Arizona is an enchanted piece of land that exhibits a strange beauty through a dry, deserted landscape. The vivid shades of mountainsides and canyons with the long stretches of sometimes green and bushy, and sometimes lifeless landscapes are therapeutic. But the real fun begins when you dive deep into the wilderness to experience the wildlife of Arizona from up close.
Although the wild countryside can offer a varying assortment of adventures, we’ve cherry-picked the 5 most incredible backpacking trips to indulge in if you’re looking to experience the best of Arizona.
Beware that this state has harsh weather conditions and difficult terrains. Preparations are required before jumping on the adventure wagon. Make a list of things you need for the trails and check weather conditions before finalizing the trip. A trip to an outdoor survival gear store can give you the confidence you need to trail these bizarrely beautiful badlands.
The Superstition Mountains to White Rock Springs
The Superstition Mountains are full of interesting hiking and backpacking trips through varying environments. The best one of them is also the most famous; the figure eight round-trip trail to the White Rock Springs and back. It is a 23-mile long trip and can be seriously long and strenuous, so pack your trekking poles if you think you’ll need them.
The landscape views offer refreshing contrasts between the sharp-edged mountains standing tall behind green landscapes filled with teddy bear chollas.
Start your trail at the First Water Trailhead. After a short walk, you will reach a fork. There, we recommend you take the Second Water Trail. This will take you to a slight ascend but widens in the latter half of the trail until you reach another junction. You will be hiking through tall saguaros on the Black Mesa trail, which is a fulfilling experience. This will be a lengthy 3-mile trail with some Weaver’s Needle eye candy on the way.
The last mile is a descent through the Cavalry Trail until you reach the long-awaited White Rock Springs. Take the Dutchman’s Trail on your way back to make the eight-figure. This way, you will get to make the most out of your backpacking trip.
The Wave, Paria Canyon
The Wave is a serene formation of sandstones and warm-toned rocks. This location has multiple trails that you can utilize for refreshing backpacking trips. This route lies along the Arizona-Utah border in the Paria Canyon. In the neighborhood of The Wave, you can also find the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. You can also find the highly recommended Buckskin Gulch hike in this area, which is a treat in itself.
The whole place is a national treasure and lies under protected land, so visitors are especially advised to follow the leave no traces principles rules here. The trail makes you feel like you’re an extraterrestrial on an unknown planet with no human civilization around. You will hardly find anyone else throughout your trip. There is nothing but waves of rocks as far as you can see. And that is what makes the whole trip such an otherworldly experience.
The catch is that you have to be lucky enough to get a permit if you’re not planning your trip in advance. You can apply for the permit months in advance. There is a lottery system for the permits, and it is highly competitive. For obvious reason, there isn’t a shortage of people who want to experience the trip. It is advised to apply in advance.
Do not forget to check the weather if you’re planning a trip between July and September because the trip lies along a riverbed. The monsoon season can bring flash floods in the zone, which is no fun at all.
The Grand Canyon may be the most popular backpacking trip of choice in Arizona for most people. But many people have started to explore the various other side trails that previously used to lay hidden away from the eyes of the mainstream tourists. One of such trips is the Havasu Falls hike.
Today it has become so popular that it is listed in one of the crowded spots of Arizona, but for a good reason. There are a total of 5 waterfalls that can be explored in the Havasu Creek area. They are as majestic as oases in the wild and deserted landscape of Arizona.
Although, it can not exactly be called deserted because the place gets crowded. Even so, we think it is worth visiting for the experience. If you do, make sure you check the weather first before these parts can get very hot in the summers. And there’s also a chance of flash floods in the monsoons.
The ideal time of the year to make this hike is spring. The snow from winter makes sure there is plenty of water flowing in the spring, but you can have a blast swimming any time of the year. The climb afterward is less tiring due to relatively more comfortable temperatures than summers.
Fossil Creek is another great opportunity to indulge in the calming sensations that cool springs give off in the heat of Arizona. The Fossil Springs backpacking trip has similar hues of rock formations as the Havasu Falls, but the geology is strikingly different.
When you think of Arizona, even in terms of a backpacker, you would think of mountains, canyons, wild plants, and sandstone. But Fossil Springs does not look anything like the arid wilderness that comes to mind. It is one of the most abundant sources of water in the state.
The crystal clear water running through the greenery at the bottom of those mountains has a pleasure of its own. The best part is that the springs do not get too hot during the daytime. So when you go for a splash, you are bound to come out refreshed.
It is a short backpacking trip in duration but can be strenuous for some people due to the steep hike. But all in all, the sweet pleasure that lies in Fossil Creek is most definitely worth it.
Grand Canyon: Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim
Let’s be honest; the list couldn’t have been complete without mentioning the amazing rim-to-rim backpacking trail of the renowned Grand Canyon. No matter how many backpacking trips you’ve made in your lifetime, this one is a must on every adventurer’s list.
You can explore the true potential of a backpacking trip in King Canyon only if you go from rim to rim. However, beware that it’s no joke to make this trip. It is lengthy and requires a lot of stamina. Plus, for a major portion of the trip, you will be trekking through rugged and difficult terrain.
But it has some selling points that make it one of the most popular backpacking trips in North America. The chasm is about a mile deep, and there is very little wild vegetation to spoil the views of this mountainous landscape.
A one-way trip from either direction is at least 21 miles. But we believe that one should witness the beauty of one of the world’s natural wonders at least once in a life. And the best way to do that is to trek across the canyon from rim to rim only.
No matter how many articles you read on backpacking trips, spend hours looking for your dream equipment on the best backpack online store you can find, daydreaming about the beautiful views you see on Pinterest. Still, it’s never going to be enough. You have to get out of your comfort zone, make your schedule, and start applying for permits. A less-than-perfect experience is still a million times better than no experience at all.
Get out there and explore!