Still in its infancy—57 of its eventual 800 miles (1,287 kilometers) from Mexico to Utah have yet to be completed—the Arizona Trail is destined to enter the pantheon of great long-distance routes. Variety is its big selling point, and in few other places is that displayed more vividly than on an 18-mile (29-kilometer) loop into the Superstition Wilderness east of Phoenix. "You'll hike from chaparral and canyon country up to meadows, through lush riparian areas, and eventually reach alligator junipers so big it takes three or four people linking hands to reach around," says Eric Hiser, an AT volunteer. From Rogers Trough Trailhead, follow the AT to Reavis Ranch, an abandoned homestead whose well-watered apple trees still bear fruit. The route then veers east while you continue north to pick up the Frog Tanks Trail. Follow it into a deepening canyon, then up and into grassy Angel Basin. The Rogers Canyon Trail returns you to the trailhead.
Vitals: Tonto National Forest; www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/home.shtml
Originally published in the April 2008 edition of National Geographic Adventure