Explore the best backpacking trails in Arizona with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
tough hike, but beautiful. start early!
I've done this hike/run several times. It's always fantastic. Definitely just a hike for most, as it's no joke in terrain and elevation increases, but you can jog occasionally. There's a perfect N/S road on the south side of the trail that's a perfect 4 mile marker that you can see off in the distance as well.
From the Carney Springs parking lot, head out down the wide flat pathway that leads right to the base of the mountains. Pass through the wilderness boundary (.6 miles) and stick to the right at your first junction. The trail will try to pull you to the left in which you will end up at the Wave Cave. It's very easy to get off-trail here past here. You will want to be headed as though you are bee lining for the wash to the right. The trail loosely follows parallel to the wash as it climbs.
Once you start climbing, you don't stop! In fact, it gets steeper as you go! Around 1.5 miles you will reach a false summit, but don't be disheartened as it offers a welcome breaking point and majestic views of what you just climbed. From here you can see the trail ahead - almost a white line that looks like you will need a ladder to scale it! Go get it! It's only about .3 miles to the next saddle, but you will be working for it. Snap a photo with the famous "Carney TH 1.8 mi" sign and take a moment to plan the next stage of your adventure.
This is the part of the journey where you will have to start paying special attention to the cairns as the trail winds, drops, turns, climbs and crosses a wash (2.5 miles). You will be humping up and over a couple hills until you reach a junction with the 3 Sisters Trail at 3.5 miles. From here you will go left and head up to the top of the ridge that you were just on the side of. It's one mile from here and you will reach the Three Sisters peak with awesome views in all directions.
Its a long and grueling hike but getting to the top makes it worth it.
Really crowded hike. You won't have much seclusion on this popular hike in the South Rim. Though it is centrally located in the park so it makes sense. It has good views though not the most stunning in the park. It makes for a good workout and training if you're looking to backpack long distances. Be good to your knees and bring trekking poles!
It was my first time at the Grand Canyon. I had the best adventure ever! Incredible group of people! Great weather! Amazing hiking! I will do it again. The Canyon is a magic place where in same way you would find yourself and you would be proud of something bigger than you. At night...the stars will reveal, and the silence of the Canyon will tell you the secrets of it magic.
L W. on Hells Gate Trail
Went in doing a day hike. Did 5 miles in. Definitely will go back. The views were beautiful. Bring enough water. The uphill and downhill on the rocks can be a little tricky. So worth it!