I’ve just arrived in Tucson, Arizona!
I’m headed out to start a thru-hike of the Arizona Trail (AZT) tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m sharing a hotel with a random European hiker! We’re shuttling up to the trailhead in the morning, at which point we’ll see how trail compatibility and other things are as we crush a few miles! So many miles of smiles that I’m looking forward to!
The AZT is an 800-mile trail that runs through the desert, gorgeous sky-islands, and other world-class nature areas of Arizona. As I weave my way north, I’ll pass through Saguaro National Park, eventually getting to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. From the South Rim, the trail plunges into the canyon before emerging on the other side at the less-accessible, highly remote North Rim. It’s a few days hike from there to Utah, at which point you hitch-hike to whichever town will be able to act as a ferrying point back to civilization.
For the ambitious hiker trash amongst us, the AZT acts as a terrific warm-up for long trails. The early spring start and lack of permitting means it is the perfect appetizer for either the PCT or CDT. Some even like to connect it as a route to other “trails” less travelled. My hiker friend, Masochist, is a couple weeks ahead of me on the AZT, and will be connecting this up through Utah and Nevada, and in to Idaho where he will finish at the Canadian border. Other hikers have used the AZT as a lovely footpath that helps connect the Continental Divide Trail to the Pacific Crest Trail. If you add in the Pacific Northwest Trail on the northern end of the PCT, you have created one of the most legendary hikes: the Great Western Loop.
I’ve been looking to hike the AZT since 2020, and am excited to finally jump on it! Lacking the desire to spend a year on trail (don’t worry), I expect to be done by the first week of May. As always, you will receive periodic updates and check-in alerts 🙂
With love and trail excitement,