Arizona Trail

My Arizona Trail Hike

I hiked the Arizona Trail from March 17, 2012 to April 28, 2012.
I took 1,699,035 steps to travel about 800 miles.
Journal   Photos   Map   Gear   Food   Expenses   Supporters   Stats
My GearMy pack weighed 17 to 28 pounds, depending on how many days of food and miles of water I carried. There was an additional 4lbs of clothes on my body.
G4 backpack16$40G4 Backpack made myself from pattern.
Worked much better than I ever hoped. Comfortable, light, and plenty of room for all my gear.
shelter23$75made myself, includes plastic groundsheet and 8 stakes.
Great little shelter but did not get stress-tested by any bad weather. My next one will have a few changes, but the general design is just what I like.
sleeping quilt40$105sleeping quilt made myself from pattern, birthday present.
Too warm most of the time! Worked super.
Synmat 7 UL Pad16.2$155Two baffles popped, making it uncomfortable but usable. It got no leaks the entire trip.
ExPed sent me a replacement when I got home!
Exped pillow2.7$20.50inflatable pillow xmas present.
I believe this really helped me sleep and was worth the extra bit of weight.
sleeping hat1.5$26made myself, xmas present. Since I had a hood on my down coat, I didn't need this.
alcohol stove1.1$10messier than I had hoped. Used more fuel than expected. Did not carry for last 2 weeks - no cooking.
cook kit5.8$25includes spoon, pot, foil lid, stand, windscreen, and lighter.
8oz bottle.9$3
food cozy.8$0homemade.
No complaints, saved fuel and got food soft and hot.
food0-9lb.$0I carried 6 days of food at the most.
fuel7$0up to 7 oz. of alcohol, but usually less.
did not work. Still more work to do on it.
water filter4.2$51.70Sawyer filter and raw water bag. Water bag got a few pinholes and delaminated at opening.
water bottles1.8$162 1L Platypus roll-ups.
no problems.
soda bottles1.2$02 .6L hard.
cheap, easy, light, no problems.
water0-12.1lb.5.5L on the longest stretch, 2.2lb/L
down coat21$120my big splurge. Used it every night as soon as the sun set.
long-sleeve shirt9wore every day and the shoulders have worn through from the pack straps.
gaiters1.4$19Dirty Girl gaiters
BSA zip-off pants17.2wore every day.
liner socks2.82pr.
BSA socks3.82pr. ankle socks
shoes28$32one pair wore out after 450 miles. Second pair doing fine.
underwear4.22pr. wore them out
BSA hat3.5wore it every day with homemade sun shield.
bandanna1.0only used a couple times
BSA t-shirt5.6for in-town wear
BSA short pants11.9for in-town wear
long underwear12.4top & bottom
cellphone4.3cellphone borrowed from friend. Worked super for blogging daily with pictures.
camera5.4old digital SONY
tracker5.1pings to satellite with my location. Batteries lasted about 10-14 days when on for 12 hours/day.
solar charger7.3trek poles Kept cellphone charged just fine. Stopped working in Grand Canyon and still broken.
umbrella8.1$35used about 8 days for desert sun. Worked wonderfully to keep cool.
pedometer.6$25pedometer wore every day to track steps.
rain poncho1.7$2cheap disposable. Used twice in snow.
maps2$25Arizona Trail mapsup to 1 week of maps at a time. Used all the time to track location.
1st aid kit2.3used for blisters
pad repair kit.4used to patch water bottle
compass1.1only used 2 or 3 times.
knife1.1tiny, single blade.
toothbrush1.3includes paste
ear plugs0never used
50ft. core1.5used once to hang food
toilet kit2.8TP, Purell - had trowel at start, but left it.
trek poles19.4$30trek poles inexpensive and wore out the tips. Should have lasted longer. Used to support shelter also.
headlamp.5$11Photon microlight Awesome photon light. Batteries lasted about 12 hours, so I replaced each week.
Stick Pic.4self-pictures and videos
misc.2.82 garbage bags, whistle, clippers, thermometer
4lbs were worn, not in pack
15lb pack weight
2 to 13lb food & water
17 to 28lb - total pack weight
My FoodMy daily menu was:
  • Breakfast: 2 poptarts - 400 calories
  • Lunch: peanut butter and honey mixed, on ritz crackers - 650 calories
  • Snacks: Trail mix - 750, 2 candy bars - 560 calories
  • Dinner: Knorr noodles or rice, salmon or tuna or chicken pouch, 1 oz. olive oil - 700 calories
  • Drink: mostly water, gatorade - 100 calories
  • Daily vitamin
That is about 3100 calories/day. Every 3 to 6 days, I went through a town and got real food. I bought apples, oranges, bananas, sandwiches, salad, meat, pizza, milk shakes, and consumed around 6,000 calories those days.
For the last 10 days, I left my cook kit behind to lighten my load and only ate cold food, replacing the dinner with 2 Snickers bars. But, I had access to restaurants and fresh food often, too.
My ExpensesThis is very close, but I expect there were a couple other expenses. The $$/mile is high because travel to/from the trail was expensive. A longer trail would have that base cost distributed over more miles.
  • travel - $565 - air MSP to Tucson $210, trailend to Phoenix $200, air Phoenix to MSP - $155
  • gear - $350 - I got lots of birthday and Christmas presents so had little expense for gear
  • maps - $25 - terrific mapset from covered the entire trail and profits go to the AZT Association.
  • food - $294 - groceries in towns and for the trail
  • restaurants - $170.68
  • lodging - $352.48 - Patagonia $89.74, Patagonia $89.74, Oracle $42.64, Mormon Lake $58.18, Jacob Lake $72.18. Stayed with friends and Scouting families about 8 nights.
  • Grand Canyon camping - $21 - $6 at Mather campground, $15 at Cottonwood camp
  • fun - $486.57 - thank you meals with host families, going out on the town zero days and after trek.
  • souvenirs - $29 - BSA patch set
  • shipping - $36.49 - bounce box and shoes
  • Total - $2350 - almost $3/mile.
    $2.50/mile without gear costs since I can still use that.
    $1.10/mile for food and lodging.
You Askedquestions you asked about my hike. Got one? - Ask It


