Matthew J. Nelson

Executive Director with Arizona Trail Association


Matthew Nelson is the Executive Director of the Arizona Trail Association. Among his contributions to the Arizona National Scenic Trail over the past 20 years are trail design, archaeological surveys, trail construction, and explorations of the AZT on foot, mountain bike and horseback. He accepted the position of Executive Director in 2012 and is helping guide the organization as its primary goal shifts from building trail to protecting, maintaining, promoting and sustaining the trail as a unique encounter with the land.

Matthew has worked as an outdoor educator, professional backpacking and mountain biking guide, archaeologist, Native American tribal liaison, editor and freelance photojournalist. He has more than 500 published articles to his credit and is the primary author of Your Complete Guide to the Arizona National Scenic Trail and the Arizona Trail Junior Explorer Handbook.

An explorer of high mountains, deep canyons, vast deserts and diverse cultures, his wanderlust has led him to nearly every continent in search of adventure. Matthew speaks fluent English and Spanish and lives in the Sierrita Mountains southwest of Tucson with his daughter, Mariposa.

Contact: [email protected]