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The Arizona Trail - Covid-19 Concerns

One of these days, the subject line of every email you receive will be something other than COVID-19, but for now…here are some updates on how the pandemic is impacting the Arizona Trail, thru-hikers, trail operations and our volunteer program. There is also non-COVID news, information and inspiration below. The ATA developed this web page to provide the most up-to-date information and recommendations related to the Arizona Trail and the outbreak of COVID-19. The CDC currently recommends all Americans avoid discretionary travel. If access to the Arizona Trail is available in your community or within close proximity, it continues to be a great place to get outside, enjoy your public lands, and find mental and physical relief from the conditions created by the pandemic. However, if travel is required to reach the AZT, we recommend instead that you explore your local trails and open spaces to reduce risk of spreading the disease. Grand Canyon National Park Closes South & North Kaibab Trails As of March 27, Grand Canyon will offer very limited services outside those that support visitor or resource protection. At Grand Canyon National Park, the following services and operations will be suspended:

  • All access to South Kaibab and North Kaibab Trails (aka Arizona Trail) and Bright Angel Trail

  • Backcountry permits for camping at Bright Angel, Indian Garden and Cottonwood Campgrounds

  • Camping reservations at Mather Campground

  • South Rim Trailer Village

Volunteering While Social Distancing

The ATA's regular group volunteer activities have been postponed to follow the CDC’s recommendations for practicing social distancing, but there are still safe and meaningful ways to get outdoors and help maintain the Arizona National Scenic Trail. One great way to enjoy this amazing springtime weather and help maintain the trail is through our Remote Maintenance Task Force! Responding to requests from numerous hikers and riders who want to “give back” while they’re out there on the most remote portions of the Arizona Trail, we’ve developed a simple way for folks to trim back the encroaching acacia, remove problematic tree limbs, and help keep the Arizona Trail corridor clear. After all, it grows back with a vengeance every year. To join the Remote Trail Maintenance Task Force, just fill out and submit a simple form online and we’ll mail you a pair of pruning shears or pro hand saw along with a pair of work gloves and a Trail Brushing Guide. Then, record your volunteer hours online after you’re done. Every hour you spend driving to the trailhead, hiking (or riding) and maintaining the trail is important to report. Don’t let your outstanding volunteer service go undocumented! You can keep the gloves and hand tool as a thank you for your help in maintaining the AZT. Please limit your travel, and focus on areas closest to home. Since many of the Arizona Trail’s Gateway Communities have limited medical services that could quickly become overwhelmed with even a few cases of COVID-19, we recommend access points where you can travel safely from home to trailhead while eliminating or severely limiting any social interactions. AZT Wooden Topographic Map

If you love Arizona’s diverse topography then you’re going to adore these unique wooden creations from Elevated Woodworking! Each piece is created with a computer-controlled router that carves Arizona’s mountains, canyons and valleys, and is lovingly hand-sanded and oiled to perfection. These custom beauties are made just for the Arizona Trail Association and trail lovers like you, and feature a laser-cut engraving of the 800-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail. They’ll be a welcome addition to your desk, bookshelf, or mantle, and will inspire you to get outdoors whenever you’re stuck inside. Made from sustainably harvested oak, they are approximately 6” wide x 7” tall and retail for $110 through the ATA Online Store. ATA members login to receive a discount. All proceeds benefit the Arizona Trail Association and our mission to protect, maintain, enhance, promote and sustain the AZT as a unique encounter with the land. Members joining or renewing at the Juniper, Ponderosa Pine and Bristlecone Pine levels will receive a smaller version of these (with a magnet on the back) as part of your “thank you” membership premiums. Learn more at the JOIN page of our website. New Maps of the AZT Now Available

Thanks to our friends at the Arizona Office of Tourism we are now able to provide FREE maps of the Arizona Trail to individuals, schools, clubs, groups, visitor centers, and anyone else who wants them. These full-color paper maps feature the entire state of Arizona, along with all of the natural wonders and recreational resources you could ever want to explore. Just a few of the features include:

  • Arizona Trail Gateway Communities

  • Arizona Trail Trailheads and primary access points

  • National Parks, National Forests, Wilderness Areas and National Wildlife Refuges

  • State Parks

  • Campgrounds

  • Roads, highways and primary dirt access roads

  • Public roads on American Indian Reservations

  • Cities and towns

  • Lakes, rivers and streams

  • and much more!

The map also includes the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace and information about the Arizona Trail. On the flipside you’ll find full-color photographs from the AZT with 16 of our favorite itineraries for hiking, running, mountain biking and horseback riding. We chose four of our favorite destinations for each of the four seasons to inspire folks to find their own adventure on the Arizona Trail. If you’d like a map, or a box of 225 maps, please send us an email along with your mailing address. Help us share this outstanding resource with locals and visitors alike, or hang it on your wall to serve as inspiration to explore all 800 miles of the Arizona Trail…and beyond. Trail Blazers

In an effort to preserve the history of the Arizona Trail, the Arizona Trail Association has begun archiving stories of early AZT pioneers on a new web page called Trail Blazers. Here you can read stories about Dale Shewater, the Father of the Arizona Trail, as well as personal stories about how folks got involved with the trail and the Association. There’s even a section for Arizona Trail adventures you may enjoy. If you have a story to share, please consider adding it to the Trail Blazers page. Just email along with one photo and we’ll upload it to the website. Be part of the Arizona Trail's history. After all, this is your trail.

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