Arizona is known for its hot temperatures, unique desert landscapes, and, most famously, the Grand Canyon. For any outdoor adventure lover planning a trip to Arizona, you may be wondering how to explore all the wonders this state has to offer.
Hiking is a great way to get outside, stay active, and see jaw-dropping sights you’ll only find in the Grand Canyon State.
If you’re looking to go hiking on your next trip out west, keep reading to discover 12 trails for the best hiking in Arizona.
Best Hikes Near Sedona
1. Bell Rock Climb
Bell Rock Climb is a historic landmark in Sedona. It’s the first rock formation you see when driving from Sedona to Pheonix and it makes for one of the best hikes in Arizona.
Bell Rock Climb is a loop that spans one to two miles, depending on the route you take. The loop itself is considered moderately challenging, however, if you choose to hike to the top of bell rock, it becomes increasingly more difficult.
With multiple trail options within the same vicinity, you’re able to customize this hike to your skill level and distance preferences. Bell Rock is also family-friendly and has been described as pleasant and peaceful, making it an easy addition to our list of of the best hikes in Arizona.
2. Fay Canyon
Fay Canyon is a 2.3-mile out-and-back trail. It had a moderate difficulty level and is an extremely popular running and hiking route, proving that it’s a great pick when exploring the best hiking in Arizona.
While hiking Fay Canyon, you’ll experience unforgettable sights like huge canyon walls, canopies, unique rock formations, and areas of red rock. The most noteworthy highlight of this Arizona hiking trail is the Fay Canyon Arch found halfway into the trail.
If you’re looking to up the difficulty, you can continue past the “trail ends” sign where you’ll be met with a bit of a climb before reaching a picturesque lookout point.
This popular trail is also dog-friendly, has plenty of shade, and is easy to walk, and makes Fay Canyon a must-do.
3. Devil’s Bridge
Devil’s Bridge holds the title of the largest natural sandstone arch in Sedona. Despite its name, this Arizona hiking trail provides heavenly views and a great experience.
This hiking trail is a little under two miles, roundtrip, and has a 400-foot climb in altitude. It’s a fairly easy hike and is popular amongst casual hikers and outdoor adventurers.
Just under a mile into your hike, you’ll find a divide into two different paths. The topside path is what makes this trail one of the spots for best hiking in Arizona. When following the topside trail you’ll meet a natural staircase that leads to not only stunning sights but eventually a direct path to Devil’s Bridge.
For the adrenaline junkies, you are able to climb Devil’s Bridge but make sure to take extreme caution. Although it’s an easy walk, those heights are definitely not for the faint of heart.
4. Soldier Pass
Soldier Pass is another easy to moderately challenging hiking trail in Sedona, Arizona. It’s a popular 4.5-mile out-and-back trail, so you’re likely to see plenty of others during your trip.
During this hike, you’ll get to see a variety of noteworthy features. Towards the beginning, you’ll stumble upon Devil’s Kitchen, which is a giant sinkhole formed by the collapse of underground caverns. As you continue, you’ll arrive at the Seven Sacred Pools. As its name describes, this is a group of small bodies of water against an unforgettable desert backdrop
Lastly, you’ll reach a turnoff to Soldier Pass Cave which is the perfect place to wander around and take in the unique rock formations.
With beautiful views to see and incredible experiences to share, Soldier Pass is one of the best trails for hiking in Arizona and is not to be missed.
Best Hikes Near Phoenix
5. Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300
If you’re spending time in Pheonix and are looking for the best trails for hiking in Arizona, check out this 2.3-mile out-and-back trail. Although Pistewa Peak Summit Trail #300 is a popular route, there are still opportunities to enjoy some peace and quiet during non-peak hours, if that’s something you’re looking for.
This Arizona hiking trail is more of a climb than a walk, so be prepared to sweat. Some describe it as a steep and narrow staircase, and despite being a more difficult hike, the scenery throughout and at the top makes it worth it.
Because of the heat in Arizona, make sure to get started on this hike in the morning, when it’s cooler, and pack plenty of water. When tackling this hike, take your time and enjoy the challenge, and Piestewa Peak Summit Trail may just become your new favorite adventure.
6. Phoenix Mountain Preserve Freedom Trail #302
The Phoenix Mountain Preserve Freedom Trail is another challenging hike found in Arizona. It’s a 3.6-mile loop trail that takes a little over two hours to finish.
Although slightly difficult, this hike is definitely doable. It’s recommended that you take the loop clockwise, as going counterclockwise makes for a much harder trek. This Arizona hiking trail is made up of a rocky path, so make sure you’re wearing sturdy shoes with plenty of traction.
A great time to do this hike is at sunrise. Not only will you beat the heat of the harsh Arizona sun, but you’ll also be able to watch the sky change into a variety of vibrant colors behind the mountain tops.
