The Ultimate Guide to Resupply and Towns on the Arizona Trail

One of the best and simultaneously worst things about the AZT has to be the preponderance of towns along the way. Some may even hazard to say that there’s an excess at times, which can either be great or terrible, depending on how you look at it.  Ultimately, this makes for a hike that can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be.

It’s really not entirely necessary to stop at every town on the AZT. Does that mean you shouldn’t? Well, who’s to say.

Having hiked the AZT two years in a row now (it’s a long story), I feel like I’ve gotten to know a lot of the towns on a pretty personal level. I went NOBO in the spring both times, but I can also say with relative confidence that resupplying on the Arizona Trail is almost always easy.

The Arizona Trail Association (ATA) has done a really admirable job of planning the trail according to the availability of both water and resupply points. Plus, getting to experience the full spectrum of depressed former mining towns in the middle of the desert all the way up to extremely wealthy mountain resort towns is a nice microcosm of Arizona’s socioeconomic stratifications. The availability of a decent resupply is often directly related to this, but you know, at the end of the day, that just makes for a more dynamic thru-hike.

Note to SOBOs: I laid this guide out in a way that I hope will serve southbound hikers in the fall as well, but you’ll have to start it from the bottom. My apologies to y’all for that.

 

Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair.

Good to Know

Here are a few general things to keep in mind when planning an AZT thru-hike:

  • Food and lodging get increasingly unaffordable the further north you go. The southern half of the AZT is undeniably cheaper than the northern half, for the most part. This is probably because the northern half is a lot of second homes and Grand Canyon runoff, whereas the southern half is generally less developed.
  • A lot of towns only have one place to stay. Some don’t really even have any at all (Pine, AZ I’m looking at you.) As such, lodging can often get competitive in high season. Be prepared to hitch to a nearby town, make reservations in advance, or camp somewhere outside of town.
  • Everybody loves Flagstaff. If it’s not the weekend, you can stay anywhere in Flagstaff, you can eat anywhere, and you can do anything there. If it IS the weekend, you might not be able to do any of those, or you’ll at least be paying more for it. Besides this, if you’re hiking northbound, Flagstaff is a great place to send or buy a second pair of shoes since it’s 550 miles in, and the independent outfitters and REI are both right off the AZT.
  • North in the spring, South in the Fall. Based on the amount of snow that the northern half of the AZT receives, plus how unbearably hot it can be in the southern half, nearly everyone chooses to do their hike one of these two ways. Otherwise, you’ll be post-holing for 30 miles down a road outside the Grand Canyon. Or you’ll fry like an egg by a lovely saguaro.

All mileage is from FarOut’s Arizona Trail guide.

The Best Resupply Towns on the Arizona Trail

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Tucson or Sierra Vista (Mile 0 NOBO / 781.6 SOBO)
Patagonia (Mile 50.2 NOBO / 731.5 SOBO)
Vail or Tucson (Mile or 104.9 NOBO / 676.6 SOBO)
Colossal Cave (Mile 117.3 NOBO / 664.4 SOBO)
Tucson, again (Mile 158.8 NOBO / 622.8 SOBO)
Summerhaven (Mount Lemmon) (Mile 181 NOBO / 600.8 SOBO)
Oracle (American Flag TH Mile 195 NOBO / 586.7 SOBO) or (Highway 77 Mile 201.8 NOBO / 580 SOBO)
Kearny (Mile 257.8 NOBO / 523.8 SOBO)
Superior(Mile 294.3 NOBO / 487.3 SOBO)
Roosevelt Lake(Mile 337.8 NOBO / 443.8 SOBO)
Payson (Mile 378.5 NOBO / 402.7 SOBO)
Pine / Strawberry (Mile 450.3 NOBO / 331.4 SOBO)
Mormon Lake(Mile 523.2 NOBO / 258.4 SOBO)
Flagstaff (Mile ~560 or 574.2 NOBO / ~207 SOBO)
Tusayan (Mile 676.3 NOBO / 105.3 SOBO)
Mather Campground / Grand Canyon Village(Mile 682.6 NOBO / 99 SOBO)
Jacob Lake (Mile 754.7 NOBO / 26.9 SOBO)
State Line Campground / Kanab / Page / wherever (Mile 781.6 NOBO / 0 SOBO)
The AZT Trail Angel List

Tucson or Sierra Vista (Mile 0 NOBO / 781.6 SOBO)

All politics aside, this is probably the most existentially confused trailhead in existence.

