The Barnhardt Trail, located between Phoenix and Pay on the Beeline Highway of Arizona, is one of my all-time favorite trails. It traverses one of the state’s most beautiful mountains, and showcases a waterfall. It’s also perfectly placed for a relatively short drive into the wilderness. This isn’t a particularly quiet trail, but its distance from the city also means that it isn’t horribly crowded. It is also easily combined with a visit to Payson, Arizona for a perfect day away from Phoenix. Whether you are an Arizona local or a hiker visiting the state, the Barnhardt Trail is a trail not to be missed (unless its unsafe!). Continue reading to plan your trip to this beautiful trail.
Why Barnhardt Trail is One of My Favorite Trails in Arizona
When I first visited the Barnhardt Trail, I was blown away. It was a special time, and without being able to visit the trail regularly, I am not sure if this was just a hiccup in terms of the general conditions of the route. However, when I visited that first spring, the snow melt created waterfalls up and down the entire trail. And the beautiful red stone of the Mazatzal Mountains were accented by the crystalline white of snow that had yet to melt. The higher you hike, the greener the trail becomes as well.
Any time of year, one of the coolest things about this particular trek is that you will be climbing up from the drier, lower elevation, up into the forests of the mountain. This is one of the most accessible “sky island” experiences that I have had the opportunity to experience. I wouldn’t say that this trail is easy, by any means, but the elevation gain is more steady and gradual than many other trails that take you from the base of mountains as impressive as these, to the top.
This is really just one of the most beautiful trails that I have been on in Arizona. And it blows me away no matter what season I visit in.