The Arizona Trail is a spectacular 800 mile hike through incredible deserts, peaceful pine forests, unique "sky islands," and the stunning Grand Canyon. Here's why thru hikers love it so much (and also why we find it challenging).

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Most people have no idea how much variety Arizona has to offer in its landscapes and ecosystems! From classic desert (complete with giant Saguaro cacti) to forested high plateaus and everything in between, the AZT will keep you on your toes with its constantly shifting scenery.

Incredible Variety

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Sleeping under the stars in wide-open desert landscapes is one of my favorite things. The AZT offers endless opportunities to "cowboy camp" under clear skies with great views. 

Desert Camping

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While many thru hikes have become increasingly crowded, the AZT still retains sections of solitude. You can hike in some areas for hours without seeing another person (though chances are there's another thru hiker not too far ahead or behind).

Uncrowded Trails

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One of the biggest challenges of hiking the Arizona Trail: long stretches without water. You might need to use caches and carry 4-6 liters at times. The water you do find will often be yucky cow puddles, so bring a good filter (like the Sawyer Squeeze). 

Long Water Carries

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The AZT is thru hiked in spring or fall, so shoulder season weather is always a factor. Expect everything from scorching desert afternoons to sub-freezing nights, and perhaps a bit of snow.

Weather Extremes

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Read the full post at Exploring Wild:

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This interactive trip planning guide is packed with checklists, key questions, and recommendations to take the worry out of planning your first or biggest backpacking trip.