With beautiful lookouts and plenty of places to rest and admire local wildlife and foliage, this trip through the Phoenix Mountain Preserve trail is easily one of the best hiking trails in Arizona.
7. Dixie Mountain Loop Trail
Dixie Mountain Loop Trail has two access spots and, therefore, two ways to explore this Phoenix hiking trail. Both areas offer gorgeous sights and breathtaking views. However, if you’re looking for an easier route with less incline, you’ll want to start counter-clockwise. But, there’s no need to worry about getting lost, as each trail has plenty of signage.
One thing to note is that this Arizona hiking trail is pretty exposed and doesn’t have much shade, so pack lots of water and sunscreen (especially if you’re visiting during the summer). It’s a total of 3.8 miles and has a moderate difficulty level.
Dogs are allowed on this trail, but make sure to keep them on a leash so they don’t wander into any of the (plentiful) local cacti that line this trail.
Best Grand Canyon Hikes
8. South Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge
If you’re looking for the best hiking trails in the Grand Canyon, look no further. South Kaibab trail to Cedar Ridge is a 3.1 mile out and back trail and takes around two hours to complete.
It’s decently steep but very doable. After passing the cleverly named “Ooh Ahh Point”, the trail gets narrower and has dropoffs on either side. So, if heights aren’t your thing, this hike probably isn’t for you.
However, if you’re feeling it, push past the Ooh Ahh Point for some of the best views of the Grand Canyon. This hike is also suitable for kids around 9-10 years old, and up (again, as long as they’re not afraid of heights), and it provides incredible sights and even better memories.
9. Bright Angel Trail
Bright Angel Trail is the most popular hike in the Grand Canyon, making it an obvious addition to our list of the best hiking in Arizona.
While traveling through the Bright Angel Trail, not only will you have access to the beauty of the Grand Canyon, itself, but you’ll also walk in the footsteps of Indigenous Peoples, miners, and past tourists.
Because this trail does go into the canyon, it’s quite steep and difficult. While it’s deceivingly easy to walk down, the return hike back up takes a lot more effort. Despite this, the ability to explore massive cliffs, diverse plants, and plenty of wildlife makes it worthwhile.
Another perk of his Arizona hiking trail is that it offers shade in the morning and afternoon, so you can enjoy this adventure on your own schedule.
10. Rim Trail: Trail of Time
The Trail of Time is a flatter hike that spans a 2.8-mile paved path. More than just a hike, this trail is rich with history and guides you through the geologic timeline of the Grand Canyon.
Each meter of this trail signifies one million years, and it allows you to develop an appreciation for just how grand the Grand Canyon truly is. Throughout the walk, you’ll see exhibits and explanations of different parts of the canyon and how it and its rocks formed.
There are two ways to explore this trail, based on how you want to experience it. You can “walk backward in time”, by walking west and discovering each moment in descending order. Or, choose to go east to “walk forwards in time”, and start from the Grand Canyon’s oldest rocks and end with the newest.
If you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon and want to get outdoors (but aren’t a fan of vigorous cliff-side hikes), the Trail of Time is definitely for you.
Best Waterfall Hiking Trails in Arizona
11. Bear Canyon Trail to Seven Falls
Not many people think of waterfalls when they think of the best hiking trails in Arizona. If you’re one of those people, you need to check out Bear Canyon Trail to Seven Falls. This is an 8.4-mile out-and-back trail near Tuscon and is considered moderately challenging.
Seven Falls is a series of waterfalls that run over a smooth rock and tuck away inside the canyon. It’s an exciting and unusual surprise found within the desert and makes for a memorable hike.
If you’re looking for running waterfalls, be sure to visit this trail between October and April, because the hot summer weather sometimes dries them out.
Not only will you get to see a variety of Arizona’s unique waterfalls, but you’ll also have access to the surrounding pools. Here, you can cool off from the hot sun and reward yourself for making it through the long hike with a relaxing swim.
12. Havasu Falls Trail
Havasu Falls is the most famous of the Havasupai waterfalls. If you’ve never experienced the aqua-blue colors cascading over vibrant orange cliffs in a desert oasis, you need to add this Arizona hiking trail to your bucket list … immediately.
To tackle this unforgettable journey, begin your hike as early as possible to avoid the heat, as it’ll take about 10 miles to get in (and then another 10 back out). There’s minimal shade, so bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water.
Make sure you take a look at the permit requirements before planning your trip. They can be purchased online, but be sure to plan ahead, as they sell out quickly.
Although the Havasau Falls Trail makes for a long and strenuous day, the magical-looking colors and views are truly indescribable.
Lace Up Your Hiking Boots!
Now that you know more about the best hiking in Arizona, it’s time to put on your sunscreen and lace up your hiking boots! Whether you’re looking for a casual stroll through historic sites or a vigorous workout with picturesque views, Arizona has something for everyone.
Planning a camping trip to Arizona? Check out our post on the 40 best places for Arizona camping for all you need to know.