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.
nobody puts “Blissful” in a corner
This spring, I’ll walk the Arizona Trail, 800 diverse miles of desert, canyons and “sky islands.”
GUEST POST: Music for a Hike by Marc Reigel
Mahler’s music evokes emotions ranging from joy to anger to peace to alarm to ecstasy to despair.
AZT trail start
Richard (Mr. Blissful Hiker) makes updates from home as Blissful flies, shuttles and hitchhikes to the start.
Arizona Trail: 40 days in the desert
My upcoming six-week hike of the Arizona Trail shares a lot with the season of Lent.
AZT day 1, border to sky island below Miller Peak, 5.5 miles
The start requires about two miles steeply down to the border followed by thousands of feet into a sky island.
AZT day 2, sky island to cowgirl camp above Parker Lake, 18 miles
The first full day is hard core, climbing up and over Miller Peak, then steeply down past interesting water sources.
AZT day 3, cowgirl camp to cowgirl camp, 21.2 miles
The trail winds up and down all day with spectacular views of mountain ranges in all directions.
AZT day 4, cowgirl camp in Canelo Hills West to Patagonia, 7 miles
The last miles reveal ten tents and many more ups and downs to Patagonia and a ‘nero.’
AZT day 5, Patagonia to spectacular view in the Santa Ritas, 22.5 miles
A rest in Patagonia sets me up for a huge climb over a pass and a perfect camp spot.
AZT day 6, spectacular site to spectacular site in Los Colinas, 20.5 miles
The Los Colinas section past Kentucky Camp is lovely rolling grassland and one trail magician.
AZT day 7, spectacular site to Colossal Cave, 25.1 miles
It’s a long hot day through the Sonoran Desert with trail angeling the entire way.
AZT day 8, Colossal Cave to Grass Shack Camp (Saguaro National Park) 16 miles
After “Magic Camp” the trail enters Saguaro National Park and a huge climb.
AZT day 9, Grass Shack to spectac cowgirl camp between Rincon and Santa Catalina Mts, 16.5 miles
It’s a relentless climb to beautiful Manning Camp and even harder down to the desert.
AZT day 10, cowgirl camp to wash above Hutch’s Pools, 19 miles
A surprise up tires me before heading into some of the most spectacular scenery yet.
AZT day 11, Hutch’s Pools to Dan’s Saddle, 15.5 miles
It’s an enormous ascent to Summerhaven through a magical stone forest.
AZT day 12, Dan’s Saddle to Oracle, 11 miles
Oracle Ridge is an absolute slog up and down rock-filled hills but ends with a trail angel.