Top 14 Hiking Trails in Arizona

Devil's Bridge Sedona Arizona

Arizona, best known for its iconic desert landscape, is perhaps one of the best place in the world to go hiking.  Beautiful scenery, breathtaking views, and even archeological sites open to the public await you if you choose Arizona as your hiking destination.

There are so many hiking trails here it’d be hard to count them all and in turn it can be difficult to just pick one, so this list of the best hiking trails Arizona has to offer should hopefully help you make your decision.  Read on, and you will learn which trails are beginner-friendly, what supplies and equipment you should bring for each trail, and anything else you need to know to make your choice!

Note:  While the information in this article is accurate at the time of writing, trail services, especially access to clean drinking water, are often seasonal.  Recommended supplies can also vary quite a bit by season.  Always check for up to date information before arriving at your trail!

Bright Angel Trail

On-Site FacilitiesYes
Day Trip or Multi-Day?Multi-day
Recommended SuppliesClean drinking water, Sun protection, Food
Distance12 miles (total)
Other AttractionsStunning views of the Grand Canyon, Phantom Ranch Lodge
Bright Angel Trail
View from Bright Angel Trail

The Bright Angel Trail is the first on this list, because frankly, it’s the one nobody should miss.  Not only does it offer spectacular views of the Grand Canyon, but it’s also one of the more accessible trails.

According to The National Park Service, Bright Angel Trail is given priority for services, making it the most accessible and convenient trail in the Grand Canyon.  These services include multiple Ranger stations, rest-stops along the trail, and clean drinking water.  Additionally, the trail is considered to be particularly shady, which is very helpful for summer hiking.

Though there are other ways to hike the Bright Angel Trail, the most common is to hike to the canyon floor on the first day, camp and the Bright Angel Campground overnight, and then hike back up the next day.  Remember, the hike uphill will be more strenuous, so budget your time and energy accordingly.

Typical of Bright Angel Trail’s status as the Grand Canyon’s flagship trail, the Bright Angel Campground is very well maintained.  

Amenities include a dedicated ranger’s station, modern plumbing, and even the Phantom Ranch Lodge.  At the Lodge, you can get a beer and soft drinks, as well as prepared meals if you order in advance.  

If you’ve never hiked in Arizona before, Bright Angel Trail is the obvious place to start.  It takes you on a scenic journey through Arizona’s most well-known natural landmark. It is extremely well maintained, and has as many services and amenities as anyone could expect during a hike.   Here’s another article that gives some additional advice for hiking Bright Angel Trail.

Badger Springs Trail

On-Site FacilitiesNo
Day Trip or Multi-Day?Day Trip
Recommended SuppliesLots of clean drinking water, Sun protection
Other AttractionsRuins and cave art thousands of years old

Located off of the I-17 in the scenic Agua Fria National Monument, the Badger Springs Trail is rich in wildlife, which unfortunately includes many rattlesnakes.  However, unlike many other trails and parks, the primary draw of the Badger Springs trail are its many archeological sites.

From cave art depicting humans to glorious stone ruins, if you’re interested in prehistory, you absolutely cannot afford to miss the Badger Springs Trail.  These sites are still, for the most part, open to the public, but there have been reports of vandalism and looting.  

As such, it goes without saying that these sites are of vital historical importance and should be treated with care and respect.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, this trail is very open-ended, meaning that you can pretty much follow it as long or as briefly as you want to.  

In other words, it’s important to get a good idea of how far you want to hike before starting the Badger Springs Trail because you want to know when to turn around.

Finally, one should take care of this trail as there are no on-site facilities, including medical facilities.  The terrain is rocky and uneven, so step carefully to avoid injuring yourself.  Even minor injuries can be potentially dangerous when you’re so far from medical attention!

That being said, The Badger Springs Trail is only forty miles from Phoenix.  This makes it a good option for those visiting from out of state, as it’s accessible from a major travel hub!

Apache Fire, Red Rock State Park

On-Site FacilitiesYes
Day Trip or Multi-Day?Daytrip
Recommended SuppliesClean drinking water, spending money
DistanceLess than a mile
Other AttractionsAccessible to children, a historically significant landmark

In Sedona, AZ, there is another trail with historical significance! The Apache Fire trail in Red Rock State Park offers a view of the family home of Jack Frye, an airline tycoon of the 1940s.  However, unlike Badger Springs, this trail is considered significantly easier and suitable for children.

Unfortunately, the home is no longer open to the public, but it is visually stunning even from the outside.  Since the trail is so short, the Apache Fire trail is a great way to give your family a small dose of history without tuckering them out too much.

Red Rock Park is very well developed, as it’s visitor center not only has restrooms and a gift shop but an entire movie theatre!  Additionally, guided tours are available on a schedule, including birdwatching tours and nature walks.  

