Thru-hikers Information Sources

This page contains links to various sources of information that should be useful to thru-hikers and others interested in doing long stretches of the Arizona Trail.

Note:  Use common sense when using the Arizona Trail. Try to use more than one source of information about the trail. Some sections of the trail are in very remote areas of the state. Carry appropriate equipment and be prepared for unexpected situations. And most important - water in many areas along the trail is uncertain. Plan accordingly.
We want you to have a safe and fun experience exploring the Arizona Trail!
  • Dialogue with Other Arizona Trail Users
  • Books about the Arizona Trail
  • Information by Passage
  • Trail Stewards by Passage
  • Databook by Passage
  • Topo Maps with Trail Information
  • Passage Maps by Passage
  • Mountain Bike Info
  • Water Sources
  • Snow Conditions
  • Lightning Preparedness
  • GPS and Map Data
  • Resupply Points
  • Trail Conditions
  • Permits
  • Shuttles
  • Support Services
  • Journals and Diaries
  • Trail Completion Survey

    Have you traversed the entire trail? Whether in pieces over years or all at once, we want to hear from you. Please fill out our completion survey. We have some really nice awards available for just the cost of shipping & handling.
     

    Satellite Tracking

    Now you can follow people who are out on the trail. Go to our tracking page for all the details.

    Some of the above valuable resources are only available to ATA members, so if you wish to become a member and receive access to this information, please join here.

     


    Dialogue With Other Arizona Trail Users

    Planning a hike or just interested in the Arizona Trail? Dialogue with past, present and future AZT users at the Arizona Trail Forum on the Hike Arizona website.

    Interested in seeing who has completed the entire trail? Or maybe you would like to add your name to those who have done this. Check out the "I Finished The Arizona Trail" section on the Arizona Trail blog.


    Books About The Arizona Trail

    Your Complete Guide to the Arizona National Scenic Trail
    This guidebook, published in 2013 and written by ATA Executive Director Matthew Nelson, has trail descriptions, maps, elevation profiles, information on botany and geology, water sources, and resupply information for the Gateway Communities. You can purchase the definitive guide to the Arizona Trail here.

    The Arizona Trail Driver's Guide by Robert Garber, 2016.
    The Arizona Trail Driver's Guide will be helpful in locating not only the beginning and ending trailheads to each of the 43 segments of the Arizona Trail, but also in identifying the equally-critical access points between the main trailheads. This guide was created to specifically aid the driver in finding over 100 key access points along the Arizona Trail that are accessible by vehicles. Included are maps of each segment showing the beginning/ending trailheads, accessible points in-between, and step-by-step directions to each access point.
    This book is available in Kindle format only for $5.99 through Amazon.

    Biking The Arizona Trail by Andrea Lankford, 2002.
    A good guide for taking your two wheeled friend on a challenging trip. Available at REI, Summit Hut and many bookstores.

    Crossing Arizona by Chris Townsend, 2002.
    Published by the Countryman Press, Woodstock, Vermont. Veteran hiker and hiking book writer Chris Townsend gives an interesting account of his hike on the Arizona Trail. Available at REI, Summit Hut and many bookstores.

    Along The Arizona Trail by M. John Fayhee and Jerry Sieve, 1998.
    Published by Westcliffe Publishers, Inc, Englewood, Colorado. An interesting coffee table book of John's Arizona Trail trip and wonderful pictures by Jerry Sieve. Out of print but local Phoenix area public libraries may have copies.

    On The Arizona Trail by Kelly Tighe and Susan Moran, 1998.
    Published by Pruett Publishing Co, Boulder, Colorado. This is the only resource that was done by an equestrian. Includes information on how equestrians can access the Mexico Border, trailheads that are accessible by equestrians, etc. It's out of print but most public libraries in the Phoenix area have copies.


    Mountain Bike Information

    The Arizona Trail is the only completed National Scenic Trail that welcomes mountain bikes and much of the trail was designed with bikes in mind. However there are some areas where bikes are not allowed, including Miller Peak Wilderness; Mt. Wrightson Wilderness; Saguaro National Park/Rincon Mountain Wilderness; Pusch Ridge Wilderness; Superstition Wilderness; Four Peaks Wilderness; Mazatzal Wilderness; and Grand Canyon National Park's Inner Gorge.

    We have developed the most scenic ways to ride around these areas, and have maps and databook specifically for mountain biking the AZT. Learn more at the Mountain Biking Resources page.


    Snow Conditions

    Some years there can be snow along the trail late into the spring. For current snow conditions on Mt. Lemmon, call this number:  520-576-1400.
    For information on the Mogollon Rim and Flagstaff areas you can go to the USDA's National Resources Conservation Service Snotel site.
    For information on the south and north rims of the Grand Canyon, you can call the park at 928-638-7888 or email them using their contact page.


    Lightning Preparedness

    Lightning can be an issue almost anywhere along the Arizona Trail. The article "Backcountry Lightning Risk Management" by John Gookin of the National Outdoor Leadership School gives a great overview of lightning and how to manage lightning safety in the backcountry.
    It is reproduced on our website with permission from the author. This article may not be reproduced on any other site without direct permission from the author.

    To view or download a copy, please click here.


    GPS And Map Data

    The absolute best navigational resource is the Arizona Trail App, developed by Guthook Hikes, and available for $10 through Google Play or iTunes. More info on the app can be found here.

    For those who prefer to use a handheld GPS Device, waypoints and tracks are available for downloading on the Arizona Trail web site through the passage pages (an ATA membership benefit). Or you can buy a pre-programmed chip directly from Garmin.

    If you like paper maps, either download and print the passages maps for free or purchase the complete customized Topo Map Set.


