Arizona has some of the best hiking in the Southwest. You don’t have to head out on an epic all-day hike to experience some of the state’s most amazing landscapes, either.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of hiking trails to choose from in Arizona. And it’s especially hard to choose a trail if you’re new to hiking or you’re traveling with kids. 

We’ve put together a list of some of the best mellow hikes in Arizona that not only offer incredible views but also keep you from getting in-over-your-head with a ton of miles or crazy inclines.

We’ve included hikes from all corners of the state — from family-friendly forays into Chiricahua National Monument and Saguaro National Park to easy jaunts near Sedona and Flagstaff. Here are our picks for the best easy day hikes in Arizona. 

1. South Rim Trail (Grand Canyon National Park)

photo courtesy of  instagram/ilkamayela

photo courtesy of instagram/ilkamayela

  • Length: 13 miles (21 kilometers) one-way (go as little or as far as you want) 

  • Elevation Gain: 200 feet

  • Dogs Allowed: No

  • Reservations Required: No (A $30 per car entrance fee is required to enter the park)

  • Nearest City: Flagstaff 

  • Trailhead Location: South Rim Trail

The trail passes by many of the Grand Canyon’s most famous scenic overlooks, including the Pipe Creek Vista and Mohave Point.

The South Rim Trail is great for visitors looking for a simple hike with excellent views down into the Grand Canyon. Part of the trail is paved and wheelchair accessible. 

You can do an easy out-and-back from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center or hike as far as you’d like to go and catch the shuttle bus (which has 13 stops along the trail) back to where you started. 

photo courtesy of  instagram/cassandraallred

photo courtesy of instagram/cassandraallred

If you’re longing to venture into the depths of the canyon, keep in mind there are really no easy trails below the rim. Each year, hundreds of hikers need to be rescued after underestimating how difficult it is to hike back up after wandering too far into the canyon. The amazing views can make it difficult to keep track of how far you’ve hiked down!

That being said, if you still want to venture below the rim, go with the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Ahh Point. It’s one of the shortest and least strenuous hikes into the canyon, and every step offers incredible views culminating at a dramatic view of the eastern part of the canyon. 

Just keep in mind you’ll need to climb the 600 feet back up to the rim to get back to the trailhead!

2. Aspen Nature Loop

  • Length: 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) round trip

  • Elevation Gain: 300

  • Dogs Allowed: Yes

  • Reservations Required: No

  • Nearest City: Flagstaff

  • Trailhead Location: Humprey’s Peak Trail

Located at the western base of the San Francisco Peaks just outside of Flagstaff, the Aspen Nature Loop offers a wonderful introduction to the Humphreys Peak area. 

The San Francisco Peaks are what’s leftover from an extinct volcano complex. At 12,635 feet tall, Humphreys Peak is the tallest mountain in Arizona. 

The 2.5-mile Aspen Nature Loop Trail is one of the most popular family-friendly hikes near Flagstaff. The trail is accessed from the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort parking lot — just look for the signs for “Humphreys Trail.”

This gentle trail meanders through wildflower-filled meadows and aspen-lined forest on the lower slopes of the San Francisco Peaks. Although the trail is relatively flat, the elevation is over 8,000 feet, so the hike can feel harder if you’re not acclimated to the higher elevation. Make sure to drink plenty of water and pack a few salty snacks to keep your energy up!

The Aspen Nature Loop also happens to be one of the best fall colors hikes near Flagstaff thanks to its abundance of aspen trees. It’s a great way to escape the heat during the summer months, too.

3. Boynton Vista Trail 

Photo courtesy of  instagram/meghanlaurie 

Photo courtesy of instagram/meghanlaurie 

  • Length: 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) round trip 

  • Elevation Gain: 117 feet

  • Dogs Allowed: Yes

  • Reservations Required: No

  • Nearest City: Sedona

  • Trailhead Location: Boynton Canyon Trail

This short hike from the Boynton Canyon Trailhead leads to the base of the Boynton Spire, a huge red sandstone formation believed to radiate energy from the center of the earth. 

