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The Arizona Trail is a continuous, 800-mile, diverse and scenic route across Arizona from Mexico to Utah. It links deserts, mountains, canyons, communities and people and was designated a National Scenic Trail in 2009.

arrow Learn more at "Congratulations on Arizona National Scenic Trail milestone"

arrow See "Arizona Trail Association celebrates 20 years of building trail and partnerships"


Diversity of the Arizona Trail beckons travellers worldwide

By Ellen Bilbrey, Public Information Officer, Arizona State Parks


If you are seeking refuge from the constant grind at work, your smart phone, and bosses, it’s time to restart your inner motor and start thinking about the lush deserts, cactus flowers, and bright orange poppies that bloom along Arizona’s trails.

photo of trail through red rock desert

Along the Arizona Trail near the Grand Canyon

Whether you are a casual walker or avid hiker, Arizona offers thousands of miles of trails in the Arizona Trails System from which you can choose various levels of difficulty. When the snow is blowing around the world, Arizona’s balmy weather beckons those seeking exercise and solace in the great outdoors.

One of the most famous National Scenic Trails in America is the diverse and thrilling “Arizona Trail.” This 800-mile trekking extravaganza was a part of a dream by Flagstaff teacher Dale Shewalter who knew that building a trail across Arizona would offer intriguing walks through landscapes of deserts, mountains, and canyons while
linking communities and people.

By creating so many miles of trail Shewalter knew this vision for the Arizona Trail would help preserve and protect the scenic landscapes that these passages traversed. His commitment sets the bar high for other communities in America to encourage their young trails leaders to take on trail building challenges so magnificent they are hard to imagine.

After 25 years, the Arizona Trail has only a few miles left before the copper spike is driven in at the trail’s final link. The Arizona Trail Association plans to celebrate the completion of the final leg in 2012 to coincide with Arizona’s Centennial. Enthusiastic hikers and supporters who have traveled the 43 Arizona Trail passages will meet up for this momentous occasion and you are invited to join them.

If you are looking for your next adventure, the Arizona Trail’s captivating vistas mixed with the gentle slopes and wide trails built by dedicated trail volunteers, will draw you up the breathtaking switchbacks to reach Arizona’s sky island peaks. America needs more Dale Shewalters who can envision how trails will benefit small towns through tourism and how trails protect the open space explorers are desperately seeking for their next vacation. When you top over the next saddle or peak bag another mountain, support the volunteers who maintain those trails by donating your time on a trail project or by joining a trail group like the Arizona Trail Association or American Trails to learn how you can advocate for trails.

If you are someone who savors pristine views when you are highlining across Arizona or stumbling down a trail in a gentle monsoon rain, take the time to ponder how you can add to this adventure for others. As the rains moisten the desert soil and strengthen your soul, the chaparral releases that mystical fragrant smell that wafts around you as you weave your way through cactus fields. That is the moment to reflect and realize your experience that day was created by visionary trail builders… trail builders who always want to hike one more passage, just like you will on the Arizona Trail.

Note: Most hikers don’t challenge the Arizona Trail all at once, they are weekend warriors traveling from around the country to Arizona who tackle a few passages on each vacation.

This year Rotary Clubs of Arizona launched “Hike the Arizona Trail to End Polio” aimed at raising $250,000 by February 14, 2012. They are pledging $100 each to walk, bike, or ride horseback on sections of the 800-mile trail.

For more information...

Learn more about the trail from the the Arizona Trail Association:

Read about the completion ceremony for the Arizona Trail

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