Grand Enchantment Trail
Meandering east-to-west across the heart of the Southwest, the Grand Enchantment Trail runs from roughly the middle of Arizona near Phoenix to the middle of New Mexico near Albuquerque. En route, it crosses the Sonoran Desert, the “Sky Island” mountain ranges (forested mountains surrounded by seas of desert and grassland), and the Continental Divide. Cliff dwellings, hot springs, and ghost towns all line the trail.
“This trail isn’t as well known as some of the others yet,”says LaRuffa. “But it’s one of the most intriguing trails in the West.”
Time to Complete: 2 months
Terrain: Ranges from desert to forested mountain summits, with everything in between. The trail tops out at Mogollon Baldy at 10,770 feet and hits bottom at the Gila River at 1,700 feet.
Best Segment You Can Do In a Day: Dutchman Trail (18.2 miles one-way), located outside of Phoenix in the Superstition Mountains, can be taken on as an out-and-back from the First Water Trailhead and gives a glimpse of the Grand Enchantment Trail’s vast desert landscape.
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