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Arizona’s Easiest Trails and Activities for Beginners

Venturing into the great outdoors can seem a bit daunting at first. Here are some beginner-friendly suggestions to get you started and have you feeling like an Arizona outdoors pro in no time.

Salt River Kayaking

Photo Credit: Arizona Office of Tourism

Easy Hikes to Start Your Arizona Outdoors Journey

Double Butte Loop Trail
Papago Park - Phoenix/Tempe
Over the course of 2.2 miles, the Double Butte Loop Trail circumnavigates the large red sandstone Papago Buttes that are visible from vantage points throughout much of metro Phoenix. The rocky dirt trail is generally wide and flat, making it a pleasant hike for the whole family (and even a pooch on a leash).
Blue Mesa Trail transports hikers into another world with a 1-mile loop strewn with petrified wood and petroglyphs among white and blue-hued bentonite clay badlands. Alternately paved and gravel, the mostly flat loop is a bit steeper at the beginning and end.
Located at Arizona Snowbowl on the western side of the San Francisco Peaks, the 2.5-mile Aspen Loop Trail is an easy hike that's among the most photogenic in the state: lined with aspen, spruce, pines and wildflowers, and serving up views of volcanic fields, meadows, mountains and on clear days, even the Grand Canyon.

Smooth Water Sailing—or Kayaking, Paddleboarding, etc.

Tempe Town Lake
For the past 20 years, 2-mile-long Tempe Town Lake has been the urban answer for boaters who want a quick water fix. Onshore, Tempe Boat Rentals and Northshore WaterSport Rentals both offer a selection of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) to choose from. Want to improve your paddling skills? The City of Tempe hosts a wide range of classes.
A 55-acre reservoir, Lynx Lake surrounds boaters with Ponderosa pine and juniper, and you might even spot mule deer, javelinas, bald eagles or osprey. It's a small lake, but that means it's perfect for paddling newbies to get their sea legs. The Lynx Lake Café, Store & Marina rents canoes, kayaks and SUPs, and the lake's boat ramp is nice and wide for easy put-in.
Colorado River
Not ready for whitewater rafting, but still want to ride the waves of the mighty Colorado River? The 15-mile section from Glen Canyon Dam to Lee's Ferry is a soothing flatwater rafting experience that keeps adrenaline levels low while still offering spectacular scenery. The river's path weaves through sandstone cliffs and famous sites such as Petroglyph Beach and Horseshoe Bend. Outfitters offer a variety of half-and full-day float trips on the Colorado River suitable for all ages and abilities.

Smooth Cycling and Novice Mountain Biking Trails

Among more than 200 miles of non-motorized paths in the White Mountains TRACKS Trail System, the 3.5-mile Country Club Trail is a great introduction for novice mountain bikers. The loop trail is a well-marked single track, following an old railroad bed that passes through forests and alongside Whitcomb Meadow.
The Loop
Formally known as the Chuck Huckelberry Loop, this system of 131 miles of mostly paved lanes connects Tucson to Marana, Oro Valley and South Tucson, as well as to several city parks. Views alternate from riverbeds to city streets, and you may spot a farmer's market or two on the weekends. Motorized traffic isn't allowed, but bikers share the lanes with walkers, runners and inline skaters.
Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt
With 11 miles of wide concrete paths, this greenbelt system is perfect for a day of two-wheeling through parks, around golf courses and alongside lakes. Whether you're on a road bike, mountain bike or beach cruiser, you'll enjoy the ease of the route, which is largely flat and features 24 grade-separated crossings to avoid major road traffic.

The Arizona Office of Tourism and Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics would like to ask new and experienced outdoor enthusiasts to help us protect and enjoy natural lands responsibly by remembering to plan ahead, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, respect wildlife and be considerate of others.

What to Do in AZ - In Case You Missed It

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