Much like the rest of the park, the Apache Fire trail is quite well taken care of.  A lot of care has been put into maintaining the trails to make them as family-friendly as possible.  

Expect to see well-defined dirt paths, sometimes even flanked by stones or bricks to make them as easy to identify as possible.  Combined with the relatively short distance, this should be a breeze for any family.

Finally, the short distance doesn’t have to be a hindrance. Red Rock State Park and surrounding has a plethora of other trails of similar quality. Some, like Eagle’s Nest, are even directly connected to the Apache Fire trail.  

Feel free to customize your family’s experience based on their endurance, as well as your younger family member’s attention spans. 

Arizona Trail Loop, Oracle State Park

On-Site FacilitiesYes
Day Trip or Multi-Day?Daytrip
Recommended SuppliesClean drinking water, sun protection
DistanceSix Miles
Other AttractionsOn-site museum, Part of the famous Arizona Trail
Nature Trail Loop in Oracle Park

The Arizona Trail is an 800-mile juggernaut meant to capture all of the natural beauty Arizona has to offer.  If you’re excited to see some of that splendor but aren’t quite up for an 800-mile jaunt, Oracle State Park offers an option to let you see some of this American landmark.

The Arizona Trail loops start on a different trail, called the Nature Loop Trail.  However, you can turn off of it onto the Arizona Trail for a while until you are ready to complete the loop.  The trip is about six miles and is more than enough to get a sense of the famous Arizona Trail.

Oracle State Park is well known for its wildlife, and on the trail, you may encounter javelinas, white-tailed deer, and even mountain lions!  Additionally, guided birdwatching tours are offered, where you may get the chance to see a great horned owl.

Oracle State Park has a great many hiking trails, but did you know there is also a museum on-site?  The beautiful and uniquely designed Kannally Ranch house is thought to have been built around 1930 and is open to the public for walking tours, as well as housing The Oracle State Park Center for Environmental Education. 

Overall, The Arizona Trail Loop is a great way to dip your toe in the water of one of the largest hiking trails in America, and while you’re there, the rest of Oracle State Park is available for you to check out!

South Kaibab Trail

On-Site FacilitiesYes
Day Trip or Multi-Day?Daytrip
Recommended SuppliesClean drinking water, sun protection
DistanceFourteen Miles
Other AttractionsScenic Views of the Grand Canyon

Here’s a great alternative to the Bright Angel Trail if you’re not up to camping overnight.  At fourteen miles, the South Kaibab Trail is quite a hike for one day but very much doable if you have the stamina.

Like the Bright Angel Trail, the South Kaibab Trail features breathtaking vantage points to view the Grand Canyon, as well as quite a few opportunities to experience nature. You’re not going to find more beauty in a day trip than this.

Though the South Kaibab trail doesn’t quite have the facilities of the Bright Angel campground, it’s still considered very well maintained.  However, it is extremely important to note that clean drinking water is not available after the entrance.  Combined with the fact that Kaibab is considerably less shady than the Bright Angel Trail, you’re going to want to bring about as much bottled water as you can carry.

Finally, The National Park Service recommends you budget your time well.  The first part of the hike is downhill, and it’s easy to forget that you’ll be going back up on the way back!  Always pace yourself, and remember that the second part of your journey will be much harder than the first.

Devil’s Bridge Trail

On-Site FacilitiesNo
Day Trip or Multi-Day?Daytrip
Recommended SuppliesClean drinking water, sun protection
Distance1.8 miles (total)
Other AttractionsThe largest Sandstone arch in Arizona
Hiking to Devil's Bridge in Sedona Arizona
Hiking up the mountain towards Devil’s Bridge

One of our personal favorites, located near Sedona, and named for the gigantic sandstone arch it leads to, the Devil’s Bridge Trail is considered one of the easier trails to hike in Arizona. Don’t worry; just because it’s a relatively easy hike doesn’t mean it skimps on an excellent view.

At 1.8 miles, the hike isn’t too difficult.  However, it’s worth noting that you will be climbing in elevation, and the terrain can sometimes be rocky or uneven.  However, the trail is considered very well-maintained, and the borders of the path are obvious.

One of the minor drawbacks to this trail is the lack of on-site facilities.  However, since it’s such a short hike, it shouldn’t be much trouble to bring enough supplies, especially clean drinking water.

Devil’s Bridge trail is popular for a reason.  Short, simple, and really beautiful, it’s the perfect trail for a beginning hiker, as well as amateur photographers!

Piestewa Peak Summit Trail

On-Site FacilitiesYes
Day Trip or Multi-Day?Daytrip
Recommended SuppliesClean drinking water, sun protection
Distance1.2 miles 
Other AttractionsAn absolutely spectacular view of Phoenix at the summit

The Piestewa Peak Summit Trail is perhaps the most famous trail on this list, and for a good reason.  Not only is its location near Phoenix very convenient, but it also rewards those who scale the summit with an absolutely incredible view of the city.

