PHOENIX METRO AREA:
Telegraph Pass Trail is just minutes away from the heart of Phoenix. This trail is an easy hike at South Mountain regional park and covers about 4.5 miles with a chance at some beautiful wildflowers as well as some petrogylphs left by the Hohokam.
Siphon Draw Trail in the Superstition Wilderness is an intermediate hike that may take about 3 hours to complete. It is known to have a dazzling array of blooms including brittlebush, poppies, lupine and strawberry hedgehogs. You’ll pass an old mining bunker, and if you’re lucky and there’s been enough rainfall, there’s potential for a waterfall. Towards the end of the hike you’ll have a steep climb to the top of a flatiron where you’ll be rewarded with a wonderful view before retracing your steps to the starting point for a roundtrip total of approximately 6 miles.
Havasupai (part of the Grand Canyon but not the national park) provides an amazing 10 mile hike deep into a desert oasis (complete with a perfect turquoise waterfall) and a dip in the Havasu Creek when you arrive. Special permits and advance reservations are required and sell out very quickly each season. If you’re among the 250 permitted to camp each night, you’ll be able to pitch your tent in this idyllic sanctuary before hiking your way out the next day.
West Fork Trail runs along a creek for about 3 miles traversing dozens of streams (so bring shoes appropriate for sloshing through). Along the way you’ll view a mixture of forest and rising cliffs, and pass by dramatic ledges and overhangs.
Horton Creek Trail in the Tonto National Forest is a moderate hike near Payson. About 7 miles out and back, the trail begins at the base of the Mogollon Rim and gently ascends under a gorgeous canopy of trees. The sound of babbling water bounding over mini falls, and the surrounding moss-covered rocks give the creekside hike a lush oasis feel. The culmination is Horton Spring where water rushes down from the underground spring feeding the wildflowers that thirstily pop up around it.
Tucson’s Hugh Norris Trail is a climb-to-the-summit hike that brings you past tremendous sweeping views with a reasonably relaxed climb. This hike through the Saguaro National Park will bring you 4700 feet up to Wasson Peak, the highest point in Tucson’s mountain range. Switchbacks make for an exciting climb with a breathtaking payoff.