On my travel blogging journey, I’ve rarely been on hiking trips. So, this time I decided to do something different. I don’t know what it was that made me plan a hiking trip in the Sonoran Desert. Some people plan it because it feels like a challenge. Some people love hiking as an exercise, and some do it for the love of the birds and animals. But there are some things that we do without a reason, a reason we can’t explain, so that’s the case for me.
When you’re too tired of your everyday life, and you’re searching for solitude and calmness, I think that’s when you should definitely go for a solo backpacking trip. But where? You can go anywhere, but if you are going to the Sonoran Desert, let me ease this path for you by sharing my early morning hike in the Sonoran Desert experience.
Sonoran Desert Hike: Where To Start
I decided to start my hiking journey at around 6:30 am. I think early morning and late afternoons are the best time to hike in the Sonoran Desert. In this way, you won’t feel much hot, and you can enjoy the sunrise or sunset too. Sonoran desert is said to be the hottest desert in the United States, so avoid planning a hike during midday or afternoon.
I decided to hike through the Black Canyon Trail. And it was freezing. But luckily, the sun came out, which made my trip a bit easier.
The Sonoran desert is most probably the greenest desert in all of the United States. Even though it seems to be barren and void of life, that’s actually not the case. I was shocked by the liveliness of the desert on my hiking journey in the Sonoran desert.
The Black Canyon Trail is basically an 80 miles long trail, and it’d require around five days to complete the entire hiking journey through this trail. If you ask me why I chose this trail, I’d say that I wanted to check out almost everything in the Sonoran desert. I knew that I wasn’t coming back here anytime soon, so I decided to hike through the Black Canyon trail and enjoy almost every part of the Sonoran desert.
But if you don’t have the energy and patience to walk an 80 miles trail, there are many other hiking trails in the Sonoran desert that you can choose from.
East Skip Rimsza Paseo and West Skip Rimsza Paseo are two of the most accessible trails in the Sonoran desert. Both of them are concrete trails that start from Apache Wash Trailhead. For beginner hikers, families, and older people, these two trails will be perfect for enjoying the beauty of the Sonoran desert.
The Black Canyon Trail was a challenging hiking experience that I had never experienced before. It is characterized by rough, unstable soils and rocks meandering through the Sonoran Desert landscape, saguaro forests and rugged canyons. The difficulty of this trail is on an intermediate level, so I didn’t face much of a problem hiking through it.
Now, the main question that arises is, why the Sonoran desert? Like why did I choose to hike through this desert and not the Superstitions Mountain or the Gold Canyon? I really don’t know why I did that, but maybe because I have never been to a desert before or because the diversified wildlife of the Sonoran desert pulled me towards it.
Checking Out the Wildlife
Talking about wildlife, you’ll get to see large mammals like the collared peccaries(known as javelina) and coyotes in the Sonoran desert. Moreover, the desert is home to desert bighorn sheep, grey foxes, mountain lions, Mexican wolves, bobcats and many other mammals.
If you want to exclusively witness the wildlife in the Sonoran desert, there are three places you should head to. One is The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum which has walking paths through different animal habitats. These habitats have around 230 live animal species. The museum also has a zoo, gallery, garden, museum, natural history, and aquarium elements.
The Saguaro National Park is another place that will give you an insight into the wildlife of the Sonoran desert. The park is on the edge of the desert and offers various camping programs, guided programs, hiking opportunities, and junior ranger programs.
If you are more interested in birds and reptiles, head over to The Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness. It has around 200 bird species and 100 reptile species. It also houses some large mammals, frogs, toads, and fish.
Exploring the flora
Sonoran desert is full of small to giant cactuses. The desert has barrel cactus, Cardon cactus, prickly pear, elephant tree, organ-pipe cactus, saguaro, century plant, cholla, palo verde, ocotillo, ironwood, mesquite, yucca, and creosote bush as signature plants. You’ll come across many beautiful wildflowers on your hiking trip in the Sonoran desert.
The desert looked tremendously beautiful during sunrise. It was something that I had never witnessed before. As it was a five days hiking trip, so I also got to enjoy the heavenly nightlife. The clear views of the stars are a reason why you should stay in the desert, at least for a night.
How to Stay Safe
Those who frequently hike already know how to stay safe on any hiking trip. But if you’re a beginner hiker just like me, let me note down some simple safety hiking tips for you.
- Use sunscreen
- Wear a hat
- Follow the trails
- Don’t touch the wild plants and flowers
- Stay far from the wild animals
- Take proper hiking gears along
- Please don’t stay out during midday(it’s terribly hot then)
I think this many tips would be enough for a beginner hiker. These are some of the most common safety tips that everyone needs to follow while hiking.
So, that was everything that I thought you should know before heading to the Sonoran desert. It’s a vast desert, and it’s impossible to check it out entirely. But no matter whichever trail you follow, you’ll at least get to see a considerable part of its beauty.