Arizona Trail sign

Along the Arizona Trail at about the half-way point, a sign gives the distance to Mexico and Utah.

Imagine hiking, biking or riding 800 miles in a single day.

Sound impossible?

It’s not – if you volunteer to cover one of nearly 100 separate sections of the Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT), along with others who each choose to travel different sections of the route, which extends from the Mexico border to the Utah border.

A Record Setting Endeavor

On Sat., Oct. 12, more than 1,000 hikers, runners, mountain bikers and equestrians from around the world will be staged along the course to participate in “AZT in a Day” in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Arizona Trail Association.

“We want to get people out to experience the entire length of the trail and set the record for participation in a single day to celebrate our first 25 years of existence,” said Matthew Nelson, executive director of the Arizona Trail Association. “This will be the first time a National Scenic Trail will be completed in this way,” he added.

Choosing Your Section

The 800-mile trail has been divided into sections ranging in length from 2.1 to 15.6 miles. Participants will have 24 hours to complete their portion of the trail. Registration is free and is open to anyone.

Participants can choose between desert, mountain, canyon, forest or urban segments of the path. The AZT passes through eight wilderness areas, four National Forests, two National Parks, one National Memorial, one State Park and passes near 33 gateway communities.

“We’re advising that all participants be well-prepared. Several access points require 4-wheel drive or high clearance vehicles,” said Karrie Kressler, Community Program Coordinator.

A few sections of the trail are remote and require extra planning. For these sections, participants familiar with back packing will be required to camp in particular areas at least a day before the actual event to be ready to complete their portion on October 12, according to Kressler.

“So far, we have hikers, bikers and equestrians booked for more than half of the sections, but there are still many sections that need to be covered,” Nelson said.

Fundraising Opportunities

Participants who want to help raise money to support the Arizona Trail Association can appeal to family, friends and others to pledge dollars to support their commitment on Oct. 12. Information about fundraising can be found in the registration information online.

Another fundraising opportunity to support the Arizona Trail Association is provided by Phoenix-area children’s book author Rodo Sofranac. Proceeds from the sales of the award winning author’s most recent book, The Red Tail Tale on the Arizona Trail, will go to support the organization.

The colorful, illustrated book is the story of Rowen, a young red-headed explorer, and Rojo, a clever red-tailed hawk, who meet, bond and experience a wonderful adventure on the fascinating Arizona National Scenic Trail. A list of 22 retail outlets where the book can be purchased throughout Arizona can be found on the author’s website: rodowrites.com.

How to Get Involved

To sign up, get a trail map or for more information about “AZT in a Day,” visit aztrail.org/events/aztinaday-2019/, email karrie@aztrail.org or call (520) 261-8460.

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