The state of Arizona is totally beautiful to visit. Yeah, you’ve got the main cities like Flagstaff and Phoenix to explore; but it is its natural beauty that makes this state so special. From national parks and unspoilt valleys, there are loads to see all across the state. Best of all, there’s a heap of the best hikes in Arizona that’ll take you right to them!
I have to be honest, I hadn’t really thought of spending ages in Arizona, previously. Well, that was until we visited! Driving from New Mexico, we ended up checking out some of the best places in Arizona and totally loved it.
This is exactly why I wanted to share some of the best hikes in Arizona to experience! This way, you’ll get to really get a taste of how beautiful the state is.
To make things easier, I’ve popped a few for each hiking level. This way, you’re guaranteed to find a few to experience, regardless of how familiar or confident a hiker you are.
With that in mind, take a look at some of the best hikes in Arizona. Have the best time trailing the state!
1.) The Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon
A popular hike in Grand Canyon National Park, this is a twelve-mile trek is pretty tough in the dry season and at times downright treacherous in the colder months.
For this reason, it’s not for new hikers but can be completed if you’re prepared and familiar with hiking.
Unlike most hikes, you begin at the top here and work your way down, so keep in mind that the return trip will be far more difficult than the descent. Pack plenty of food and water with you, and you will be rewarded by amazing views of the Grand Canyon as well as the rushing river below.
Oh yeah, make sure to give way to the mules that use this trail, too.
2.) Camelback Mountain, Echo Canyon Park
Located in Echo Canyon Park just outside of Phoenix, there are two (pretty tough) hiking trails to follow for Camelback Mountain. Both, Echo Canyon and Cholla are a challenge and certainly not for beginners.
Although the approximate two-mile trails sound short, they’re extremely steep and precarious at points. That being said, once you reach the top, your efforts are rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of Phoenix below.
Be sure to get an early start to avoid the worst of the mid-day heat and to nab a parking spot. On weekends, it can be tough to nab a spot if you arrive any later than 8am.
3.) Campbell Mesa Loop, Coconino National Forest
If you are looking for a hike that is rich in scenery but easy in pace, this is the ideal trek for you!
Located in Coconino National Forest just outside of Flagstaff, this loop is just under six miles, yet it remains relatively flat the entire way.
Surrounded by the ponderosa pines, you will find plenty of rewarding views along the way, including a breathtaking panorama of the peaks ahead.
One thing to note, this trail is also very popular with mountain bikers and even horseback riders; so be sure to pay attention and give way when necessary.
4.) Cathedral Rock, Sedona
One of the best hikes in Arizona to explore, Cathedral Rock is a very popular, moderately easy trail that makes for a perfect day hike.
Approximately two miles round trip, you must be prepared for a short yet steep climb at the end, yet once you reach the summit, the views here are unlike anything you have ever seen before.
The particular beauty of the red rocks is beautiful, with totally cool rock formations and even the chance to spot some wildlife in the cooler hours of the day.
A sunset viewed from the summit is a once in a lifetime sight, though be sure to bring plenty of flashlights to illuminate your way down… no one likes to fall in the dark!
Oh, and don’t forget to see the Chapel of the Holy Cross that’s pretty nearby. It’s so unique.
5.) The Devil’s Bridge Trail, Sedona
This moderately difficult hike is just a little over four miles roundtrip and great if you’re looking for a challenge.
While it can be fairly steep in some sections, it is still one of the most heavily trafficked hikes in the Coconino National Forest, and it is certainly easy to understand why.
The view from the staircase that leads to the summit affords breathtaking views of the surrounding red rock, and then there is the ultimate reward, reaching the iconic sandstone bridge itself.
Just be sure to arrive early to avoid most of the crowds and nab a parking spot. It really is stunning and one of the best hikes in Arizona that’s so photogenic!
6.) Havasupai Falls, Havasupai Indian Reservation
Located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation near the Grand Canyon National Park, you must ask the tribe’s permission and make a reservation to visit and camp here before undertaking this hike. Trespassing is strictly not allowed, and it is vital that you treat the land with respect and reverence while visiting.
A pretty hard hike of just under 20-miles roundtrip, this one is for the most experienced hikers. Yes, it can be tough, but the falls themselves are absolutely gorgeous, with brilliantly turquoise water and plenty of places to sit and take in the unbelievable scenery.
Be aware that this area is prone to flash flooding during the late summer and early fall, so be sure to pay close attention to the weather and pack lots of provisions, water and sunblock.
7.) Wildcat Trail, Monument Valley
Taking in some of the gorgeous sites near Monument Valley, the Wildcat Trail is right on the valley floor and easy-to-navigate at your own pace.
With around 4-miles of trails, it’s a great route to explore some of the buttes that make this region so special. Just be sure to pack lots of water and a cap for shade. The sun can be overbearing in the summer months.