Arizona Trail Statistics

Distance800 miles - trail reroutes happen so this is an estimate of the trail length.
Total Elevation
TerminusSouth: Coronado Nat'l monument on Mexican border
North:Utah border
Highest PointAZ Snow Bowl on San Francisco mountain, about 9270ft
Lowest PointGila river, 1700ft

Click for Large Map
Terraindesert with high daily temperatures and low night temperature. Travel through mountain ranges as well as many miles of fairly level plateaus. Many prickly, scratchy plants which can be hard on clothing. The trail is complete, but not well-traveled in spots.
Historydesignated in 2009 and completed in 2011.
Challengeswater sources are scarce, extreme temperature fluctuations from day to night, potential dangers from illegal alien traffic at southern end, rim-to-rim of Grand Canyon, common snow cover north of Grand Canyon
Time WindowFebruary to May. Start too early and you'll be hampered by deep snow, too late and the desert will have no water. Most thru-hikers go March through April, northbound.
Time to HikeTypically takes 40-50 days. Speed record set in 2011 is 21 days.
PermitsSaguaro National Park and Grand Canyon National Park require permits for camping. An optional AZT permit can be obtained to allow the thru-hiker to camp outside a 15-foot corridor along the trail through State Land Trust areas.
(I purchased this permit to support the AZT, but I have no idea why anyone would ever need it.)
Thru-hiker Tallyless than 100, no award or recognition for thru-hiking or section hiking


Trail Links

Google EarthView Trail with google earth
Full Maps
AgenciesArizona Trail Association

Land Managers of the Arizona Trail

Forest Service - Coronado, Tonto, Coconino, Kaibab 73%
Arizona State Land Department11%
National Park Service7.3%
Bureau of Land Management5.0%
County / Municipal2.1%
Arizona State Parks0.5%
arizona trail patch
ATA patch
arizona trail boy scout patch
Boy Scout patch set
(click patch for large view)

Hike On: My Hikes

 Mar 08, 2012 - Brad Reily
Hi Paul,I've been looking at your website and I'm very impressed,Colton can learn so much from you. I will be providing breakfast and dinner for you guys for the 3 or 4 days that i am with you so plan on that. I will also have a solar shower available if needed.
Later, Brad  
Mar 25, 2012 - Linda Herzog
Love the site!  Hope all is going well and you are loving it!  Big day yesterday as Lindsey got married! Linda Herzog
Mar 25, 2012 - Hiking Dude
Thanks, Linda.  And, congratulations!
Mar 28, 2012 - math.guy
It appears you are taking 2,210.8 steps per mile which means you get 2.388 feet per step.  If you could increase this distance just 3 inches, you would have saved 38652 steps so far.
Apr 08, 2012 - Randy Howell
I've just discovered your web site. I live in Phoenix and started hiking a year ago. I'm impressed with all the work you've done and appreciate your tips for a beginner. Good luck on the AZ hike!
Apr 13, 2012 - L.O.T.P. 2007 A.T.
When I zoom in on the map I can not see you.  Please wave your arms or something.  

Just kidding...  Your pages are so awesome!

I know you're having a great time.
Apr 10, 2015 - Jamie
Just found your site. I'm solo thru-hiking the AZT next year, Spring 2016. Thanks for posting all of this! I'm a little inexperienced, so this helps immensely. :)

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