What is the Arizona Trail?
The Arizona Trail (AZT) is a rugged and beautifully wild long-distance trail stretching from the borders of Mexico to Utah. Traversing 800 miles, it climbs up and over southern Arizona’s signature sky islands, weaves through extraordinary desert landscapes and mountains, and travels over Arizona’s high country, all before it passes through the iconic Grand Canyon. As a relatively new National Scenic Trail, it gets little attention compared to similar trails such as the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, but offers just as much of a challenge. The AZT travels through nine of Arizona’s eleven different biomes, making the landscape truly diverse over the distance. It’s an adventure unlike any other.
After failing to complete it in 2015, I went back in 2016. I started from scratch and successfully thru-hiked the trail in its entirety. Starting on March 9, I finished on the evening of May 1. A successful crowdfunding campaign was what helped get me there and complete the hike. Part of the campaign’s success was due to my willingness to donate photos taken from the trail back to the Arizona Trail Association. This was designed primarily to help them better protect the scenic resources along the trail.
Arizona Trail Resources
Thinking of hiking the trail? Below I’ve listed a few of the blog posts that I’ve written to help you get going in the right direction. Using these posts, you should be able to get a good idea of where to plan food drops, get a feel for necessary gear based on what I used, and learn from mistakes that I made.
Hopefully my experience helps you to get everything organized a little better than I did.
Also, if you’re as excited as I was about hiking and want to devour every bit of information about it, I managed to write a blog post every night about what I went through and my experiences on the trail. If you want to read it all, you can start with Day 1 here: Day 1: Mexico to Miller Peak Wilderness.
Each day is listed in the blog posts if you’d like to skip around.
My Arizona Trail Route
I logged each day’s route and assigned each one alternating colors of orange and red. This allows you to see my progress along the AZT one day at a time. Check out the map here.
Arizona Trail Photo Galleries
As an award-winning nature photographer, I lugged my Canon 5D Mark III with me to capture the natural beauty along the way. Each gallery is divided into geographic regions. Start browsing!
Arizona Trail Blog Posts
At the end of each day I would write a detailed blog post about what I was experiencing. This will give you a good idea of what I was experiencing and the friends I was making. Read up here.
Once I had returned home and digested the experience, I began to write about it in a series of short stories. This was published as ebook that you can check out here.