  • The hardest part is starting (and ending). If you’re going NOBO, the only way to effectively reach the Mexican border and the southern terminus of the AZT is by flying into Tucson. From there you can either go straight to the terminus or you can stop in Sierra Vista. If you’re going to rely on Uber, then you pretty much have to splash out three figures to get a ride straight from Tucson, because there are no Ubers in Sierra Vista. Otherwise, there’s a great directory of trail angels on the ATA’s website.

Hiking into snow right after the Mexican border two years in a row was unexpected. This was in late March both times.

Tucson is a really great city with all available amenities at an affordable price. In fact, it’s so nice that I may have visited it once or twice more further along in the trail, because there are a few different access points and it’s so hard to say no to all that glorious Mexican food.

Favorite place to eat: Tumerico is a local gem that has some of the weirdest and most delicious food I’ve ever eaten anywhere, and I’m not even vegan. Alternatively, if you’ve never had Culver’s before, you may as well start here. The cheese curds are one of the most calorie-friendly hiker foods on any trail, and true to their midwestern beginnings, it’s basically just unlimited dairy.

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Patagonia (Mile 50.2 NOBO / 731.5 SOBO)

A nice sample of a few of the demographics you might encounter at one of the two bars in town.

  • Easy to get to? As of writing this, the AZT passes right through Patagonia. Although it will soon be re-routed a couple miles north in order to bypass the road walks that bookend each side of the town. Either way, a resupply here is super easy.
  • Walkable? It’s a fairly tiny, walkable town, and it seems that everyone there is very accustomed to seeing hikers, so a hitch wouldn’t be out of the question either. Plus Mary at Terra Sol was letting hikers use a few bikes to get around, which was sweet.

Patagonia is a great trail town. The only problem is that you’ll probably have to split your resupply between the market and the health foods store. Both are small places that don’t quite offer everything, but between the two it’s not hard to make it work.

Favorite place to eat: A general consensus among a lot of hikers in the last two years is that El Pancho Villa has the best vegan burrito on trail (it was massive and pretty unique). Otherwise, Velvet Elvis Pizza had some seriously tasty pizza and was super accommodating & friendly with a large group of hikers too.

READ NEXT – The Arizona Trail: The 800-Mile Backbone of Arizona

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Vail or Tucson (Mile or 104.9 NOBO / 676.6 SOBO)

  • Easy to get to? It would be a fairly easy hitch from mile 104.9, not so much from the interstate at 109.4. Otherwise you’ll have to arrange a ride, either with a trail angel or Uber, if you want to go into town here.
  • Walkable? Vail isn’t a very walkable place, as it’s mostly just a Tucson suburb. But luckily all the accommodations are close to Safeway, so it’s not too bad. If you’re going into Tucson here then you’re on your own.

If you don’t like getting off trail to resupply, then I’d recommend skipping these spots. Most folks mail a resupply package to Colossal Cave (mile 117.3) since it’s not much further and it’s right off trail. Sometimes the weather isn’t cooperating though, or sometimes you just gotta eat some fast food, I get it.

Favorite place to eat: Taco Bell, no question. Whoever invented those little Cinnabon® Delights™ deserves a Nobel Prize.

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Colossal Cave (Mile 117.3 NOBO / 664.4 SOBO)

  • Easy to get to? It’s just 0.3 miles off trail up to the visitors’ center
  • Walkable? Really it’s just the visitor’s center, a margarita stand, and a cave, so yes, absolutely.

