Need a break from the gym but still want to get a workout in? We polled our clubs for the best hikes in Arizona, and here are their top picks and recommendations.
BEST FAMILY & BEGINNER HIKES
Papago Park (Tempe): With over 1,500 acres covered in trails, picnic areas, and lagoons, this is one of best places to hike with kids.
Superstition Mountain (Phoenix): The Superstition Wilderness area isn’t just big, it’s gigantic. There are plenty of hikes and trails for all skill levels. If you’re looking for a family-friendly route, try the Hieroglyphic Trail (2.8 miles) or Treasure Loop Trail (2.4 miles).
Broken Arrow (Sedona): This 3.5-mile roundtrip trail is flat and perfect for beginners and families. Both kids and adults will love the scenery, with a variety of rock formations to view and explore. Pack a picnic to eat at the top, where you’ll have panoramic views of Munds Mountain Wilderness.
BUCKET LIST HIKES
Lower Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend (Page): Lower Antelope Canyon is one of the most photographed slot canyons in the world, and the half-mile roundtrip hike is easy and short but one you won’t forget. Afterwards, head to Horseshoe Bend. The hike is 1.5 miles roundtrip but will leave you breathless from the beauty. Bring your phones and cameras to snap pictures and go early to avoid crowds.
Mount Lemmon (Tucson): With over 120 miles of intermediate to difficult trails, you’ll never have to do the same route twice. You’ll find plenty of trails with healthy elevation gains (hello, Red Ridge Trail), but flatter options also exist (like the Mind Spring Trail).
Seven Falls (Tucson): This 8.2-mile hike has a number of water crossings leading to switchbacks, taking you up the mountain and eventually to the falls that are the trail’s namesake.
HIDDEN GEMS FOR LOCALS
Babe Haught Trail (Sedona): This hike is just under 5 miles but will get your heart and lungs pumping as you climb over 1,500 feet in elevation. Enjoy forest views and partial sun coverage from the trees during this challenging hike.
Seven Sacred Pools (Sedona): Looking for a quick and easy hike? Head to the Seven Sacred Pools via Soldier Pass for a quick one-mile hike. The pools were naturally carved out of sandstone and fed by a seasonal stream, and you’ll view beautiful rock formations the entire way.
Wave Cave Hike (Golden Canyon): This challenging 3-mile hike requires a sense of adventure! The path is unmarked, so grab a map and plot your route in advance. When you make it to the cave at the top, snag a photo on the wave rock and soak in the views.
MOST CHALLENGING HIKES
Camelback Mountain (Phoenix): One of Phoenix’s most iconic landscapes, Camelback isn’t for the faint of heart. There are two trails that will get you to the top: Echo Canyon is steeper while Cholla is longer. Take your pick and climb over 1,400 feet to the top of the “camel’s back” where you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of the city.
Piestewa Peak (Phoenix): If you’re looking for the most challenging routes, park at the Mesquite Trailhead and take the Piestewa Peak Freedom Trail (3.7 miles and 720 feet of elevation gain) to the Piestewa Peak Summit Trail (1.2 miles and 1,200 feet of elevation gain). The views will be worth the climb, but don’t forget water and a snack—you’ll probably want to rest a bit at the top!
Tom’s Thumb Trail (Phoenix): Coming in at about 4.5 miles, this trail meanders through the desert and takes you to the thumb-like rock formation at the top, offering sweeping views of the valley below. You’ll climb about 1,100 feet total, but it’s well worth the views.
Tumamoc (Tucson): Located just 15 minutes from the University of Arizona, this 2.9-mile out and back hike will lead you up 950 feet for stunning views of the campus and Sentinel Peak. Pro tip: Go early in the morning to watch the sun rise from the top, or plan to be a the top for sunset (and don’t forget a headlamp for the hike down).
Devil’s Bridge (Sedona): Devil’s Bridge is the largest natural sandstone arch in Sedona. Surrounded by red rock peppered with trees, the views are gorgeous and picture-perfect. Clocking in at just under 4 miles, this flat trail is perfect for all levels of hikers.
Cathedral Rock (Sedona): Short but steep, you’ll climb about 750 feet in just 1.2 miles. You’re in the heart of red rock country, so there are views to be enjoyed at every turn but especially spectacular from the top.
Finger Rock (Tucson): Make your way to the iconic 100-foot tall rock formation resembling an index finger. Endurance hikers will love the 8.2-mile trek that starts easy and becomes progressively more challenging. The trail starts amongst saguaros, but as you climb in elevation, you’ll see yucca, live oak, juniper, and agave. Enjoy views of the Catalina Front Range from the top.