Arizona Trail hikers no longer hike on road in Pine

Payson Roundup (May 11, 2021) by Michele Nelson

After six months, a grant, a donation, and hundreds of volunteer hours, the Arizona Trail Association has completed a re-route of one of the most hated portions of the Arizona Trail — Passage 25.

The Arizona Trail marches up the middle of Arizona. It starts in the south at the Mexican border, then ends in the north at the Utah border.

Completed during Arizona’s centennial year 2012, the trail has an extreme reputation due to the lack of water and challenging terrain. Yet since it opened, hundreds have hiked from border to border.

The completion of this project is a major milestone in the ATA’s commitment to removing the Arizona Trail from dirt roads, “where interaction with motor vehicles detracts from the Arizona Trail experience,” wrote staff.

The new trail keeps more of the trail within designated wilderness and crosses Rock Creek, a seasonal water source.

“There are now 6.7 miles of new trail on the Tonto National Forest,” wrote staff on the Arizona Trail Association’s Facebook page.

The new trail fits more with the character of the National Scenic Trail values.

“Now it’s singletrack from the Mazatzal Wilderness to the Pine Trailhead and beyond,” wrote staff.

The Arizona Trail Association staff and volunteers in partnership with the Arizona Conservation Experience Corps funded the project through a grant from Arizona State Parks and a donation from the outdoor equipment company REI.

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