The Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT) – one state, 800 miles and 100,000 feet of elevation gain – is a continuous footpath from Mexico to Utah moving through diverse landscapes that link deserts, “sky islands,” canyons, forests as well as two national parks, Saguaro and Grand Canyon.
The start requires about two miles steeply down to the border followed by thousands of feet into a sky island.
The first full day is hard core, climbing up and over Miller Peak, then steeply down past interesting water sources.
The trail winds up and down all day with spectacular views of mountain ranges in all directions.
The last miles reveal ten tents and many more ups and downs to Patagonia and a ‘nero.’
A rest in Patagonia sets me up for a huge climb over a pass and a perfect camp spot.
The Los Colinas section past Kentucky Camp is lovely rolling grassland and one trail magician.
It’s a long hot day through the Sonoran Desert with trail angeling the entire way.
After “Magic Camp” the trail enters Saguaro National Park and a huge climb.
It’s a relentless climb to beautiful Manning Camp and even harder down to the desert.
A surprise up tires me before heading into some of the most spectacular scenery yet.
It’s an enormous ascent to Summerhaven through a magical stone forest.