This is the more popular resupply option for most AZT hikers, as opposed to coordinating a ride into Vail or Tucson. The visitors’ center will hold your package for free, and you don’t have to worry about figuring out how to get to and from trail. The lovely folks who work here also take pride in how stacked their hiker box is, so that’s also sweet.

Add to that: the margarita cart and the shaded rest area make for a great mid-day break. The cart sells more than just margaritas, like mini pizzas and chips and stuff, but honestly we know what the people want.

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Tucson, again (Mile 158.8 NOBO / 622.8 SOBO)

  • Easy to get to? There’s no cell service here, so you’d have to hitch. But, that being said, the Catalina highway at this mile marker will take you directly down into Tucson. And if you hit the highway in the afternoon, you probably wouldn’t have too much trouble getting down into town. We made it down for lunch and then took an Uber back up, which was admittedly a little ridiculous and maybe superfluous.

Do you really need to go into Tucson here? Probably not. Especially since there are easier resupplies 1-2 days away on both ends. But hey, the option is there if you need it.

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Summerhaven (Mount Lemmon) (Mile 181 NOBO / 600.8 SOBO)

  • Easy to get to? The trail passes straight through town. The trail IS the town.
  • Walkable? It might be a bit spread out along the one road, but since it’s all on the AZT itself, I’d still say yes.

Since the AZT passes directly through Summerhaven, the general store here is a very logical resupply for hikers. Although, that being said, the resupply in Oracle’s Dollar General is ostensibly cheaper. So if you’re looking to save a few bucks, or if you’re arriving here at weird hours, it’s totally understandable to skip this town.

Summerhaven itself is a very rapidly developing ski/mountain town for weekenders out of Tucson. You might have to compete with droves of cyclists and OHV tourists for a table at one of the two restaurants, and you probably don’t even want to look at the price tag for one of the hundreds of brand-spanking-new cabin rentals. That said, the general store has all the essentials for a resupply, and there are still some lovely people in this town. Plus, where else is it still socially acceptable to sleep in a post office?!

Favorite place to eat: If you can manage the miracle of arriving in this town during the extremely limited opening hours of all the businesses, I’d say the Sawmill Run was the better option over the Cookie Cabin. You either pay $16 for a subpar burger at Sawmill Run or $35 for a subpar pizza at the Cookie Cabin. If you’re just in it for a giant cookie though, then you know where to go.

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Oracle (American Flag TH Mile 195 NOBO / 586.7 SOBO) or (Highway 77 Mile 201.8 NOBO / 580 SOBO)

Climb aboard the DD express for one of the wildest rides of your life.

  • Easy to get to? Moderately. There are some lovely trail angels who will pick up from American Flag Trailhead, or it’s a fairly easy hitch from highway 77.
  • Walkable? The town itself isn’t really walkable. But fortunately, the two most essential stops–the Mexican restaurant and Dollar General—are right across from each other.

Oracle also makes a lot of sense as a resupply point, as it’s much more affordable than Summerhaven. The contrast between the two towns is pretty crazy, given how close they are to each other, but I really enjoyed them both in different ways. It’s got everything a hiker needs, and it’s really easy to spend however much time you want here. Either an hour or a day are both totally reasonable options.

Favorite place to eat: Casa Rivera, the Mexican joint across from Dollar General, is where it’s at. This burrito was absolutely egregious. I don’t even think it’s possible to get more than halfway through it before packing the rest out. And I think it was only like eight bucks or something. Unbelievable.

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Kearny (Mile 257.8 NOBO / 523.8 SOBO)

  • Easy to get to? Super easy. Don’t be fooled by the map. Although it looks like it’s a bit out of the way, there are a number of Trail Angels in Kearny who are always giving rides to and from town.
  • Walkable? Entirely

Kearny is a true trail town, and I would argue that it’s an essential stop along the AZT. It’s totally fine if you just want to go in for lunch at the pizza place and to sign the hiker banner, but you can also have a great stay at the General Kearny Inn. Given the mileage, and the ease of access, a lot of folks choose to take a zero here. The grocery store also has the most exhaustive selection along the trail up to this point, plus they give free coffee and donuts to hikers. The generosity in Kearny is really something special, and pretty much everyone I met had a great experience there.

