Keep an eye out for Salt River wild horses on this Mesa-area hike

The Sonoran Desert Trail System in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest has more than 20 miles of interconnected paths between Usery Pass Road and Bush Highway just south of the Salt River Recreation Area. The northernmost route in the system is the Wild Horse Trail, which is also part of the Valley-circumnavigating Maricopa Trail. As its name suggests, the trail passes...

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Ordinary citizens collecting scientific data has become important to researchers

Public participation in gathering and analyzing large amounts of scientific data began as a major trend about 15 years ago in a movement called “citizen science.” When asked if scientists could produce this same work without the help of citizen scientists, the general refrain was typically “absolutely not.” The internet and the availability of powerful, yet simple tools...

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Purchase opens 32,600 Arizona acres near Coronado Forest to hiking

The U.S. Interior Department’s purchase of a plot of private land will allow public access to 32,600 acres of previously isolated forest land in Arizona, a move that drew praise from wilderness advocates and hunters alike. The deal opens up two parcels of public land, one in the Coronado National Forest and one northwest of Safford, that had been inaccessible because...

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Volunteers remove tons of trash from Arizona National Forest land

Arizona’s Natural Restorations remove trash, graffiti and anything foreign to the environment from natural areas throughout the state. They have a passion for nature and believe outdoor restoration and education ensures everyone will be able to enjoy the outdoors for generations to come. They approach every project with a commitment to long-term change and making...

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Stewards needed to keep hiking trails clear after monsoon storms

Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation needs help maintaining hiking trails near Tucson. Monsoon 2017 has let up for now, but just weeks ago storms dumped lots of rain on southern Arizona. All that rain caused weeds and other plants to grow out of control. County officials are looking for trail stewards to make sure these trails continue looking good....

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Night hiking: Beating the heat in Grand Canyon

Below the Tapeats on the South Kaibab Trail is a great place to stop and rest called “Big Shady.” When it is hot, this spot is nice and cool. But folks are here huddled up above the trail in the shelter of a slight overhang in the cliff, trying to stay dry and wishing that there weren’t so many clouds in the sky. Rather odd given that it is the middle of August. But it...

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Trail work in Arizona’s Rim Country

Trails are complicated things. It doesn’t always take the easiest route and sometimes isn’t clear, dwindling into a wash and then sneaking out to the lowlands and zigzagging erratically up a steep slope. For trail builders, forging a path with flow is everything. The way a trail bobs and weaves around trees and rocks should be effortless. It should curve to hide what is...

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Arizona Girl Scout troop teaching Hiking 101 class

Last year, more than 350 hikers required rescue in Arizona parks and preserves and at least 10 died. These are statistics that Ahwatukee Girl Scout Troop 1395 passionately hopes to reduce. And while helping hikers learn safety through education, the troop’s eight members are working toward their Silver Award – the highest honor at the Cadette level. The scout’s...

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The Ultimate Guide to Monument Valley

With sandstone buttes, colossal mesas, and panoramic vistas, Monument Valley is one of the USA’s iconic landscapes. Sure, it’s possible to drive right through the Valley, visiting the main sites in just two or three hours, but if you really want to explore it, consider spending at least a day here. There are even quick excursions and scenic drives in the nearby area, if...

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Petrified Forest National Park: Ancient and Spectacular

The area is the only national park that includes a part of the historic U.S. Route 66. Welcome to the Petrified Forest National Park. The word “forest” may mislead visitors. The park is in a desert. And the word “petrified” — which can mean “afraid” — may scare visitors away. But fear not. “Petrified Forest” gets its name from the trees that have, over...

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Hualapai Mountain Park a great destination for hiking, cycling, picnicking and even camping

Hualapai Mountain Park is a 2,300-acre preserve located just outside of Kingman, Ariz. Often overlooked in favor of larger and better-known parks, it is a gem hidden in the pines with elevations ranging from 4,984 feet to 8,417 feet at Hualapai Peak. The park is named for the native Hualapai Indians. Their name comes from the landscape, meaning “Pine Tree Folk” or...

