Tag Archives: hiking

New Grand Canyon Exhibit Highlights the Arizona Trail

Gill Couto | Arizona Trail

Gill Couto | Arizona Trail

As reported by our friends at The Arizona Republic, a visitors center near the Grand Canyon is opening an exhibit on the 817-mile Arizona Trail, which runs from Arizona’s northern border with Utah to its southern border with Mexico.

The trail, a federally designated National Scenic Trail, showcases some of Arizona’s most spectacular landscapes. A small portion of it passes through the Grand Canyon.

Earlier this year, we told you about Sirena Dufault, who hiked the entire trail to raise awareness of it. This new exhibit, at Tusayan’s National Geographic Visitor Center, should help that effort, too.

For more information about the Arizona Trail, visit the Arizona Trail Association’s website, www.aztrail.org.

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Filed under Mother Nature, News

Celebrate National Trails Day This Saturday

June 2014This Saturday, take a hike. In honor of National Trails Day, the country’s largest celebration of trails, Editor Robert Stieve wanted to share a few of his favorite hikes. We hope you’ll go out and celebrate Mother Nature — just remember to adhere to the Leave No Trace Principles.

Widforss Trail, North Rim
It’s hard to single out the best hike in Arizona. There are too many 10s. That said, a solid case can be made for the Widforss Trail. It’s quiet, the ecosystem is exceedingly diverse, and over your left shoulder you’ll see one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The only thing the Widforss doesn’t offer is elevation gain, which is important to hikers who want to burn calories while drinking in the scenery. Still, this is a 10-mile round-tripper, so a few calories will be incinerated. More

Weatherford Trail, Flagstaff
It’s hard to imagine driving a Model T up the slopes of Fremont Peak, but that’s what John Weatherford had in mind in the 1920s when he constructed an eponymous toll road to the upper reaches of the San Francisco Peaks. It was an ambitious undertaking that was ultimately undermined by the Great Depression. Fortunately, he had better luck with his hotel in Flagstaff. Today, the Hotel Weatherford (he liked his name) is still one of the best places to stay, and his toll road, as it turns out, has turned into one of the best trails in Arizona. More

Barbershop Trail, Mogollon Rim
This trail is not marked by red-white-and-blue barber poles. It would be nice if it were, but it’s not. Instead, this is one of those trails that can be hard to follow. Usually, all you have to do in Arizona is get to a trailhead, throw on a backpack and hit the dirt. You couldn’t get lost if you wanted to. This trail is one of the exceptions. More on that later. More

For more hikes, check out our June issue, featuring easy summer hikes, or pick up Robert’s book, Arizona Highways Hiking Guide: 52 of Arizona’s Best Day Hikes for Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall.

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Hit the Trails … With Us

Along the Bell Trail, by Susan Cole

Along the Bell Trail | Susan Cole

Join Arizona Highways and our team of experts as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act through a series of summer hikes in some of Arizona’s most pristine wilderness areas.

Bell Trail
Wet Beaver Wilderness, Sedona
Date: Saturday, June 28
Time: 8 a.m.
Distance: 6.6 miles round-trip (to Bell’s Crossing)
Rating: Moderate
Details: Join Arizona Highways Editor Robert Stieve and experts from the Arizona Game and Fish Department to explore this popular trail, which crosses Wet Beaver Creek and meanders along the stream bed until it climbs to a narrow bench along the canyon’s north wall. From there, the trail drops to the canyon’s bottom, where it finally fords the creek at Bell’s Crossing.

West Baldy Trail
Mount Baldy Wilderness, White Mountains
Date: Saturday, July 26
Time: 7 a.m.
Distance: 14 miles round-trip
Rating: Moderate
Details: The easy-to-follow trail traces the West Fork of the Little Colorado River as it winds into a thick forest of spruce, firs and aspens and climbs to its junction with the East Baldy Trail. This hike, led by Editor Robert Stieve and U.S. Forest Service experts, will begin from the Sheep’s Crossing parking lot.

Humphreys Peak
Kachina Peaks Wilderness, Flagstaff
Date: Saturday, August 23, 2014
Time: 7 a.m.
Distance: 9 miles round-trip
Rating: Strenuous
Details: This challenging trail beings at the lower parking lot for Arizona Snowbowl ski resort and climbs through ponderosa pines, spruce, corkbark firs and aspens as it approaches Agassiz Saddle and Arizona’s only tundra region. From there, the trail climbs for another 1.5 miles to the summit of Humphreys Peak, which, at 12,633 feet, is the highest point in Arizona.

Group sizes for each hike will be limited to 10 people on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no charge for these hikes. To register, email Kelly Kramer at kkramer@azdot.gov. Include your name, telephone number, email address and preferred hike. Registration will be confirmed and further details provided upon completion of a signed waiver. Details are subject to change. 