You will need to pay a fee to enter the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park but no other permits are needed for the Wildcat Trail itself.
8.) Hieroglyphic Trail, Apache Junction
Located in the eerily beautiful Superstition Wilderness, this is a short, easy hike that is best taken in the early spring, when the waterfalls that line parts of the trail are rushing with snowmelt and the cacti are blooming.
Regardless of the time of year, the trek ends at a giant rock that is adorned with ancient petroglyphs. This is a wonderful spot for families as it’s a relatively short yet exciting excursion. Make a day out of it by packing a lunch and spending time taking in the views along the way.
9.) The West Fork Trail, Sedona
Located in Sedona’s Red Rock Country, the West Fork Trail is one of the best hikes in Arizona that’s renowned for its beauty as well as historical significance.
Your journey begins at the ruins of the Mayhew Cabin, which was built in the early 1870s and served as a famous lodge before it burned nearly one hundred years later.
Now, the trek is approximately six miles round trip, and relatively easy (if you’re a keen hiker), though there is some uphill scrambling required in sections so be prepared.
Oh, and wear some waterproof footwear, you’ll pass over the creeks countless times and no one likes hiking with soggy feet!
10.) The Rim Trail, Grand Canyon National Park
This hike takes you along the rim of the Grand Canyon, treating you to some of the most spectacular views in the entire area.
Unlike most of the other hikes here, this is a relatively easy trail for anyone who prefers a less strenuous hiking experience.
Now, you have the option of going the entire 12.8-mile distance on foot, or hop off and on the shuttle bus if there is a certain area you wish to spend time exploring.
Just be sure to time your walk so that you can enjoy the sunset from Hopi Point or Mather Point for a picture-perfect spot. It really is one of the best hikes in Arizona for views.
11.) Window Rock, Navajo Nation Trail
Although not technically a hiking trail in itself. trailing around Window Rock is incredible. Just shy of the New Mexico border, it’s really easy to visit when travelling across states and well worth a gander for a few hours visit.
Join the pretty easy, Navajo Nation Trail (that’s more of a walking trail) and head around this stunning area that has so much meaning to the Navajo Nation. It really is one of the best hikes in Arizona if you want something totally easy but still stunning.
12.) Tom’s Thumb Trail, Scottsdale
Widely reputed to be the best hike in the Scottsdale area, this moderate to a difficult trail that leads you through on a path past ancient saguaro cacti before beginning the climb to the summit.
Here, it is important to stop and take frequent breaks for water and rest, as dehydration and sunstroke are a very real danger in this area.
You will be treated to gorgeous views of the McDowell Mountains in the distance before you reach the climax of your journey, Tom’s Thumb itself.
This is a huge piece of granite that is estimated to be millions of years old that protrude right from the ground. Be sure to spend some time resting and taking in the scenic views before beginning your descent.
13.) The Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park
Located in Lost Dutchman State Park, this is a short and moderately easy hike that is ideal for beginners.
With a gradually inclining path, leading you through the stark beauty of this desert landscape. You’ll see everything from towering cacti to rock formations that have been formed over millions of years.
After your hike, stop in the nearby town of Goldfield at the Mammoth Steakhouse and Saloon for an unforgettable experience.
Goldfield is a former ghost town turned living Wild West museum, and the saloon offers a surprisingly varied menu amidst the Old Western décor. Go for the classic Giant Mammoth Burger paired with a cold beer or classic sarsaparilla for the ultimate pick-me-up after hiking.
14.) The Wave Trail, Coyote Buttes North
Okay, so this has to be one of the best hikes in Arizona if you’re travelling in the north of the state. That being said, it’s pretty tough to get a lottery permit to enter and can be totally frustrating.
Accessed over the border in Utah, it’s not the easiest hike with lots of climbs along the way. Though, you’ll easily spend hours wandering this incredible place.
Just be sure to pack plenty of water and sunblock; there is little to no shade!
15.) Tumamoc Hill, Tuscon
Just outside of Tuscon in Sentinel Peak Park lies this relatively short (but steep) hike that certainly doesn’t skimp on views.
The mostly paved road gently slopes to the top of Tumamoc Hill, which affords breathtaking views of Tucson. Just be sure to wear some comfy shoes and bring plenty of water – especially on the hotter days!
16.) North Kaibab Trailhead, Grand Canyon National Park
Easily one of the more difficult (and quieter trails) to explore in the Grand Canyon National Park, North Kaibab Trailhead is for the expert hikers amongst us. If you’re not a pro, give this one a miss.
Along the way, you’ll get to meander a huge amount of trail, so plan accordingly with plenty of electrolytes and water. Also, the Grand Canyon is filled with extremes when it comes to its terrain and weather, so check out the National Parks Service for the most up-to-date tips.
Finally, be sure to see the views from Coconino Overlook that’s totally gorgeous and one of the best hikes in Arizona for views.