Favorite place to eat: Old Time Pizza is definitely ground zero for hikers in town. Even if it wasn’t my favorite slice on the trail, Gary (the retired owner turned trail angel) does so much for hikers that it’s still absolutely worth the stop to sign the banner. Plus, they do cold mugs of draft beer for $2, which almost feels like cheating.

Sorry I blocked y’all’s faces, I didn’t know if I had your permission to post this. I left Gary though, because he’s probably cool with it, and @whereisjadaa (credit to her for this photo).

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Superior (Mile 294.3 NOBO / 487.3 SOBO)

  • Easy to get to? Very easy hitch into town, or plenty of trail angels/business owners who are willing to pick up at the trailhead
  • Walkable? You’ll have to do a small bit of walking to get between lodging, resupply, and restaurants. But ultimately it’s still walkable.

Superior is pretty much an essential stop on trail as well. It’s a classic western example of the “former mining town that appears to be changing quite rapidly.” The newly renovated boutique hotel, the wine bar, the farmers market, and the generally very quaint main street all offer testament to this. Regardless, the local grocery has a decent selection, and the holdover restaurants along the highway are delicious and affordable. There is a good range of accommodation options too, so you can pretty much have any kind of experience you like here. That’s always a positive thing.

Favorite place to eat: Food-wise, Jalapeños no. 2 had huge portions and kept the soda refills coming. They’re family-owned and were super friendly with a lot of great info about the history of the town. They don’t have a liquor license though, so if you’re in the market for a marg then you have to go down the street to Los Hermanos, which seems to have a negative reputation on the trail for whatever reason. We had a good time there, at any rate. Great jukebox.

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Roosevelt Lake (Mile 337.8 NOBO / 443.8 SOBO)

The one, singular picnic table in front of the marina. It should be put in a museum when it’s retired, along with the tiny square of AstroTurf next to it. (Credit @jessicahikes)

  • Easy to get to? It’s a short detour off-trail to get here, and since it’s the only place around for days in either direction, you know you’re going anyway.
  • Walkable? The marina and visitors’ center are all extremely close. But it’s another 0.3 down to the swimming area of the lake.

Roosevelt Lake isn’t really a town, it’s just a marina with a restaurant and convenience store. As such, the most popular resupply option at this point is to send yourself a box and pay ten bucks to pick it up here. Most people find it to be worth the cost because the convenience store inside the marina has such a shambolic resupply. Plus, the next food carry can be quite long, so if you like to plan things in advance then that’s the move to make. Especially if you’re NOBO. If you’re hiking south and want to chance it on the bare essentials til Superior, that’s doable too.

If the hiker box has already been raided, then I think it’s a reasonable alternative to do a very sad resupply of Pop-Tarts, powdered donettes, and Nutri-Grain bars for two days and then do the long hitch into Payson once you reach the next highway.

I think that there are multiple viable resupply strategies at Roosevelt Lake, but I also think that if you’re not sending yourself a box, the strategy you choose could also be based on what your budget is like and how stacked the hiker box is here (because it can definitely be loaded at times). Given that the lovely hikers who plan things in advance often send themselves too much food in their resupply boxes, you could either be very fortunate here or totally hard up, just depending on timing.

Either way, it’s super nice of the marina to let hikers camp out by the shack, and the mid-day swimming was so refreshing. Whatever path you choose, it’s almost always gonna be a good time.

READ NEXT –  10 Highs and 5 Lows from My Arizona Trail Thru-Hike

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Payson (Mile 378.5 NOBO / 402.7 SOBO)

  • Easy to get to? This is probably the hardest town to reach on the AZT. It’s a long, 32-mile hitch, or you can pay a premium to get picked up here.
  • Walkable? Not really, it’s a pretty big town. But it’s possible to stay at a motel within walking distance of a grocery store and some restaurant options.

To go, or not to go? That is the question. I’d say about half of hikers choose to stop in Payson, and the other half choose the long 115-mile carry between Roosevelt and Pine. Having done it both ways, I can say that there’s no perfect answer.

