc.
- Humphreys Peak Probably the best site to help plan your climb. Information on weather, trail news, directions, suggestions, webcams...real good stuff here.
- Horton Creek Trail (Payson Area) Arguably the best mid-distance trail for getting a good sense of the history, geology, and forest in Mogollon Rim country. Page has description and trail notes, on the ArizonaHikingTrails.com website.
- Monument Valley Here's a geological field trip by "Indiana Joe" with some excellent text and photos. Not a hiking guide exactly, but a must-click to help you understand the formations of Monument Valley.
- Paria Canyon outstanding overall webpage with photos, trip directions, description and suggestions on americansouthwest.net.
- Paria Canyon -- The Wave Hidden in the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness area is one of the most spectacular rock formations in the entire southwest, and it is called “The Wave”. This remarkable sculptured sandstone sits in the shadow of the Coyote Buttes and is reached, not by trail, but by navigation using landmarks or GPS coordinates. Site by Natural Born Hikers is quite helpful if you are trying to locate this oft-photographed but seldom seen location. Great photos!
- Petrified Forest National Park Honestly don't know why I haven't put a link to this sooner. It's one of my all-time favorite National Parks...can't get enough of the Painted Desert section north of I-40. It's open to back country camping, and I heartily recommend it, one of the most quiet, peaceful evenings I ever spent was in this section of the park back in 1991. Even if you can't do a backpacking thing, it's still worth hiking in at the Painted Desert Inn trailhead. Bring water. Anyway, this long overdue link is to ProTrails.com, lots of info, directions, suggestions, all that stuff.
- Phoenix Area Hiking Trails Roster of easy, moderate, and strenuous trails on a site by Clean Canyons & Forests, Inc. Has the usual suspects: Camelback Mountain, Reavis Canyon, Black Mesa, Bajada Trail, etc. -- plus a few locally-known trails that you won't find in a guidebook.
- Pinnacle Peak Prominent rock feature in North Scottsdale, looks tough but is actually a fairly straightforward climb. Complete description on the East Valley Tribune website.
- Pinnacle Peak Another descriptive page about Pinnacle Peak, this one on the Valley Sentinel website.
- Lake Powell - Wahweap Area Official National Park Service page offering ideas for a few short hikes around the ghastly Glen Canyon Dam. Just think what John Wesley Powell would say if he saw this huge, stagnant lake where the wild river and spectacular canyons used to be. Then imagine what he'd say once he heard the name of the lake. Hmmm. Anyway, there are still some great hikes in the area, despite the fact that we drowned perhaps a million archeological and geological wonders. Really, I don't dislike Lake Powell, I just wish it were somewhere else.
- Saguaro National Park -- Hugh Norris Trail rated as a difficult trail, totals 11 miles roundtrip, longest in the Tucson Mountain district. Another excellent, fun-to-read description with excellent photos on the Natural Born Hikers website.
- Saguaro National Park Guide to the Rincon and Tucson Mountain Districts on ProTrails.com, this is the most exhaustive, intensive, informative trail guide we've found for Saguaro NP, with about 18 as I write this, and I know Dave (he's the ProTrails dude) adds stuff all the time. Saguaro NP...seems strange to write that, known it as a National Monument for such a long time. Now don't get me wrong, I've visited Saguaro and quite like it, but it seems that the National Park Service plays a little fast and loose with full-fledged "park" status these days. Or maybe that's just politicians? Regardless, I just can't see Saguaro in the same light as Grand Canyon. I'm all for protection, sure, and I do recognize the biodiversity of this patch of desert. But what was wrong with the Monument moniker? Whatever you call it, Saguaro has some terrific desert hiking, although I must admit I've only done the short loops. Back to business...another link I recommend on the ProTrails.com website is this Winter Photo Essay of Saguaro NP, which is a rather interesting series of pages with numerous photos of some 30 miles of hiking trails. Hmmm...maybe "park" status isn't such a bad idea after all...
- Saguaro National Park -- Photography Alright, this isn't a hiking link. But for those of us who periodically remember to bring our cameras, this site by Michael Barton is quite informative...articles about digital camera stuff, filters, color density...a lot more high tech than I can be bothered with. Then again, his photos look a lot better than mine. Check out these, from Saguaro NP.
- Sandy's Canyon Trail 1.0 route near Flagstaff, offers a glimpse into Walnut Canyon and views of the San Francisco Peaks. Site by USFS; one of their better ones. Excellent description, locator map.
- Sedona Area Here's an index page with links to longer pages with photos, descriptions & directions for about a dozen key hikes in Sedona. This is followed by a "where-to" for swimming holes, sunsets, all that sort of stuff. It's on the VisionsOfHeaven.com site. Now, we don't normally link to a lot of new age mumbo-jumbo, but this is one darn good website for anyone visiting Sedona.
