The Kaibab National Forest sits in northern Arizona, about 25 miles from the Utah border. This is a chance to experience Arizona's remarkably diverse landscapes and ecosystems. In one day, you can fish in a mountain lake, hike through high-elevation meadows, and enjoy breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon. The forest is a great place to enjoy the beauty of the famous canyon away from the crowds. Remote trails take you to little-known viewpoints, and you may even get to enjoy the vistas in solitude. Whether you're looking for cool summer camping, fall hikes, or snowy winter sports, the Kaibab National Forest delivers.
Stretching for more than 12 miles, the Sycamore Rim Trail offers stunning canyon views, water crossings, and more. There are five trailheads along the loop, so you can design a hike that works for your skill level and available time. Hike through stands of ponderosa pines, peer down steep rock cliffs, and pick your way across rocky riverbanks. One of the most popular sites along the trail is Sycamore Falls, a gorgeous waterfall that appears when the snow melts and after one of Arizona's monsoon rainstorms. Nearby, you'll often see rock climbers navigating the steep rock faces.
Length: 12.1 miles round-trip
The Arizona Trail is popular with long-haul backpackers, but it's also a great place for a day hike. The entire route is 800 miles long, and 50 miles pass through the Kaibab National Forest. The best place to start is the East Rim Trailhead, which gives you access to the oldest section of the trail. For a quick hike, walk out to the East Rim Viewpoint to enjoy the gorgeous views of House Rock Valley and the Saddle Mountain Wilderness across the canyon. No matter how far you go, you'll see fantastic scenery, juniper forests, and beautiful open areas with remarkable canyon vistas.
Length: 50 miles
If you're up for a short but challenging climb, take the Red Butte Trail to the top of the namesake butte. While most of the trail is relatively moderate, the last 0.5 mile is steep but manageable. The trail climbs up to a fire lookout tower; from here, you can see for miles in every direction.
Length: 2.5 miles round-trip
Intensity: Moderate to Difficult
Want to see the Grand Canyon without entering the national park? The Rainbow Rim Trail is the perfect spot. Hike through a ponderosa forest and out to five different viewpoints. From each one, you'll get a dramatically different view of the remarkable rock formations in the canyon. Don't be intimidated by the length of the trail — you can drive out to the trailhead at each of the viewpoints and do shorter day hikes. Keep in mind that this is a remote section of the forest, so there are no services; bring plenty of water. The trail itself is mostly singletrack, and you may see a local trail runner or two out for a workout.
Length: 27.5 miles
Experience the remarkable, wild beauty of the Kaibab National Forest on the Snake Gulch-Kanab Creek Trail. This stunning route takes you through colorful canyons, under rock cliffs, and past a historic homestead in the wilderness. Keep an eye out for the ancient Native American pictographs that dot the cliffs. The end of Jensen Canyon is a great place to turn around; after this, the trail leaves the creek and travels through challenging terrain.
Length: 21.5 miles
Intensity: Moderate to Difficult
The Keyhole Sink Trail is one of the more popular hiking trails in the Kaibab National Forest. It's short and flat, with minimal elevation gain, so it's a great option for families, kids, and beginning hikers. The route travels through a lovely forest, offering plenty of shade. At the end, you can climb down into the Keyhole Sink, which is a lava flow that's shaped like a keyhole, and into a box canyon. About 1,000 years ago, ancient indigenous people carved drawings into the rock walls; keep an eye out for them as you reach the end of the trail. If you sit still for long enough, you may also see deer and other wildlife as they come down to drink from the creek. In the winter, rent cross-country skis from a shop in Flagstaff to explore the trail.
Length: 3 miles round-trip
Those who want to fish in Kaibab National Forest can do so at Dogtown Lake, Cataract Lake, Russell Tank, or Kaibab Lake.
You can try your luck geocaching anywhere outside the designated wilderness areas in the forest.
After a day full of exploring the wilds of the American Southwest, step outside of your RV at night for exceptional stargazing everywhere in the national forest; the northern sections offer particularly spectacular views.
Address: 800 South 6th Street, Williams, AZ 86046
Fee: Entry fee $0
Hike deep into the backcountry or enjoy the views from your campsite in the Kaibab National Forest. With year-round adventure opportunities, this beautiful and remote landscape is always open. Enjoy your camping trip in the summer sun and winter snows by visiting in an RV.