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New hiking trails at Buckeye, Arizona’s Skyline Regional Park

Attention hikers: Be on the lookout for new trails in the coming weeks. The Phoenix West Valley’s newest hiking destination is rolling out fresh dirt just in time for fall hiking season. As of the end of September, Skyline Regional Park in Buckeye will have added five new trails for a total of 17 miles of non-motorized routes. Since it opened in January, the...

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A Proposed Hiking Ban in Phoenix Draws Outrage

When the temperature hits the triple digits in Phoenix, AZ, hikers continue to hike. They snake their way up Camelback Mountain, which has a 2,680-foot summit with spectacular views of the city. They pack the picturesque mile-long trail up Piestewa Peak. They traverse the towering cactus dotting South Mountain Park. And some of them find themselves lost, parched, in...

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Phoenix proposes hiking ban during hot temperatures

Phoenix may close hiking trails in its more than 40,000 acres of desert preserves during intense heat that statewide already has claimed several lives this summer. Temperatures reaching 110 degrees would prompt the closure of city trails for people, through a policy under consideration this week. Dogs would be stopped from hiking when the mercury hits 100 degrees. The...

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SPEX launches a new concept in hiking in Sedona

Hikers in Sedona, Arizona have a new option when it comes to exploring their deep thoughts out on the trail. Sedona Philosophy Experience (SPEX) has officially launched and is busy helping its customers navigate not only the trails of Sedona, but also the mindful philosophical discussions that hiking so naturally stimulates. “We are delighted to bring philosophy out of...

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How state, national parks near border became safe for visitors again

Caution: “Smuggling and illegal immigration may be encountered in this area.” Visitors to state and national parks, monuments and memorials in Southern Arizona have undoubtedly seen these signs posted along popular hiking trails. The sites near the Mexico border are great spots to find hiking, bird watching and camping, but also provide the perfect place for undocumented...

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Thousands of Ancient Petroglyphs, ‘Dramatic’ Solar Calendar Reported in N. Arizona

Archaeologists exploring the remote mesas of northern Arizona have uncovered a trove of previously undocumented rock art, including more than 1,500 petroglyphs, and confirmed the presence a prehistoric solar calendar, which has been marking the seasons for more than 700 years with a striking “shadow dagger” that travels across its sandstone face. Researchers made these...

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AmeriCorps team discovers pleasure and peril building trails at Casa Grande Mountain

They’ve encountered scorpions, lizards and the perils of navigating around the abundant cacti that dot Arizona’s Casa Grande Mountain landscape, but a team of 11 AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps volunteers say they’re enjoying building a new trail in the city’s most popular hiking park. “Every time we take a break, we sit down and stare across the...

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Arizona hike: Y Bar is a strenuous challenge

Although tame in comparison to some other notoriously arduous Arizona hiking trails, Y Bar has several opportunities to pause for thought. The trail is steep, rocky and requires traversing of talus slopes and narrow, cliff-clinging turns with deep drop-offs. On days when it’s clear of obstacles, this challenging trail in the Mazatzal Wilderness is achievable by...

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Trekking Through the Aravaipa Canyon, Arizona

Aravaipa Canyon is extremely narrow—at many points, probably no more than a quarter of a mile from rim to rim—which means that to explore the canyon you often hike right through the stream bed. Traverse the entire twelve-mile length of the canyon and you’ll cross the creek at least forty times, sometimes in water that’s knee deep. Aravaipa Creek is a rarity in the...

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Aspen stands in Southwest suffering from fungal disease

Visitors marveling at the fall foliage in national forests might find that some of the aspen leaves are brown and blotchy or gone already. Spores released from leaves and twigs that were infected by a fungus last summer were carried to new leaves by splashing rain and wind this year. The result is that instead of presenting golden yellow colors, leaves in some aspen...

