Arizona offers some of the best year-round hiking in the country, especially when the cold and snow leave you trapped inside during the winter months. With a wide variety of easy to challenging trails, Discover beautiful desert hiking with plenty of swimming holes, red rocks, and views close to major cities like Phoenix, Sedona, and Flagstaff. Should you plan your hikes during the hotter months, bring plenty of water—more than you think you’ll need. Also, keep in mind that rattlesnakes are present throughout the state, so keep your dog on leash.
Hieroglyphic Trail (Gold Canyon) — Early European settlers mistook the basalt rock etchings seen on this hike for Egyptian hieroglyphs, hence the name of the trail. The etchings are actually petroglyphs carved by the Hohokam People. Accessible for all hiking levels, try this short hike in early spring, when you can catch a seasonal waterfall.
Horton Creek (Payson) — With plenty of shade and water access, Horton Creek is a perfect trail to hit during the hot summer months, near Mogollon Rim. Follow Horton Creek most of the route until the trail ends just near the Horton Spring, just off of Highline Trail. There, icy water gushes from the underground spring. Turn around at the spring for an out-and-back or continue on to complete an eight-mile loop.
Upper Waterholes Canyon (Page) — Easy to get to and relatively unknown, Upper Waterholes Canyon is a great spot for those wanting to hike a non-technical slot canyon with their dog. This short hike meanders along sandstone walls that change color depending on the time of day. Keep in mind that flash floods are a real danger, so never enter a canyon when the forecast calls for rain or thunderstorms and be aware of rattlesnakes in the area and keep your dog on leash at all times.
Inner Basin Trail (Flagstaff) — Surrounded by snow-capped peaks towering more than 11,000 and filled with aspen trees that shine bright gold in October, the easy Inner Basin Trail is a must do during the fall. With a steady climb to the peak, the steady climb is worth the reward for the view from the top.
Devil’s Bridge (Sedona) — Despite the heavy foot traffic, this classic Sedona hike offers incredible views and a trek to the largest natural stone arch in the Sedona area. Trailheads start in a variety of parking lots, ranging in distance from two to six miles round trip of hiking. Start early to avoid the crowds and the heat.
Abineau-Bear Jaw Loop (Flagstaff) — Hike through forested canyons in the shadow of Arizona’s highest point, Humphrey’s Peak on this seven-mile loop. This trail is colorful year round with vibrant wildflowers in the spring, sunflowers in the summer, and groves of golden aspens in the fall.
Wave Cave Trail (Superstition Wilderness) — Plan to arrive at the “wave cave” in the evening for an epic sunset and the chance to take some beautiful silhouette photos. This tough, but short trail is easy to get lost on, so be sure to keep a map or offline directions with you to ensure you’re headed the right direction.
Peralta Trail (Superstition Wilderness) — Don’t let the parking lots full of cars deter you from this trail. Yes, the trail will be crowded to popular Fremont Saddle, which offers stunning views of Boulder Canyon, Weavers Needle and endless mesas, buttes, and peaks, but it thins out beyond. At the Dutchman Trail junction, either return the way you came or continue for a loop back to the trailhead.
Boulder Canyon Trail (Superstition Wilderness) — Head out for the day or overnight on this challenging hike deep into the backcountry. The trail begins steeply, offering views of Canyon Lake before meandering into La Barge Canyon, where plenty of campsites await. Though there are fairly reliable water sources along the trail, be sure to bring plenty of water. January and February are the best times of year to attempt this hike.
Fossil Springs Trail (Tonto National Forest) — This strenuous hike offers beautiful views and a waterfall and cave in which to swim and cool off. Loose rock and a steep ascent makes the return challenging, so be sure to take a nice long break at the waterfall. In a successful attempt to limit crowds, permits are required between May 1 and October 1. Bring at least 2 gallons of water per person and the same for your dog.
Jen Sotolongo is a writer and photographer and runs Long Haul Trekkers, a blog about independent, responsible travel with a pet. Over the past 1.5 years, she and her partner have taken their dog, Sora on a cycle tour spanning across Europe and South America, proving that adventures can include your dog, no matter where in the world they may be.
Are we missing your favorite Arizona hike with your dog? Mention it in the comments and we will add it to the list! Or find another hike from our dog-friendly hiking guides.
Make sure you are ready to hike by reading out 15 Tips for Hiking with Your Dog and reviewing the Dog Hiking Checklist.