Last year I chose to skip Payson and carried 4.5 days of food out of Roosevelt to make it all the way to Pine. The 5500′ climb out of Roosevelt with that much food and water was absolutely brutal, and this entire section of trail will really kick your butt, so 4.5 days of food ended up not even being enough. This is where the classic hiker hunger really kicks in, and the amount of elevation gain and loss through the Mazatzals is definitely no joke. Don’t short yourself on bars here.

This year, wanting to take it a little easier, we chose to try hitching into Payson and got pretty lucky with rides to and from town in less than 45 minutes each way. The drive itself is about 45-60 minutes though. If you don’t have a shuttle arranged, getting back to trail can be really difficult. It isn’t really feasible to plan on being in and out of Payson in a day, so if you’re going to go this route, I think it’s important to plan on staying in town for the night.

That being said, there are tons of chain motels in Payson and lots of all your favorite fast food restaurants to choose from. As well as a Walmart. All in all, it’s a cute place that has everything you’d need.

Favorite place to eat: Taco Bell again if you’re on a budget. Ayothaya Thai Cafe if you’re ready to ball out in a town. Both if you’re panicking.

The only photo I have from Payson is of this $3 McDonald’s hash brown. (credit @jamesgoesplaces)

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Pine / Strawberry (Mile 450.3 NOBO / 331.4 SOBO)

  • Easy to get to? Yes. You can hitch from the highway/trailhead, or simply walk the one mile into Pine.
  • Walkable? Yes? Sort of? It’s kind of a lot of walking to get between the brewery, grocery store, and laundromat, but you’re going to have to do it regardless. So I’m just going to say yes.

Not the worst road walk, now that you’re in ponderosa territory.

Pine has the potential to be a perfect trail town. It has my favorite cafe with an incredible breakfast, a fantastic brewery that does a ton for hikers (resupply boxes and sometimes camping), and a laundromat and good grocery store that are across the street from each other. But there is one glaring problem: there’s nowhere to stay in town. Literally your only option in Pine right now is to splash out for a ridiculously overpriced cabin, or else you have to hitch three miles down to Strawberry and still splash out for the marginally less overpriced “chalets” or motel. Even still, this is a really popular weekend destination for folks that want to escape the Phoenix heat, and it seems like everything in both towns can be booked out in high season, so plan accordingly.

According to the comments on FarOut, the brewery had been letting hikers camp on the volleyball court by their property, but this area was under construction when I was there. Fingers crossed it’ll be an option again soon for future hikers.

Favorite place to eat: Early Bird Cafe is legendary. Great food, great portions, and great prices. They’re super accommodating and used to hikers as well, so it’s an invaluable resource.

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Mormon Lake (Mile 523.2 NOBO / 258.4 SOBO)

I’m having my bachelor party here.

  • Easy to get to? A short side-trail leads down directly into the “town.”
  • Walkable? Yes. The post office/general store, lodge, cabins, and laundromat are all right next to each other. And since that’s about all there is to the town, you won’t have any issues.

A truly mind-bending stop on the AZT, I’ve loved Mormon Lake both times that I’ve been. It’s the state’s largest natural lake, and it’s essentially dry. So there’s not actually any lake, really. Just some muddy puddles about a mile, mile and a half out. I love that they let you trash up the laundry room while you’re charging all your stuff. I love how completely sardonic all the folks who live and work here are too. I just love the vibe. It’s how I imagine the Salton Sea in 50 years.

The convenience store here has enough hiker essentials to get you through the short section until Flagstaff, where you can get a proper resupply. That said, some people still choose to mail a package here, so if you don’t want to resupply off ramen, tuna, and chips, then you can mail a package—or potentially get lucky with the store’s hiker box.

Favorite place to eat: The corner chair next to the outlets in the laundry room of the RV park. I enjoyed the microwave burrito with a tall boy, but you can feel free to mix and match as you see fit.