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Anatomy of a flash flood

Last week 20 people died in a wave of flash floods in southern Utah, eerily similar to a summer in Arizona 18 years ago. Of those who died, seven were in a narrow canyon in Zion National Park and another 13 were lost when their cars were swept away from around the town of Hilldale. The seven in Zion were geared up with helmets and ropes, not the most trained group, but...

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Favorite hiking trails on Arizona’s Mogollon Rim

The same elevation changes crowded into a small space that make Payson so diverse when it comes to scenery, plants and animals, also provide some of the most scenic and interesting hiking, biking and horseback riding trails in Arizona. For starters, the area boasts hundreds of miles of trails through the national forests, along streams, lakes and ridgelines. But that’s...

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National Forest fields 200,000 comments on Grand Canyon project

The Kaibab National Forest is sifting through more than 200,000 public comments that are mostly against an easement through the town of Tusayan that would help make a development near the Grand Canyon possible. Stilo Development Group USA wants to build homes, retail shops, hotels, and cultural centers in the area. The easement would allow utilities to be installed and...

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument

The labyrinth called Canyon de Chelly (pronounced d’SHAY) comprises several canyons that include Canyon de Chelly, Monument Canyon and Canyon del Muerto. At the mouth of the canyons near the tribal town of Chinle, in northeastern Arizona, the rock walls are only 30 feet high. Deeper in, the bright red sandstone bluffs rise dramatically to stand more than a thousand...

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Hiking Arizona’s Havasupai Trail round trip isn’t easy, but the payoff is worth the pain

Framed by pitch-black canyon walls rising monumentally on either side of the rushing, rain-swollen Havasu Creek, the night sky bursts with snow-white stars and Milky Way swirls. It is the last night of a grueling three-day Havasupai Trail round trip to the waterfalls in northern Arizona’s Havasu Canyon, an offshoot of the Grand Canyon. The hike offers bliss by way of...

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Tap into Sedona’s ‘energy’ with hikes, memorable dining

Sedona has often been proclaimed the “most beautiful place in America.” The natural beauty of the tiny town — halfway between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon — nearly escapes description. But, if you put a list together, surely picturesque canyons, rivers, red rock formations met by crimson-colored earth and azure skies paint the splendor of Sedona. Add to that “painting”...

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Bright Angel Point Trail, Grand Canyon National Park

Located on the very southern tip of the Kaibab Plateau, and the prime vista location for the North Rim of Grand Canyon, Bright Angel Point offers a bird’s-eye view of the meeting of Roaring Springs Canyon and Transept Canyon at the Bright Angel Fault. It is 4/10 mile from Grand Canyon Lodge to the point on a paved trail that offers several overlooks along the way....

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North Kaibab Trail on North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon doesn’t get nearly the traffic as its more touristy neighbor to the south. For one thing, it is a lot more remote. The North Kaibab Trail is the most difficult of the three trails that dissect the canyon, but it also holds the most varied ecosystem. Somewhat surprisingly, it is forested. With fir and aspen and scrub oak, along with...

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After 11 years, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument reopens

The “most dangerous national park” has been largely closed to the public for the last 11 years. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, on the southern Arizona border, once saw a steady flow of immigrants – and drug runners – from Mexico. On Aug. 9, 2002, ranger Kris Eggle was shot and killed while chasing a cartel hit squad, prompting park officials to close nearly 70...

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Grand Canyon to limit rim-to-rim hiking-group size

Grand Canyon National Park is trying to fight overcrowding and the accumulation of clothing, food and even human waste along trails by requiring permits for organized groups and limiting them to 30 people. Starting Sept. 15, 2014, any group taking organized, rim-to-rim or extended day-hiking and running trips in the inner Canyon will have to pay $175 for a permit....

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Parking Meters at Hiking Trailheads?

The Phoenix Parks Board meets next week to discuss a proposal to install parking meters in the parking areas of the city’s most popular hiking trailheads. The idea of “fee-based parking” was approved by the Parks Board in 2010 but never implemented. Now, with a looming city budget deficit, the idea is being revived to bring in extra revenue. Deputy...

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