In less than a week, I’ll begin my attempt to thru-hike the Arizona Trail (AZT). Hiking the AZT is a goal that I’ve had for over eight years, and during this time I’ve remained committed to my dream of hiking the entire trail “in one go.” In the past couple years, I’ve researched long-distance hiking, researched the Arizona Trail extensively, and I’ve updated most of my backpacking equipment. Preparing healthy, tasty and calorie-dense meals and snacks has also been a big part of the preparation. I’ve chosen to prepare many of my meals at home and dehydrate them in my food dehydrator. On the trail I just add boiling water, and dinner is ready!
Here’s an overview of the trail from the Arizona Trail Association, the nonprofit organization whose mission is to build, maintain, promote, protect and sustain the Arizona Trail as a unique encounter with the land.
The Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT) stretches 800 miles across the entire length of the state to connect deserts, mountains, forests, canyons, wilderness, history, communities and people. This non-motorized trail showcases Arizona’s diverse vegetation, wildlife and scenery, as well as unique historic and cultural sites. The route provides unparalleled opportunities for hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians and other trail users.
Starting at the U.S.-Mexico border, the path climbs and descends from one “sky island” mountain range to another, gaining and losing thousands of feet in elevation and traversing biomes ranging from desert to boreal forest. Continuing across the Sonoran Desert, the route crosses the Gila River, winds through the Superstition Mountains and the Mazatzal Wilderness on its way to the Mogollon Rim and majestic San Francisco Peaks. The trail north takes travelers across the Grand Canyon through billions of years of geology. Topping out on the North Rim, conifer forests dominate the Kaibab Plateau, eventually giving way to red bluffs dotted with sagebrush as the trail nears the Utah border on the edge of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. It is the backbone of Arizona.
Whether you hike, run, pedal or ride, the adventure of a lifetime is waiting for you on the Arizona Trail.
Follow along with me on this blog as I walk through the amazing state of Arizona, sharing my experiences and photos from my trek.
You can also connect with me on my social media sites — links are in the sidebar on the right (links may be at the bottom of the page on mobile devices).