Arizona is a trail runner’s dream. With an average of 300 days of sunshine, a variety of terrain, and scenic views from the top, hitting the trails in Arizona has something to offer every level of runner.
Runners who wish to improve their performance often look to hiking and cross training to improve their skills and reduce risk of injury. Hiking on all different terrains can strengthen supporting muscles of the foot and ankle and generally helps improve running in several ways.
Hiking uneven trails with a variety of terrain is also a great way to build balance, strength and endurance.
“Another way to use walking to build endurance is to set a time goal and work backward,” according to Active.com. “Say you run a 10K in 50 minutes. It’s reasonable to assume you could do a half marathon in a little less than two hours. That said, you can build your endurance by running/walking for about two hours every other week. “
Whether you’re looking to improve speed times, strength or endurance, you’ll want to enter to win a new pair of running shoes to ‘Celebrate the Sweat’ on the following hiking trails.
Camelback Mountain Via Echo Canyon Trail
Located near Scottsdale, this trail can be busy but it’s worth the hike for a challenging workout and some of the most beautiful wild desert flowers in bloom. The trail is 2.4 miles out and back and is often filled with hikers all season long. If you’re looking for a less extreme climb, check out the more moderate Cholla Trail on the other side of Camelback.
If you’re looking to get out of the Valley for a change of scenery, head up to Flagstaff to check out the Elden Lookout Trail. This out and back trail comes in at 4.7 miles and can be considered a difficult level climb. Peak times to visit are April through November, and it’s a great option if you need to cool down and train at higher elevation.
Holbert- South Mountain
Be ready to get your uphill game strong. A 3.8-mile moderate hike from Holbert Trail to Dobbins Lookout in Phoenix is a great training trail that isn’t too strenuous but will offer a variety of uphill conditions along the way. Keep an eye out for ancient Rock Art and Petroglyphs along the route for a bit of culture.
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial trail
This trail is ideal for endurance trailing at 6.3 miles out and back in Yarnell, Arizona. Gong round trip will take you 4-plus hours, so bring your gear and lot of water to get ready for the long haul. You’ll experience a 1,200 ft. elevation gain and over 200 stairs to make it to the lookout point.
- This trail is dedicated to the 19 brave firefighters that lost their lives protecting the area from the Yarnell Wildfire in 2013. There is a memorial at the end of it and plaques along the way dedicated to each of these hero’s sacrifices.
This trail is one of the most popular in Scottsdale for a reason. At 4 miles out and back, there are runners and hikers of all levels that hit up Tom’s Thumb all season long. As you make your way through some short switchbacks, the payoff is incredible views from the top that show off urban Phoenix and the South McDowell Mountains.
These are just a few of the trails that can help you ‘Celebrate the Sweat.’ Finish your run strong no matter where you are with a low carb, ice cold Corona Premier and don’t forget to text HIKE to 620-620 for your chance to lace up a new pair of running shoes.