There are many ways to locate hiking trail information. I’ve compiled a number of resources on this page that I hope you will find helpful, and make use of even after the hiking class is over. Because I know that you’re going to love this sport so much, that you’ll make it a regular leisure time activity. One of the great things about hiking is that you can always find new ground to explore to keep your trail experiences varied and interesting.
Ranger stations always provide a wealth of information. Rangers and volunteers are usually eager to share their knowledge and experience with hiking various trails. To gather information about hiking around the Verde Valley, you may want to pay a visit to the Red Rock Ranger District station located at 8375 State Route 179, Sedona, Arizona (just south of the Village of Oak Creek) for hiking in the Sedona area, or the Verde Ranger District on SR 260 just past White Bridge in Camp Verde for hiking in the Prescott National Forest. The Sedona Ranger Visitors’ Center has a cool new relief map model that shows you locations of all the trails in the area by lighting up. It’s fun to play with 🙂 Studying a map or an aerial photo on Google Earth may also give you some ideas.
Probably the most common ways to find hikes is by talking with experienced hikers, or through printed material.
Trail Guide Books
There are several good trail guides for hiking in Arizona. Some cover the whole state, while others focus on a specific area. If you decide to purchase a trail guide, browse through some before settling on one. Try to find one that has good trail profiles, good directions to trailheads, some sort of trail rating system, and interesting trail descriptions. Here are some you might consider:
For the Sedona area
Sedona Hikes: 130 Day Hikes & 5 Vortex Sites around Sedona, Arizona, Revised 9th Edition by Richard K. Mangum and Sherry G. Mangum (Paperback – Oct 12, 2006) ($14.49 on amazon.com)
Sedona’s Top 10 Hikes by Dennis Andres (Paperback – Sep 2004) ($11.95)
Day Hikes Around Sedona, Arizona, 2nd by Robert Stone (Paperback – April 1, 2006) ($14.36)
Sedona Guide: Day Hiking and Sightseeing Arizona’s Red Rock Country (Hiking & Biking) by Steve Krause and Teresa Henkle (Paperback – Jul 1, 1991) ($10.35)
Best Easy Day Hikes Sedona (Best Easy Day Hikes Series) by Bruce Grubbs (Paperback – Mar 1, 2002) ($9.95)
Flagstaff Hikes, Revised 6th Edition; 97 Day Hikes around Flagstaff, Arizona by Richard K. Mangum and Sherry G. Mangum (Perfect Paperback – Jun 1, 2007) ($16.95)
Streamside Trails; Day Hiking Central Arizona’s Lakes, Rivers, and Creeks (Hiking & Biking) by Steve Krause (Paperback – Jun 1, 1994) (out of print, but available used on amazon.com)
Arizona State Trails Guide from Arizona State Parks. Packets available for various regions ($10.00 each; full set covering entire state available for $30.00). The nice thing about these is that they are packets, not bound, so you can take out the one page for the hike you want to do that day, and not carry a whole book with you on the trail.
Arizona Highways Hiking Guide: 52 of Arizona’s Best Day Hikes for Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall by Robert Stieve, (Arizona Highways magazine, 2011)($16.42)
Favorite Hikes Flagstaff & Sedona by Cosmic Ray, (Cosmic Ray Publications; 14th edition, January 1, 2012) ($11.95)
If you search Amazon for “hiking Arizona” you’ll find lots of other resources. You may want to check a few trail guides out of the library and browse through them before deciding on which one you might want to purchase. Whenever I’m visiting a new area, I like to check a few hiking guides out of the library to help me get my bearings and make some decisions about what trails I might want to put at the top of my list. I also like to see what I can find on-line.
You can find lots of great free information on-line to help you plan your hikes. They often include maps as well. Some are posted by hikers like us who are sharing their journals. Often just “googling” the name of a trail or certain area will give you some good results.
National Forest Web Sites for Northern Arizona:
(The Red Rock Ranger District publishes an excellent Recreation Guide to the Sedona area.)
Other good trail guide web sites for hiking in Arizona:
Arizona Hikers Community (Discussion forum)
AZ Central (AZ Republic newspaper)
Hike Arizona (this one is very comprehensive; I use it a lot!)
Trails.com (membership required for full access)
More Ways to Find Hikes
Also check web sites for specific destinations you might be planning to visit, such as the Grand Canyon, state parks, etc.
If you Facebook, you might want to become a fan of Hiking Arizona. Other hiking enthusiasts share comments and photos about hikes they’ve done. You may see something on there that grabs your attention.
Keep a hiking file, or a “bucket list” of hikes you really want to do. I like to clip and save articles I run across in magazines, such as Arizona Highways or in the Sunday travel section of the Arizona Republic. This way I can refer back to the file when I’m looking for a hike. Arizona Highways always features a “Hike of the Month” which you can also find on their web site at (just search for “Hike of the month” to find the archive)
Keep your ears open: Some of the best hikes are not the ones that you’ll find published in trail guides and on web sites. If you hear about an interesting-sounding hike, don’t be afraid to ask for more information and follow up with some of your own research to learn more about it. It’s fun to be a little imaginative and go off the beaten track now and then if you’re prepared for the adventure!
Hiking Groups: Once this class is over, you might also want join a hiking club. Sedona Westerners is a hiking club in Sedona that conducts several organized hikes each week at various levels of difficulty. Visit their web site for details. I’ve done a number of hikes with them, and even though I thought I knew my way around Sedona, they always take me someplace where I see something new. The Sedona/Verde Valley chapter of Sierra Club also conducts educational programs and sometimes hikes led by knowledgeable guides to interesting destinations.