Hiking is one of the top activities in Arizona. People visit from all over the world to experience the Grand Canyon State’s stunning natural wonders, like the Grand Canyon or Horseshoe Bend by foot. From the pine-surrounded mountain hikes of Flagstaff and the red-rock surrounded trails in Sedona to the iconic Phoenix treks with city views, there are no shortage of awe-inspiring hikes across the state.
The length and difficulty of the hikes are as varied as the scenery, allowing hikers of all abilities to enjoy the natural beauty of Arizona. To help you get started on your own hike, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know from parking information to permit tips.
Devil’s Bridge Trail (Sedona)
Devil’s Bridge is one of Sedona’s most popular trails known for its narrow, breathtaking sandstone arch and views of the Coconino National Forest with its red rocks and wildflowers. It is moderately difficult, stretching 4.2 miles out and back, and gaining just over 560 feet in elevation. It’s recommended to park at the Mescal Trailhead on Long Canyon Road if you’ll be traveling in a vehicle that’s not equipped for off-roading. The other option is to park at Dry Creek Vista Trail Head on Vultee Arch Road, which has a paved lot as well as a closer lot that’s accessible with a four-wheel drive vehicle. The trail is dog-friendly, but all dogs must be leashed.
Flatiron (Apache Junction)
Flatiron, located in Lost Dutchman State Park is shrouded in the mysteries of the Superstition Mountains, but more importantly, it's surrounded by desert beauty and seasonal wildflowers. Most people access the trail through Siphon Draw Trail for a strenuous, 5.5-mile out-and-back hike with a 2,641 ft. rise in elevation. To access Siphon Draw Trail, hikers can park in the lot for $7 during the week and $10 on weekends. Individuals and bicycles are permitted to park for $3. Dogs are able to access the trail, but must be kept on a leash.
Echo Trail at Camelback Mountain (Phoenix)
Camelback Mountain is one of the most iconic hikes in the Phoenix area offering breathtaking views of the city. There are two trails, Echo Canyon and Cholla, however Echo Canyon is typically more popular and is slightly more difficult. While the hike is on the shorter side at just 2.5 miles, it does have incredibly steep and strenuous portions that lead to the highest peak in Phoenix. There is a small parking lot, but it fills up quickly, so street parking is typically the best option. No dogs are permitted on the trail.
Piestewa Peak (Phoenix)
Piestewa Peak is another extremely popular yet demanding Phoenix hike that offers a full city view. While it’s under 2 miles if accessed by Freedom Trail, it extends more than 1,000 feet in elevation. Dogs are prohibited year-round. Parking is accessible at the Piestewa and Dreamy Draw Trailhead.
Tom’s Thumb Trail (Scottsdale)
The highly rated Tom’s Thumb Trail is marked by the iconic thumb-shaped rock, which can be accessed by the 4-mile, difficult hike with a more than 1,200-foot elevation gain. Hikers can look forward to beautiful desert and mountain views with wildflowers in the spring. Fortunately, the trail’s somewhat remote location allows for a beautiful trailhead by the same name with plenty of parking for easy access to the hike. Dogs are allowed on the trail when leashed.
Humphrey’s Peak (Flagstaff)
Humphrey’s Peak is one of the state’s most popular hikes as it marks the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet, with scenic views of the San Francisco Peaks and even a look at the Grand Canyon when visibility permits. The trail begins at more than 9,200 feet above sea level, so thin air can present difficulty from the beginning. Hikers should expect to hike more than 10 miles along this out-and-back trail and hiking poles are encouraged, especially during the winter months when snow is on the ground. Parking is available at the lower lots of Snowbowl Ski Resort. Dogs are permitted.
The Wave (Page)
For a selfie-worthy hike, there’s nowhere better than the Wave on the border of Arizona and Utah, where hikers can experience the incredible wave-like rock formations at the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. While acquiring a permit to hike this stunning trail, which limits capacity to 20 people at a time, is difficult, it’s worth it for the one-of-a-kind views. There are two ways to obtain a permit: either by applying at the Coyote Buttes North lottery page on the first of the month four months prior to your visit, or by entering the in-person lottery at the Visitors Center in Kanab, Utah. Fees vary slightly based on which option you choose but include lottery and recreation fees that are under $10 per person. To access the moderate, 5.2-mike hike visitors can park at the Wire Pass Trailhead located in the North Coyotes Buttes permit area. Dogs are allowed to access the park as well, but it is an additional $7 fee per dog.
Seven Falls Trail (Tucson)
The Seven Falls Trail which can be accessed through Bear Canyon, is Tucson’s top-rated hike known for its access to seven awe-inspiring waterfalls surrounded by Arizona’s desert beauty. While the trail is only moderately difficult, it is long, stretching 8.5 miles out and back with a 917-foot change in elevation. Be sure not to visit after heavy rains, as flash floods can render the train inaccessible, and if the trail is open, rain can make for a very wet hike. It does offer a parking lot and access is either $5 per day or a $20 for a year pass. Dogs are not permitted on the trail.
Horseshoe Bend (Page)
As one of the most well-known views in Arizona, the path to Horseshoe Bend is a must-do hike for adventurers of all skill levels. It is a 1.4-mile out-and-back hike with a 380-foot elevation gain that ends with the stunning view of the Colorado River snaking around an incredible rock formation in a horseshoe shape. The hike is most popular just before sunset as the lighting allows for the best possible views. It is also just 15 minutes from another Arizona landmark, Antelope Canyon, so many visitors opt to see both in the same day.
Bright Angel Trail (Grand Canyon National Park)
While the Grand Canyon offers several outstanding hikes to explore the canyon, Bright Angel Trail is regarded as one of the best to see the most stunning views. The trail, which is at the South Rim of the canyon west of the Bright Angel Lodge, extends 18.4 miles. Since it is a difficult, steep trail, it is not advised to complete the hike in one day as many hikers don’t realize the hike up will take approximately twice as long as the hike into the canyon. Permits are required for the Bright Angel Campground. There are water stations along the trail, but experts recommend bringing plenty of water as well. Hiking poles are also recommended. The trail offers some shade, but is primarily in the sun, so it is recommended to visit from September until May.