There’s also a restaurant here with extremely limited opening hours, but I’ve missed it both times I’ve been, so I can’t say whether it’s worth it.

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Flagstaff (Mile ~560 or 574.2 NOBO / ~207 SOBO)

Maybe the most iconic photo of the whole AZT.

  • Easy to get to? Any way that you cruise into town is easy. It’s an easy walk on the urban trail from either direction, and there’s also a bus stop where the regular AZT crosses highway 89
  • Walkable? Not really, unless you’re paying more to stay in the middle of town. But the bus system is pretty good. And there are plenty of rideshares available.

Flagstaff has got to be one of the fastest-growing outdoor towns in the west. And for good reason. They’ve got everything there. All kinds of recreation, all kinds of weather, and all kinds of cool stuff to see and do. It’s definitely worth taking an extra day to explore here and do a food tour, or a brewery tour if that’s your kind of thing. I don’t have any sources, but I think that behind maybe Bend, Oregon, Flagstaff might have the most breweries per capita in the USA.

Anyways you can’t go wrong here. There’s every kind of grocery store, every kind of restaurant, and an REI. Although the independent outfitters in town were offering discounts on Altras as well, so definitely check them out first.

Favorite place to eat: I don’t really think you could get a bad burger at any of the breweries, but my favorite place to eat was, without a doubt, MartAnne’s Burrito Palace. A+ name, A+ taste, and A+ portions. Great vegan, vegetarian, and carnivore options. I’ve eaten here four times now and gotten four different things, and they’ve all been amazing. Flagstaff has a million options though, so just follow your heart.

As long as I live, I will never forget this MartAnne’s burrito.

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Tusayan (Mile 676.3 NOBO / 105.3 SOBO)

  • Easy to get to? If you don’t feel like simply following the droning of all the helicopter tours leaving here, the junction for Tusayan is right off trail.
  • Walkable? Yes, everything is within .25 miles of the AZT.

Depending on what time you get to Tusayan, it may or may not be worth stopping here. I didn’t mind stopping in for lunch at the Mexican restaurant, but all of the lodging options are pretty expensive. Although, if you’re into a bit of dark tourism, this town apparently has the country’s most expensive McDonald’s. So that’s always fun.

The sole purpose of Tusayan’s existence is to serve Grand Canyon tourism, and since it’s so close to the Canyon itself, you may as well skip the general store in Tusayan and save your resupply for the much larger, and similarly priced, Grand Canyon Village.
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Mather Campground / Grand Canyon Village (Mile 682.6 NOBO / 99 SOBO)

  • Easy to get to? The junction for Mather Campground is right off the AZT, and it’s a short walk down the road from there.
  • Walkable? For the most part, yes. But you will definitely be doing a bit of walking between the general store, laundromat/showers, and campground.

Two years in a row now I’ve loved camping at Mather. Since it’s inside Grand Canyon National Park, you have to pay a small fee of $6 to camp here. The rangers keep a number of sites set aside for AZT hikers and bikers though, and the sites are probably the most conveniently located for access to the village and the laundromat/showers.

The general store in the village has a pretty extensive selection of deli foods and readymade meals, as well as an absurd selection of craft beers, ranch waters, and, for whatever reason, hard kombuchas. Lots of vegan and vegetarian options as well.

And if you’re NOBO and want to celebrate your last stop in civilization, the lodge in the village also has a tavern with decent beer and pizza. Once you’re down in the canyon, you’ll barely see any more people until after you’ve finished the trail and re-entered the real world, so you may as well enjoy it, right?

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Jacob Lake (Mile 754.7 NOBO / 26.9 SOBO)

  • Easy to get to? If you’re NOBO, you’re probably arriving at Jacob Lake a few miles before 754.7, because let’s be honest: you saw that road walk and you couldn’t resist. It takes you right into town. Who wouldn’t take the road? We’ve all been there. But for SOBOs and those who possess true self-restraint, it’s a fairly easy hitch a few miles down the highway.
  • Walkable? It’s literally just the convenience store/restaurant and the inn. So yes, absolutely.

