ARIZONA – Eight hundred miles is a long distance to attempt to drive in a day. If traveling by foot, bike, horse or any other self-powered means, it’s impossible within 24 hours.
Or is it?
On Saturday, Oct. 9, hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts from across Arizona stage themselves along the Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT), from the Mexico border to the Utah border, ready to complete the entire trail in a single day. Each person will have a few miles to complete and 24 hours to do it.
A Sizable Challenge
“This is no small feat,” said Karrie Kressler, coordinator for the challenge. “We’re going to need hundreds of committed folks out there to pull this off.”
In the previous three years of AZT in a Day, over a thousand hikers, runners, bikers and equestrians have come very close to covering the whole trail in one day, amassing over 5,000 trail miles each year and in their best year completing 97.5% of the trail in a one day.
The Arizona Trail has always been about group effort, and this challenge is no different. “It took tens of thousands of volunteers over three decades to build the Arizona Trail, and now we’re delighted to be able to invite everyone to share this amazing public resource during one of the best times of the year,” said Matt Nelson, Executive Director of the Arizona Trail Association. “No matter how far you can hike, run or ride, we hope everyone can enjoy some time on the AZT with the ATA this October.”
Choosing Your Section
The 800-mile trail has been divided into sections ranging in length from 1.8 to 18 miles. Participants will have 24 hours to complete their portion of the trail. Online registration is free and open to everyone.
The Arizona Trail offers the public a unique way to experience some of the most scenic and wild parts of Arizona. Participants can choose between desert, mountain, canyon, forest or urban segments of the trail. The AZT passes through eight wilderness areas, four National Forests, two National Parks, one National Memorial, one State Park, and passes through or near 32 gateway communities.
“We advise participants be well-prepared. Some access points require 4-wheel drive or high clearance vehicles,” said Karrie Kressler, Administrative Director.
A few sections of the trail are remote and require extra planning. For these sections, participants familiar with backpacking 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 9, according to Kressler.
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 October 9.
“Last year AZT in a Day participants raised over $50,000 for the trail, an incredible show of support that we are hoping to reach again this year.” said Nelson. “It takes a strong organization to protect and maintain 800 miles of trail. As we attempt to raise the funds necessary to sustain the ATA, please think about what your experiences on the AZT are worth.”
How to Get Involved
To sign up, or for more information about AZT in a Day, visit aztrail.org/events/aztinaday-2021/, email email@example.com, or call (520) 261-8460.
About the Arizona Trail Association
The organization was incorporated in 1994 with the mission to protect, maintain, enhance, promote and sustain the 800-mile non-motorized Arizona National Scenic Trail as a unique encounter with the land. For more information, visit aztrail.org.