These vortexes are what draws many new-age visitors to Sedona. Boynton Spires is one of the most easily-accessible vortexes in the area, making it a popular spot for hikers and photographers.

photo courtesy of  instagram/donkeyone3

photo courtesy of instagram/donkeyone3

Vortexes are thought to have either masculine or feminine energies. The Boynton Canyon vortex is thought to have both, making it the ideal spot for balancing relationship energies. It’s not uncommon to find people meditating or engaged in other types of spiritual energy work at the end of the trail, which is just part of the experience!  

To get there, start at the Boynton Canyon Trailhead about eight miles northwest of Sedona. A few hundred feet into the trail, the Boynton Canyon Vista Trail splits off to the right. It’s only a half-mile of easy hiking to the base of Boynton Spire.

If you want to explore a bit more, you can venture up the Boynton Canyon Trail where you’ll find several other alleged vortex sites.

4. Horseshoe Bend Trail (Page)

photo courtesy of  instagram/jordanpizzo_19

photo courtesy of instagram/jordanpizzo_19

  • Length: 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) out-and-back

  • Elevation Gain: 380 feet

  • Dogs Allowed: Yes

  • Reservations Required: No ($10 entry fee for cars required) 

  • Nearest City: Page, Arizona 

  • Trailhead Location: Horseshoe Bend Overlook Trail

This horseshoe-shaped bend in the Colorado River outside of Page, Arizona, has been made world-famous thanks to Instagram and is among the most iconic photo spots in Arizona

What was once a seldom-visited sight near the Utah-Arizona border is now a bustling attraction with a parking fee and a new fence to keep people from falling off the cliff while taking that must-get selfie.

No photo can really do justice of how amazing this view is in-person, so it’s totally worth the hike (despite the popularity). Visit at sunrise to avoid the crowds!

Although it’s only 1.5 miles round-trip to Horseshoe Bend, don’t underestimate the trip. There’s no shade and a few climbs are necessary, so you’ll want to pack plenty of water and avoid the trail midday if you’re visiting in the summer. 

The trail is very well-marked and leashed dogs are allowed. The hike is suitable for children and adults of all abilities and makes a great stopping point if you’re traveling between the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon.   

5. Echo Canyon Grottoes (Chiricahua National Monument) 

  • Length: 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) out-and-back

  • Elevation Gain

  • Dogs Allowed: No

  • Reservations Required: No

  • Nearest City: Wilcox, Arizona 

  • Trailhead Location: Echo Canyon Trailhead

Hiking to the Echo Canyon Grottoes is one of the most popular adventures in the Chiricahua National Monument. It provides the perfect introduction to this wonderland of volcanic pinnacles, and is great for kids and hikers of all abilities.  

This gentle 1-mile, out-and-back trail leads to a series of grottoes, which are cave-like passageways that are super fun to explore. Kids will enjoy playing hide and see among the bizarre rock formations, and adults will find themselves equally fascinated by these unusual volcanic formations carved by wind and water over thousands of years. 

You can also continue on and hike the entire 3.3-mile Echo Canyon Loop, which descends to the surprisingly lush valley floor.   

6. Freeman Homestead Trail (Saguaro National Park) 

photo courtesy of  instagram/r4clicks

photo courtesy of instagram/r4clicks

  • Length: 1.1 mile (1.6 kilometers) loop

  • Elevation Gain: 108 feet 

  • Dogs Allowed: No

  • Reservations Required: No ($25 per car fee required to enter the park)

  • Nearest City: Tucson

  • Trailhead Location: Freeman Homestead Trail

Located in the Sonoran Desert just outside of Tucson, Saguaro National Park preserves a large stretch of desert landscape, including the giant saguaro cactus. This tree-like cactus characterized by upward bending arms can reach heights of over 40 feet (12 meters) and live as long as 200 years.

For views of some of the largest and oldest saguaros in the park, hike this easy 1-mile trail in the East Rincon Mountain District of the park. While not much more than the foundations of the original Freeman Homestead remains, hikers will learn a lot about what it took to make a home in the desert through the interpretive signs scattered along the trail.  

The Freeman Homestead Trail is a great option for children, and interpretive signage offer special exploration activities for kiddos. The dirt trail is mostly, flat but does have a few rolling hills and rock staircases in spots.  

Best Places to Camp in Arizona

After a long night on the trail, you’ll need a comfortable place to hang up your hat and kick up your boots. 

Check out our picks for the best places to camp in Arizona, including such noteworthy spots as Lost Dutchman and Lake Havasu State Parks. >