Every trail has a few towns with famous foods on them, and the AZT is no exception. The Cookie Cabin in Summerhaven was one thing, but there’s an even longer history in Jacob Lake. Apparently, for almost a century, Jacob Lake’s convenience store has sold some legendary cookies, so you’ll have to try them and see for yourself whether or not they live up to the hype.

As for resupply, the convenience store has all the essentials to get you through the final push to the terminus. You might have to get a little creative, but hey, that’s part of the fun. This place is also steeped in LDS history, so it’s nice of them to still sell alcohol so you can pack out those terminus beers.

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State Line Campground / Kanab / Page / wherever (Mile 781.6 NOBO / 0 SOBO)

  • Easy to get to? The AZT finishes half an hour down a dirt road at State Line Campground. So yes, the campground is easy to get to. Everything else is going to be really difficult though, so I hope you love logistics. If you’re SOBO, then you’ve already put in all the logistical leg work to get here, so the hardest part is over.
  • Walkable? Plz no more walking.

A classic way to either end or begin a hike.

Both years that I’ve been on the AZT, there have been some lovely trail angels who were offering donation-based rides between the terminus and Kanab, which was an invaluable resource and such a huge help. For both SOBOs and NOBOs, this is definitely the best option to get to or from trail if they are available, because Kanab is such a cool town anyway, and worth checking out too. But if not, then NOBOs keep reading.

I’ll try to keep the advice in this section brief because there are a million different ways you can get back to civilization. The easiest, of course, was to arrange a shuttle. But since the closest towns of Kanab and Page are both 1.5 hours away, that’s going to cost quite a bit. Plus the reception at the campground is pretty spotty, so if you didn’t plan it in advance, then you’re just gonna have to enjoy getting a bit creative.

If you didn’t have the budget or planning capacity for that shuttle, no worries. This is a pretty popular day hiking area, so I would recommend playing it the fun, fast, and loose way: hitting State Line Campground in the afternoon and just seeing what happens.

There will undoubtedly be folks leaving the area in the afternoon, so I’d say just put your thumb out and see where they’re headed. At the very least, everyone is going to be going to either Kanab or Page, because there’s nothing before either of those towns, so you’ll at least make it there. And from either of those towns, you can plan your next move. For example, if you get a ride to Page, then it’s easy to then get a regional flight to PHX or TUS, and get home from there. If you made it to Kanab, you can then find your way to SLC or Vegas and get home from one of those.

One of the most fun parts of any hike is the spontaneity—and finding your way to and from each terminus offers no shortage of opportunities for that. Plus, how sweet is it when things do eventually fall into place? That sense of accomplishment in carrying out a plan is almost, ALMOST as big as the accomplishment you feel for completing your thru-hike.

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Although let’s be honest: it was always just about getting that sweet belt buckle.

The AZT Trail Angels List

The ATA manages an ongoing list of registered trail angels along the AZT, and it has proven useful many times over. Apart from this, you can always head over to the Arizona Trail Facebook page if you’re looking for a little bit of beta and a lot of toxic drama. Most folks are generally happy to answer any questions you might have there though.

Apart from this, I want to give a special shout-out to Matt Nelson, director at the ATA, for being one of the friendliest and most engaged people on any trail ever. The ATA in general is an awesome organization, and I’d highly recommend learning more about them and the history of the trail if you’re thinking about a thru-hike. Seriously, the belt buckle though? Come on.

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(Author’s Note: Sorry I left out the North Rim Country Store on this resupply list. I missed it both years on the AZT, and I also feel that since probably ~90% of hikers also miss their opening window (May 15-Oct.15), it was hardly even worth putting on the list.)

Featured image: Graphic design by Chris Helm (@chris.helm).

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Comments 1

  • Carol Herndon : Jun 15th

    Wonderful, useful information. Where can I find a printable version of this? I would love to have a copy to hang in our Visitor Center we frequently get hikers here in Oracle, not just at American Flag. Thanks for this info.
    Carol Herndon
    Visitor Center Coordinador

    Reply

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