A sampling of National Recreation Trails in the news or recently designated. The NRT program showcases the diversity of trails across America, from our cities and suburbs to the deserts, waterways, and high mountains.
Every kind of trail activity is represented in the listing of designated NRTs. Besides hiking and bicycling, the system includes water trails, motorized routes, snow tracks, greenways, and equestrian paths.
Search all of Arizona's designated National Recreation Trails in the Online NRT Database
Students learning about snakes on the Bureau of Land
Management's Betty's Kitchen Interpretive Trail near Yuma
Arivaca Cienega Trail — Located on the eastern edge of Arivaca, this wheelchair accessible, backcountry trail extends over a mile in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. Cienegas, Spanish for "a hundred waters," are spring-fed marshes particularly rare in the deserts of Arizona, attracting a variety of birds and other wildlife. In addition to its scenic features, this trail allows visitors the chance to see subtropical species, including gray hawks, tropical kingbirds, black-bellied whistling ducks, and the occasional green kingfisher (designated 2005).
Arivaca Creek Trail — Located in Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, this backcountry trail is a naturalist's paradise, meandering over a mile beneath giant cottonwoods. The trail allows visitors the opportunity to hear and see an abundance of bird life, including occasional subtropical species such as the northern beardless tyrannulet or thick-billed kingbird. Given the opportunities for hiking and wildlife observation, it is easy to see why this scenic trail is a valued local treasure (designated 2005).
Aspen Spring Trail — Located in Hualapai Mountain Park, this 10-mile backcountry trail system takes visitors through a variety of natural settings, beginning in a wet canyon at 6,200 feet and ending on mountain peaks rising to 8,250 feet. The trail was built in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps and passes though a number of vegetative "life zones" including riparian, chaparral, pine/oak, mixed conifer and fir/aspen habitats. In addition to amazing views of both the desert and mountain ranges, this trail provides opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding (designated 2004).
Along the Prescott Peavine Trail (photo by Cindi La Bash)
Betty's Kitchen Interpretive Trail — This natural surfaced 1/2 mile foot trail threading through the desert riparian environment of the Lower Colorado River offers visitors a unique taste of the area's natural resources and settlement history. It focuses upon mammals, migratory birds, and flora specific to the riverbank environment. The trail overlooks Laguna Dam near Yuma,, the first dam built on the Colorado River.
Black Canyon Trail – Located in the Bradshaw Mountain foothills of central Arizona and managed by a diverse partnership led by the Bureau of Land Management, this world-class hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trail system stretches over 62 miles, benefiting both residents of the Black Canyon Corridor and visitors from metropolitan Phoenix (designated 2008).
Central Arizona Project — The Central Arizona Project (CAP) Trail is a 32-mile shared-use trail (currently under construction) is part of a larger vision to create a recreational trail stretching the entire 336 miles of the Central Arizona Project canal. The trail serves a broad population and represents a key link to major trails in Pima County and the Tucson metro area. Residents enjoy close-to-home outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The CAP project is one of several cross-state trails planned for various regions of America (designated 2003).
South Kaibab Traill (photo by Christopher Spencer)
Painted Desert Trail — This backcountry trail extends over a mile through Imperial National Wildlife Refuge. The unique name comes from the pink, orange, and brown mounds of ash flow created by volcanoes thousands of years ago. Home to unique desert plants and animals, the trail is a naturalist's paradise. Visitors enjoy the opportunity to observe beavertail cactus, desert bighorn sheep, and lizards amidst unusual rock formations. Given the opportunities for natural history interpretation and wildlife observation, it is easy to see why this scenic trail is a valued local treasure (designated 2005).
Palm Canyon Trail — Located in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, this 0.5-mile backcountry trail provides the opportunity to explore an area of rugged beauty and perhaps the only place in the state where native California Fan Palms can be found (designated 2007).
Prescott Peavine Trail — Prescott, Arizona's first multi-use, non-motorized trail is for all ages. This scenic rail-trail has already been recognized as part of the Arizona State Trails System and Prescott's Mile-High Trail System. The trail acts as a year-round transportation route, allowing visitors to enjoy the area's natural beauty while participating in a number of outdoor recreation activities. When completed, this 12-mile trail along a historic railroad route will serve as a link to other trail systems in nearby Chino Valley and Prescott Valley.
South Kaibab Trail — runs seven miles along the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park (designated 1981).