That being said, as you are technically climbing a mountain, the terrain is considered extremely challenging.  Though you won’t have to do any actual rock climbing, the path is very steep in some areas and very uneven in others.

Fortunately for anyone looking to get an incredible view, the difficulty of the terrain is somewhat offset by the length of the trail.  At only 1.2 miles, you aren’t going very far.  Make no mistake, you should budget your time generously, as that 1.2 miles will be slow going, but it could certainly be a lot worse.

Overall, the Piestewa Peak Summit Trail is recommended to anybody who thinks they are capable of it.  That is to say, this is the sort of trail recommended to hikers who consider themselves quite experienced.  If you do make the cut, this trail is close to a major travel hub, relatively short, and offers an incomparable view.  What else could you ask for?

Hieroglyphic Trail

On-Site FacilitiesNo
Day Trip or Multi-Day?Daytrip
Recommended SuppliesClean drinking water, sun protection
Distance1.5 miles 
Other AttractionsCacti, giant saguaros, ancient petroglyphs, chuckwalla lizards(harmless)

Another one of our own personal favorites is the Hieroglyphic Trail, located in the Superstition Mountains, easily wins the award for this list’s coolest name.  Even better, this is a short, relatively easy trail with some beautiful views, vegetation and incredible archeological sites.

The terrain is considered extremely well suited to hiking.  Though some parts are a bit uneven and rocky, for the most part, you’re going to be walking on level, solid ground.  1.5 miles is pretty short, but keep in mind that this is a one-way trail.  You’ll need to come back the way you came, so that’s a three-mile round trip. 

The trail is covered in a variety of cacti, strange-looking but iconic plants, creating some very appealing views.  Additionally, some of the rockier areas once you arrive at the end of the trail may contain seasonal pools.  These pools are usually active in the spring and the summer.

Finally, the petroglyphs that give Hieroglyphic Trail its name are thousands of years old, made by Hohokam Indians.  These petroglyphs contain images of both human and animal forms and are absolutely stunning to behold.

Overall, if you want a short, relaxing hike through a treasure trove of historical and natural sites, Hieroglyphic Trail is your best bet.

Freeman Homestead Trail, Saguaro National Park

On-Site FacilitiesYes
Day Trip or Multi-Day?Daytrip
Recommended SuppliesClean drinking water, sun protection
DistanceOne Mile
Other AttractionsGigantic Saguaro Cacti, Great Horned Owls, Children’s Education
Sunset in Saguaro National Park

Unlike other trails aimed at families on this list, the Freeman Homestead Trail, located in scenic Saguaro National Park, is a bit more challenging.  Make no mistake, the trails are clearly marked and well maintained, and shouldn’t be much of a challenge. It’s just worth noting the difference between Freeman Homestead trail and other family-based trails like Apache Fire.

The trail is a bit longer than trails meant for families with very young children, as well as having fewer facilities on site.  However, for older children of age ten to twelve, and maybe even younger teenagers, this may help them avoid feeling babied.  

The trail also boasts many educational activities aimed at children.  In other words, the Freeman Homestead Trail is less a trail designed for children and families and more a trail that accommodates them.

The trail is great for anybody, family or not.  Hikers get plenty of opportunities to witness the giant Saguaro cacti for which the park gets its name, in addition to plenty of wildlife.  If you’re looking to spot a Great Horned Owl, this is a particularly good spot to try.

Saguaro National park has two visitor’s centers with all the facilities you would expect, including flush toilets and information about the park.  They also have water fountains, but be warned that the park does not sell bottled water to avoid littering, nor are there any water fountains along the trail.  

Even though there are water fountains at the visitor’s center, it is very important to bring your water for the trail.

Havasupai Falls Trail

On-Site FacilitiesYes
Day Trip or Multi-Day?Multiday
Recommended SuppliesClean drinking water, sun protection
DistanceTen miles
Other AttractionsStunning view of Havasupai Falls, Native American town complete with a general store and rodeo

The last Grand Canyon trail on this list and probably the toughest one to hike.  According to the Havasupai Tribe’s Website, the trail is subject to flash floods, contains uneven terrain, and overall not recommended for children.

This is just as well because the Havasupai Falls Trail is the first trail on this list where days trips aren’t just not recommended. They are expressly banned.  If you hike the Havasupai Falls Trail, you must stay at the campground overnight.  To do so, make sure you make a reservation with the tribe far ahead of time as once they open reservations for the year, they go fast!

Hopefully, you aren’t scared off by this because the rewards for making this trek are quite worth it.  First, the Havasupai Falls, the waterfall for which the trail is named, really is something else.  Known for its sparkling blue water, the falls truly are one of the most photogenic landmarks on earth.

