Highway 12 in Southern Utah Road Trip

Highway 12 in Southern Utah

Highway 12 in southern Utah is a breathtaking journey past some of southern Utah’s most picturesque features, including Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, and Capitol Reef National Park. The highway explores high desert rock formations, historic sites, badlands, and aspen forests high in the mountains through …

How to Train for the Arizona Trail

Mesquite Trees Below Rocky Hill

Rule #1: Do not start the trail without any training. The Arizona Trail thru-hike will test you in ways you never anticipated, so your physical condition should be the least of your worries. Without proper training, you will succumb to injuries, as well as the possibility of not reaching water sources or food quickly enough. It’s important to get that …

Essential Gear for the Arizona Trail

Northern Arizona Cinder Cones

Now that I’ve finally finished adding photos from the Arizona Trail to my website, I can now focus on other tasks. One such task is this blog post, a list of gear that I found invaluable and/or highly useful on the trail. Note that some links may be affiliate links, but I was not approached by any company to write …

National Trail to San Juan Lookout

Cholla Cactus and Mountains

Distance: 1.7 miles (one way) Difficulty: Easy Best time of year: Fall, Winter, Spring Last hiked: 2016 March At the western end of the South Mountains is the San Juan Lookout. It can be accessed via the road system or a short hike along the National Trail. At the western end of the trail, it peters out into a widening …

Angel’s Palace

Angel's Palace Trail

Distance: 1.7 miles (round trip) Difficulty: Easy, but some route-finding possible Best time of year: Fall, Winter, Spring Last hiked: 2016 May The Angel’s Palace Trail is a short and sweet hike, showing off some outstanding views in Kodachrome Basin State Park. The trail is mostly easy-going and makes great use of slickrock at its higher points. This gives it …

Aa Flow Trail

Sunset Above Hiking Trail

Distance: 0.2 miles (one way) Difficutly: Simple Best time of year: Spring, Summer, Fall Last hiked: 2016 February The Aa Flow Trail (not a typo – pronounced: AH-ah) is a quick and easy 0.2 miles round trip. It starts at the same parking area as the Lenox Crater Trailhead, and then weaves through a lava field from one end of …

Panorama Trail

Sandstone Canyon

Distance: 6.6 miles Difficulty: Easy or Moderate Best time of year: Fall, Winter, Spring Last hiked: 2016 May The Panorama Trail starts off easily enough, winding through junipers and pinyon pine trees past large sandstone buttes. All of these lie below the signature Entrada Formation of sandstone walls for which Kodachrome Basin State Park is named. The trail gives hikers …

Upper Escalante River Alcove

Hiker in Sandstone Alcove

Distance: 3 miles (one way) Difficulty: Easy Best time of year: Fall, Spring Last hiked: 2016 May The Upper Escalante River Alcove is a great alternative to the increasingly popular Hole-in-the-Rock Road. The out-of-the-way trail brings you into a landscape like something right out of Zion National Park. You follow a healthy desert river through an enormous sandstone canyon with …

Spooky Slot Canyon

Slot Canyon Abstract

Distance: 1.2 miles (one way – to Spooky) Difficulty: Easy, but tight spaces and some scrambling Best time of year: Fall, Winter, Spring Last hiked: 2016 May There’s a great loop that connects Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon to Spooky Slot Canyon, which was my original plan for a hike. As it turns out, ascending into Peek-A-Boo Slot can be very tricky …

Wire Pass

Hiker Admiring Slot Canyon

Distance: 1.8 miles (one way) Difficulty: Easy, but a few hurdles Best time of year: Fall, Spring Last hiked: 2016 May I knew there was rain in the forecast, but I had also never really poked into any slot canyons in the Vermillion Cliffs area. Since I was nearby having just come off the Arizona Trail, I wanted to change …

Kiwanis Trail to Ranger Trail Loop

Barrel Cactus in Desert Mountains

Distance: 4.6 miles Difficulty: Moderate Best time of year: Fall, Winter, Spring Last hiked: 2016 March The Kiwanis Trail has a fair amount of sentimental value for me. Aside from a single road trip just before I moved out west for the first time in 2004, the Kiwanis Trail in South Mountain Park was the first trail I ever went …

Mormon to Geronimo Trail Loop

Geronimo Trail

Distance: 6 miles (loop) Difficulty: Moderate Best time of year: Fall, Winter, Spring Last hiked: 2016 February From the urban confines of Phoenix, the South Mountains don’t look terribly impressive, nor even very inviting. A hike into the mountains, however, reveals a fascinating desert environment with surprising seclusion from the constant roar of city noise. As the country’s largest urban …

Lava Flow Trail

Sunset Crater and Pines

Distance: 1.5 miles Difficulty: Easy Best time of year: Spring, Summer, Fall Last hiked: 2016 February The Lava Flow Trail can be accessed from two different locations. One is a parking area from the main road, another is from the Lenox Crater Trail just to the west. Lava Flow Trail Description Heading over from the Lenox Crater Trail, the walk …

Two Bit Peak

Scottsdale from Phoenix Mountains

Distance: 1.5 miles (one way) Difficulty: Strenuous Best time of year: Fall, Winter, Spring Last hiked: 2016 March Two Bit Peak, formerly known as Peak 2429, is a rugged and adventurous scramble up to outstanding views of the northern Phoenix area. Views stretch out in all directions, rivaled only by nearby Piestawa Peak and Camelback Mountain. The best part is, …

Lenox Crater

Evergreens in Lava Field

Distance: 1.5 miles Difficulty: Moderate Best time of year: Spring, Summer, Fall Last hiked: 2016 February Lenox Crater Trail Description The Lenox Crater Trail starts off along the main road across from its parking area. From there, it immediately begins ascending about 300 feet through a ponderosa pine forest. These grand, majestic trees grow right out of the volcanic lava …