Posted on 7 May
Arizona is home to some of the most spectacular wilderness in the west, from breathtaking sandstone canyons to forested creeks. With the spring season upon us, here are some of The Agency’s favorite hiking trails throughout Arizona.
WEST FORK TRAIL - Touted as one of the best trails in Arizona and among the best in the U.S., this beloved, dog-friendly hiking spot in Sedona is perfect for trailblazers of all ages and skill levels. Approximately six miles round trip, the trail is highlighted by at least 13 stream crossings, complete with stepping stones and fallen logs. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is an enchanting pool of water surrounded by majestic cliffs. Care to stay overnight? The more adventurous can continue the journey by swimming across the pool and traipsing another 11 miles upstream (boulder-hopping and some light swimming required).
TOM’S THUMB TRAIL - From its challenging grade to its stunning desert panoramas, Tom’s Thumb is among the most popular trails in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The five-mile-long trail takes hikers through a series of challenging ascents, through shallow caves and corridors that reveal mesmerizing views of Elephant Mountain and the peaks of Tonto National Forest, culminating in breathtaking mountain vistas at approximately 300 feet.
FOSSIL CREEK - Boasting the clearest water of any swimming hole in Arizona, this popular recreation spot is at its prime in spring and summer, when locals flock to the area to hike, birdwatch and wade in the warm creek. One of only two Wild and Scenic rivers in Arizona, the area is surprisingly lush and forested in contrast to the arid desert that surrounds. Fossil Creek is accessible via car, however, a strenuous 4-mile hike is our preferred path, followed by a well-deserved dip in the water.
ANTELOPE CANYON - One of the most popular—and Instagrammed—destinations in the southwest, this majestic wonderland of slot canyons near Lake Powell is located on Navajo lands and can only be visited by guided tour. From its otherworldly light beams to its swirling canyon walls, Antelope is a must-see. Tour companies will arrange transportation to the sights, and lead explorers through the otherworldly formations, explaining the canyon’s rich history and geology along the way.
CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN - With an elevation of 2,704 feet, Camelback Mountain is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Scottsdale and easily accessible from its central location in Phoenix Valley. Outdoor enthusiasts may choose between the intense Echo Canyon climb or slightly less daunting Chola Trail—each affording breathtaking views of Scottsdale and Phoenix.