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Filed under Hiking, Mother Nature

Q&A: Sirena Dufault Nears End of 817-Mile Arizona Trail Hike

Sirena Dufault at the Mazatzal Wilderness | Courtesy of Sirena Dufault

Sirena Dufault at the Mazatzal Wilderness | Courtesy of Sirena Dufault

Back in March, we told you about Sirena Dufault, who’s hiking the entire 817-mile Arizona Trail to raise awareness and funding for the Arizona Trail Association, where she is a volunteer. Dufault is nearing the end of her hike now, and we recently caught up with her via email to see how the trek was going. To see Dufault’s updates on her progress, check out her blog, and to contribute to the ATA, visit this link.

 

What have been the highlights of your trek so far?
That’s a tough question, because there have been so many breathtaking moments! But I’ll give it a go:
  • Hiking through the “sky island” ranges in Southern Arizona, where you go from prickly pear to ponderosa pines and back down again, often through wonderful rock formations. Tough because of the elevation gain, but worth every step.
  • The solitude of hiking for days without seeing another person.
  • Finding perfect camping spots with a view of the spectacular Arizona sunset and sunrise.
  • Seeing people’s eyes light up when sharing my favorite places on the public hikes and backpacking trips.
  • Backpacking through the rugged and remote Mazatzal Wilderness: over 60 miles of trail between vehicle access points, with some of the most wonderful geology, camps and views on the whole trail.
  • The women’s backpacking trip was such a wonderful experience: I had nine women and a mini-donkey along for three days from Mormon Lake to just south of Flagstaff. It was a fantastic group, and there were a lot of laughs.
  • When I hiked the Arizona Trail in sections in 2008-09, there were quite a few pieces that had not yet been built and others that have been rerouted. It’s been fun to see the new trail! Also, there has been a tremendous amount of work to rehab parts of the trail that have been damaged by fires. All of the improvements I’ve seen cost money, which is why it’s so important to me to raise the $20,000 for the trail.

 

What challenges have you faced that you might not have expected before you started?
The main challenge of this trek is the continued intensity without a real break. In two months, I have had only one or two real days off where I didn’t have an event, interviews, promotion, planning or writing to catch up on.

 

Overall, has the journey been easier or harder than you anticipated?
The journey has been about as tough as I’d expected. I knew I was committing to a lot by not only hiking the trail, but having events and public hikes and backpacking trips along the way. It’s been exhausting at times, but worth every bit of effort.

 

How has the turnout and reception been at the stops along the trail?
It’s been wonderful! All of the gateway community events have been well-attended, enjoyable evenings with great music, food and Arizona Trail Ale. It’s been great to have hikers, bikers and equestrians at the events sharing their love for the trail.

 

What parts of the trek are still to come? Are there particular parts that you’re looking forward to?
I have two weeks left to hike from Flagstaff to the Utah border, about 200 miles. The Grand Canyon is the crown jewel of the Arizona Trail and my favorite place in the world. I’ve hiked rim to rim many times, but it will be such an accomplishment to arrive having walked from Mexico! I can hardly wait to hike down to the Colorado River and relax at the boat beach. I work on the river as a guide in the summertime for Arizona River Runners and will be starting my river season shortly after my trek.

Also, the last passage into the Utah border is one of my favorites; it’s a striking transition from the forested Kaibab Plateau to the colorful sandstone formations of Utah. Then it’s over to the town of Page for my big finale celebration!

It has been a dream of mine to thru-hike the Arizona Trail since 2007 and I am so grateful to have not only this experience, but to also be able to share it with so many other people. It’s been wonderful to educate folks about this amazing resource that links deserts, mountains, canyons, communities and people across the state. Hope to see you on the Arizona Trail!

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Filed under Et Cetera, Hiking, Make a Difference, Q&A

Check Out Our June 2014 Cover!

June 2014

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by | April 30, 2014 · 9:57 am

Take a Hike … but Use Common Sense

hiking guideIt’s warming up out there, and that means hikers and mountain bikers need to take extra precautions before hitting the trail. Unfortunately, according to a story that ran on AZcentral.com, there’s been an uptick of mountain rescues in the Valley compared to last year at this time. Translation: People are not playing it safe out there.

“Common sense is the most important thing to take on the trail,” says Robert Stieve, editor of Arizona Highways. “And water is just as important. A gallon a day is the general rule; however, if you’re hiking the desert in the summer, which is strongly discouraged, you’ll need at least double that amount.”

Stieve also advises that you adhere to 10 basic rules — commandments, really — which he spells out in much more detail in his book, Arizona Highways Hiking Guide: 52 of Arizona’s Best Day Hikes for Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall:

  • Never hike alone.
  • Tell someone where you’re hiking, the route you’ll be taking and when you’ll be home.
  • Carry identification and the name and telephone number of whom to call in case of an emergency.
  • Before you leave home, check the forecast, and pay attention to the weather while you’re on the trail.
  • Study the maps before you go, and carry a compass, not just a GPS.
  • On the trail, know where you’re going where you are in relation to the map you’re carrying.
  • Take plenty of food, and carry more water than you think you’ll need.
  • There’s no such thing as too much sunscreen.
  • Don’t overestimate your abilities.
  • Adhere to the Leave No Trace principles.

Spread the word and please share these life-saving tips with out-of-town visitors.

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