    Resupply Points

    Information on resupply options for the Arizona Trail can be found in our Resupply Options file.
    The current version of this file: April 9, 2017

    Additional resupply information can be found on our Gateway Communities page.


    Permits

    Permits are not required for a long-distance hike or ride along the Arizona Trail, however permits are required for overnight camping within a few areas. These permits are not managed by the ATA; you will need to contact each agency directly. Here are the permits you may need:
    • Colossal Cave Mountain Park (Passage 8) has a fee and you must stay in the designated campgrounds of La Selvilla or El Bosquecito.
    • Saguaro National Park (Passage 9) requires a permit and camping is only allowed in developed campgrounds. Permits are not difficult to obtain, can be arranged over the telephone, and the Park is always willing to work with AZT thru-hikers.
    • Grand Canyon National Park (Passage 38) requires a permit and camping is only allowed in developed campgrounds. Although Grand Canyon backcountry permits can be very challenging to obtain, the Park's Backcountry Information Center is authorized to make a special accommodation for AZT thru-hikers by issuing up to one permit per night for an AZT group to camp in the "stock site" if it is available (the stock site is normally held back for equestrian groups). There is one stock site at Bright Angel Campground and one at Cottonwood Campground. When you visit the Backcountry Information Center let them know you're an AZT thru-hiker and that you would really appreciate the opportunity to camp at Cottonwood and/or Bright Angel. Remind the ranger about the stock site option and ask if it is still available. Attempting to camp in Grand Canyon without a permit is not recommended and will almost guarantee you a big ticket . . . this is, after all, one of the most heavily patrolled parks in the National Park system.
    A 15-foot wide right of way for the Arizona Trail has been obtained so you can cross approximately 91 miles of State Trust Land without a permit (mostly on passages 6, 7, 14 and 15). If you plan on traveling outside the 15-foot corridor to camp, explore, etc. then it is strongly recommended that you obtain a State Land Recreation Permit. They are only $15 and allow recreational access to almost 9 million acres throughout Arizona. Permits can be obtained through the Arizona State Land Department website.


    Support Services

    Individuals and companies that provide various trail support and services (generally for a fee). See the following for more information:
    • Camp and shuttle services by Dick & Diane Wertz
       
    • A bunkhouse, showers and horse services can be found inside the Mazatzal Wilderness at the LF Ranch
       
    • Zero Day Resupply gives thru-hikers a better way to resupply by providing a smart and convenient method for obtaining trail necessities.
    These groups are listed as a courtesy only and no endorsement is given or implied by the ATA.


    Journals And Diaries

    From 2000 to 2005 Bob Pekarske section-hiked the Arizona Trail. He kept a journal of his hikes and it can be found on his website.

    Ultralight Adventure Equipment based in Logan, Utah has information about the Arizona Trail on their web site. They have an online journal of a trip taken in 2004 starting on this page.

    Scott Morris and Lee Blackwell rode the trail in 2005. Scott kept a diary of his trip. There is also a journal with photos at this location.

    Tim McCabe has an online journal of his 2006 south-to-north trip by mountain bike. Great photos and a good narrative can be found on his diary page.

    Adam Bradley hiked the entire Arizona Trail in less than 31 days in 2007. His journal of that trip can be found on the trail journals website.

    Dave Baker hiked the Arizona Trail and kept a journal. It can be found on the Summit Hut website.

    Sirena Dufault hiked the entire Arizona Trail to raise awareness for Fibromyalgia. Her online journal can be found on her website: Arizona Trail For Fibromyalgia.

    After 4 years of segment riding the AZT via self-supported bike-packing, Yuri Bahti finished in June of 2009. His trips are documented on the Blogspot site.

    Diane Wertz has ridden a mule on the Arizona Trail. Her blog can be found on the Blogspot site.

    Mike Hayes and his daughter Maureen did the Arizona Trail in sections. He writes for the Arizona Republic and their blog can be found on the Arizona Republic website.

    Brian Tanzman hiked the AZT from north to south, finishing in October 2009. His journal (with lots of useful information) can be found at the Postholer site.

    Bill Leightenheimer section-hiked the trail and finished in October 2009. His blog covers the areas of the trail from Washington Park TH (northeast of Payson) to the Babbitt Ranch, and can be found here.

    Kimberlie hiked the Arizona Trail in the spring of 2010. Information about her trip can be found on her blog.

    M. J. Eberhart (the Nimblewill Nomad) also hiked the trail in the spring of 2010. His journal with photos and videos can be found at his website.

    Chet Anderson (the Gray Ghost) also hiked the trail in 2010. His journal can be found on his blog.

    Ben Mayberry hiked the trail in 2011. His journal can be found on his blog.

    Annie and Desert Nomad completed a thru-hike of the AZT in 2011. Her journal is called 2011 Arizona Trail: The Epic Journey.

    Francoise and Glenn hiked the trail north to south in 2012 and have a blog called Up, Down 'n All Around.

    Sarah Weatherby hiked the northern half of the trail in 2012 and wrote about her adventures on a blog called hikingitthrough.

    Ryan Carpenter hiked the trail in the spring of 2014. His journal about his trip can be found on his blog called Another Long Walk.

    Stacey and Bern hiked the trail in the autumn of 2014. You can read about their north to south trip on their blog. And you can check out photos from their trip in this gallery.

    Matt "Sheriff Woody" Berger hiked the trail in the spring of 2015. His picture heavy daily blog - with a lot of focus on the plants and animals along the trail as well as trail life itself - can be found here.

    Heather "Anish" Anderson hiked the trail in the fall of 2016. She set a new self-supported Fastest Known Time (FKT) by finishing the trail in only 19 days, 17 hours and 9 minutes. You can read about her adventure on her blog.
     


    Journals from several other Arizona Trail thru-hikers can be found on the Trail Journals web site.