- Sedona -- Brin's Mesa Trail begins right at the edge of the town of Sedona and is as picturesque as it is convenient. Instead of keeping you tucked away in a deep canyon or clinging to the side of a steep slope as do a lot of other trails in this area, it leads you right out into the open where you can enjoy unobstructed views of the spectacular red rock formations for which the Sedona area and Oak Creek Canyon are famous. USFS Site, one of their best. Good description and locator map. Note: Just wanted to add my own comments on Brin's Mesa, since I've done this hike. If you live nearby, and time is of little consequence, this is a great trail. If you're visiting, this is still a great trail, but you don't have to do the entire length. I suggest hiking up to the top of the mesa (believe me, you'll know) walk around a little up there, then turn around and go back. This, of course, assumes you've accessed the trail from the "town" side, and not from the "other end." Anyway, the jaw-dropping view is seen when you walk down, back toward the town of Sedona, from the top of the mesa. The rest of the trail is interesting of course, but is not an absolute "must" if you are pressed for time.
- Sedona -- West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon 3 mile or 11 mile long route, quite popular, reminiscent in spots of the Virgin River Narrows in Zion National Park. Webpage on AmericanSouthwest.net features photos, description, details.
- South Mountain Park the world's largest municipal park, this 16,500 acre park, a vast, rugged mountain range, is part of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve system. Site features all you need to know, directions, map, trail description, what have you. Surprisingly excellent site by the City of Phoenix.
- Tonto Natural Bridge Mogollon Rim area geological oddity with three very short and relatively easy hiking trails. A beautiful spot shows the paradox of a lush green canyon amidst the high chapparal. State Park website.
- Tucson Area This is a link to the LocalHikes.com website, specifically, the Tucson area page. Only a handful of hikes listed at this point (more soon), but once you click on a specific hike, the meat & potatoes are all there. Good details, directions, maps, photos, all the stuff you need. If you live around Tucson, bookmark this one.
- Tucson Area Laundry list of hikes in Catalina State Park and Sabino Canyon. Nice listing with brief descriptions and directions on TheOutdoorForum.com website.
- Walnut Canyon National Monument NPS site, sketchy info, until we find a better link.
- The Wave • Paria Canyon Area This is that one, oft-photographed spot that everybody wants to visit, but few people actually do. Requires a special permit from the BLM, and they are quite limited (10 per day) due to geological sensitivity of the formation. Anyway, this website by Christopher E. Brennan is the next best thing, with great description and photos.
Standing on a corner...
Three things to know about for your Arizona visit. First, if you happen to drive east of Flagstaff on I-40 (to visit Petrified Forest, etc.) be sure to take the business loop/old Route 66 exit for Winslow. Route 66 is two old, one-way roads, a block apart, in downtown Winslow, so be sure you are eastbound. At the corner of Rt 66 and some other forgotten byway, a bronze statue of Jackson Browne (he wrote the song) is "standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona" with a large painted mural of "a girl my Lord in a flatbed Ford" ...the whole thing is really neat.
Get out, and stand on the corner. Everybody else does. I made my twin 11-year old daughters stand on the corner, and they were positively mortified.
The second recommendation is to take along a copy of Scott S. Warren's 100 Classic Hikes in Arizona. This is a great book no matter what part of the state you're headed for. We only had six days on our most recent visit, and I thought it was indispensible. I was able to talk my daughters into climbing Humphrey's Peak by having them read Mr. Warren's description.
The last tidbit concerns Meteor Crater. I've seen it from the air (spectacular) and from the ground (what a dud). Everybody I know who visits Arizona asks about the Meteor Crater, and I tell them to skip it. They all go anyway. Afterwards they always say, "you were right about the Meteor Crater."
I always thought it was a lot cooler to stand on the corner in Winslow, Arizona.
Please click here for the Slackpacker web site
-- Rick Bolger
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Got kids? Got kids? Recently caught this guy, Brady Rymer, at a show in the northeast. Infectious to say the least, a fun, energetic sing-along type thing had the audience singing and grinning from ear to ear. Now don't ask why, but I bought the CD (my own kids are teenagers) and now I can't get these tunes out of my head. If you've got kids between the ages of 2 and 7 or thereabouts, you'll just love this music. So much better musically and lyrically than the usual drivel recorded for kids, that mind-numbing stuff that drives you nuts. If you don't have kids, you'll have to think up some other excuse for buying it. And when you do, let me know, because my daughters think I'm crazy. Not sure where'd you find it in stores, so here's a direct link to Amazon.com for I Found It! and again, the singer's name is Brady Rymer. Just great stuff, excellent gift for pre-K kids.