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Arizona’s Scenic Routes: Accessible Trails for All

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Monument Valley at sunrise ©Getty Images

Experience the unbridled beauty of Arizona, where the landscape invites explorers from all walks of life to discover its wild elegance. We’ve curated 14 of the state’s most accessible trails, ensuring everyone has a chance to indulge in Arizona’s natural grandeur.

1. Rim Trail’s Panoramic Splendor

Journey along the 13-mile Rim Trail, a pathway unfolding the South Rim’s marvels of the Grand Canyon, from the South Kaibab Trailhead to Hermits Rest. Witness landmarks like Mather Point, Hopi House, and the historic El Tovar Hotel, before hopping on a complimentary shuttle back to where your adventure began.

2. The Picturesque Crescent Moon Ranch

Sedona’s Crescent Moon Ranch enchants with two paved loops, offering a one-mile stroll along Oak Creek with Cathedral Rock’s majestic reflection on its surface. Although the ranch house—a beloved photography spot—draws crowds, it’s worth the visit. Replenish with a delightful picnic at the accessible tables after your trek.

Reminder: An $11 fee applies for vehicle entry, covering up to five individuals, with additional charges for extra members or walk-ins.

3. Serenity at Dead Horse Ranch State Park

In the heart of Verde Valley, Dead Horse Ranch State Park offers 1.5 miles of accessible trails encompassing tranquil lagoons. Under the cool shade of cottonwoods, watch for wildlife along the Canopy Trail, a short yet vibrant quarter-mile stretch. Culminate your visit in Old Town Cottonwood, a haven for antiques, dining, and locally crafted wines.

4. Montezuma Castle National Monument’s Ancient Allure

Marvel at the ancient Sinagua cliff dwellings at Montezuma Castle National Monument, via the paved half-mile Rimrock Trail. Admission also grants seven-day access to Tuzigoot National Monument, featuring wheelchair-accessible trails and a visitor center.

5. Birdwatching at Woodland Lake Park Trail

Encircle the Woodland Reservoir on a popular one-mile paved trail, where water levels ebb and flow. This path, especially favored by bird enthusiasts, welcomes walkers, cyclists, and equestrians alike. The White Mountains’ cooler climate provides respite across seasons, though winter ushers in snow and ice.

6. Flora Explorations at Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Arizona’s veteran botanical garden presents an array of trails through diverse habitats. Traverse new paths across 1.5 miles in the Wallace Desert Garden, exploring cacti displays, riparian zones, and global flora collections. Pre-book guided tours are available for a small fee.

7. Urban Escape around Tempe Town Lake

Embrace the vibrancy along 7.5 miles of paved pathways circling Tempe Town Lake. Enjoy leisurely breaks at verdant parks, admire public art, or venture into the bustling Mill Avenue district. Nearby, the Tempe Center for the Arts offers cultural enrichment with live shows and art exhibitions.

8. The Diverse Trails of Papago Park

Papago Park, a sanctuary for the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden, features several trails, including the central half-mile Nature Trail. For a broader adventure, explore the neighboring zoo or botanical garden.

9. Sunset Views at Papago West Park

The Elliot Ramada Loop Trail in Papago West Park, a 2.7-mile circuit, offers an intimate experience with the desert landscape. Pause for breathtaking cityscape views or a spectacular Arizona sunset.

10. Desert Immersion at Brown’s Ranch

Discover the Sonoran Desert’s ecosystem on the Jane Rau Interpretive Trail, a half-mile route within Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Note: some sections might be challenging as they conform to the 2013 US Forest Service accessibility standards.

11. Nature’s Symphony at Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch

Navigate through a network of paved and flat dirt trails in this renowned birding spot in Gilbert. Educational signage punctuates the trails, enhancing your understanding of the local biodiversity.

12. Saguaro Studded Paths of Saguaro National Park

Revel in the presence of towering saguaros on trails east of Tucson within Saguaro National Park. The park’s western section also offers a scenic half-mile paved trail.

13. Adventures in Coronado National Forest

Experience the Sabino Canyon Nature Trail and Rose Canyon Lakeshore Trail, each offering unique perspectives of southern Arizona’s landscape. Shuttle tours, accommodating two wheelchairs per trip, are available in both English and Spanish.

14. Homolovi State Park’s Historical Journey

Step back in time on the half-mile paved Homolovi II Trail, leading to an extensive archaeological site with a 2,000-room Hopi pueblo dating back to the 14th century.

Embark on these accessible trails and immerse yourself in the diverse beauty that is quintessentially Arizona. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or seeking serenity, these paths promise memorable adventures for everyone.

Disclaimer: Our list doesn’t cover all the accessible trails in Arizona but highlights some diverse and scenic paths we adore.

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