Additionally, at the end of the trail is a Native American town.  They sell souvenirs and food, though you should be careful not to buy too much for your family and friends back home.  Remember, all this stuff has to make the trip back tomorrow!  The town also boasts a rodeo, with real bulls!

Overall, the hike is definitely difficult.  Make sure you have a lot of experience with hiking before taking something like this on, but if you can get through it, the rewards are extraordinary.

Hunter Trail, Picacho Peak State Park

On-Site FacilitiesYes
Day Trip or Multi-Day?Day Trip
Recommended SuppliesClean drinking water, sun protection, gloves, durable hiking boots
DistanceTwo Miles
Other AttractionsView from the peak, a good challenge
Picacho Peak

Here’s another tough trail for those of you out there looking for a challenge.  The Hunter Trail takes you to the namesake of its park, Picacho Peak.  While the view is rewarding, the climb results in terrain that is steep, rocky, and uneven.

In fact, the terrain on the Hunter Trail is so steep. A steel cable was installed on the trail for people to grab onto and help themselves up to the peak. You’re going to be grateful for the cable, but you’ll also want to bring gloves.  The cable, as mentioned before, is steel, so not only will it be rough on your hands, but the cable will often be very hot after baking in the sun!

In terms of facilities, Picacho Peak is fairly well developed at the trailhead.  The visitor’s center is flanked by picnic tables and a playground.  Even though there is a park store, you should always bring clean drinking water with you just in case.

Mojave Sunset Trail, Lake Havasu State Park

On-Site FacilitiesYes
Day Trip or Multi-Day?Day Trip
Recommended SuppliesClean drinking water, sun protection, swimsuit
Distance1.5 Miles
Other AttractionsView of the lake, beach/swimming

Here’s something different for a hiking trip, how about a day at the beach?  The Mojave Sunset Trail, located in Lake Havasu state park, is a relaxing hike fun for the whole family.  The trail is well taken care of, visibly marked, and mostly level.  Even better, you’ll get a gorgeous view of Lake Havasu along the way.

Easily the best part of this trail is its proximity to Lake Havasu.  Going for a nice walk is a great way to start or end a day at the beach, and Lake Havasu does have designated swimming areas, so you and your family can enjoy some summer fun as well as a hike!

Additionally, if you’re into other aquatic activities, fishing and boating are allowed on the lake.  Always make sure to check the website to make sure you have the relevant licenses and equipment.

Finally, as if the beach the trail weren’t enough, Lake Havasu State Park also has an on-site museum!  The exhibits are mostly rotating, but the focus is generally on modern American history.  If you’re not too tired from running around outside, you might want to stop by and learn something!

Buckskin Loop Trail, Buckskin Mountain National Park  

On-Site FacilitiesYes
Day Trip or Multi-Day?Day Trip
Recommended SuppliesClean drinking water, sun protection, a comfortable mat, waterproof footwear
DistanceOne Mile
Other AttractionsVaried vegetation

The Buckskin Loop Trail, located in Buckskin Mountain National Park, is fairly standard.  The short distance makes up for some patches of difficult terrain, as well as numerous benches that allow you to rest.

The biggest draw of the trail is the varied vegetation.  The local ranger’s station offers pamphlets describing the plant life you might encounter.  This trail is especially beautiful during the spring when the wildflowers bloom. 

Even better, like Lake Havasu National Park, Buckskin Mountain National Park also has access to swimming, fishing, and boating.  However, the nearby body of water is the Colorado River, so there are some differences.  According to the Buckskin Mountain website, the swimming area is not a traditional beach.

Instead of sandy shores and shallows, the area is actually very rocky.  This is easily dealt with if you follow the recommendations made by the park staff: bring a matt to cushion your towel (a yoga mat would work) and make sure to bring waterproof shoes if you plan on going into the water, as the ground is rocky there too.

Native Plant Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park

On-Site FacilitiesYes
Day Trip or Multi-Day?Day Trip
Recommended SuppliesClean drinking water, sun protection
Distance¼ Mile
Other AttractionsFamily-friendly, educational
Lost Dutchman State Park Sign

 Finally, perhaps the most family-friendly trail on this list (especially for very young children), the Native Plant Trail in Lost Dutchman State Park, benefits from brevity.  At only a quarter-mile in length, this trail is the shortest on the list and the best suited for the stamina and attention spans of very small children.

Additionally, the trail is marked with helpful signage describing common animals and foliage!  Combined with its level and well-maintained pathing, the Native Plant Trail is the perfect hike to take a family with young children on!

Lost Dutchman State Park has standard amenities, including a visitor’s center.  It is also quite close to Phoenix, a major travel hub.  Even though water is usually available, and the hike is quite short, it’s usually a good idea to bring your own, especially if you have children with you!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the top hiking trails here in Arizona.  Do you have a favorite?  Let us know!