Summer Hiking GuideBlobs of congealed lava, petrified Permian Period sand dunes and Vishnu Temple are some of the more unusual things you'll see on the hikes in this month's cover story, and then there's the expected: meadows, mountains and streams. If that's not enough, we have at least 30 more reasons to get you off the couch.
BISMARCK LAKE TRAIL
3 Reasons to Hit This Trail
Foot Notes: Bismarck Lake isn't a lake — at least not by Minnesota standards. It's more like a pond or a lagoon or a big mud puddle, and it functions as a stock tank, which makes it an important source of water for the resident elk and mule deer. It also serves as a milepost that identifies the end of this trail. Like the route into Sandys Canyon (page 24), this is a short hike that hooks up with the Arizona Trail. If you're interested in more distance, the latter extends for 817 miles to the north and south, but if you need a spur-of-the-moment fix of an evergreen forest, this will hit the spot. The trail begins with a gradual uphill climb through a world of ponderosas and aspens. After five minutes, it arrives at a small meadow, where you'll catch your first glimpse of the San Francisco Peaks. It won't be the last, and the best is yet to come. From there, the trail dips back into the woods, and the aspen quotient increases. It stays like that for another 15 minutes, until the dirt path leads to another meadow and the payoff views of the peaks. There, the trail splits. To the right is the Arizona Trail, and to the left is Bismarck Lake. Go left, and keep your eyes peeled for thirsty ungulates.
The Great OutdoorsYou can find scenic and historic places to visit in any part of Arizona, whether you're the type of person who likes to explore the outdoors on foot, or if traveling in the family wagon is more your speed.
No matter your travel plans, bear in mind the Leave No Trace Ethics: