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Southwest Essentials: 4 Day Hikes Almost Anyone Can Do

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Our regional favorites that are perfect for the novice hiker
It's OK if you don't love to hike. We won't judge. Well, maybe just a little.
It’s OK if you don’t love to hike. We won’t judge. Well, maybe just a little.

 

  1. Fay Canyon near Sedona, Arizona

Fay Canyon’s calling card—an arch—is surprisingly easy to miss. The arch is by no means small, but it looks so much like an ordinary rock overhang that if you don’t know where to look, you might walk right past it. If you keep an eye on the rock wall to the north side of the trail, though, you’ll spot it sooner or later.

Length: 1.1 miles each way

Time: 1 hour round-trip

Location: 2.5 miles west of Sedona

  1. Manzanita Canyon Trail near Taos, New Mexico

With its lush greenery and flowing creeks, this alpine loop will have you wondering whether you’re still in New Mexico’s high desert. It’s also one of the easiest summits we’ve ever conquered, as it takes you to the top of Lobo Peak.

Length: 4.2 miles each way

Time: 4 hours round-trip

Location: About 15 miles northeast of Taos

  1. Colorado Trail near Durango, Colorado

In its entirety, the Colorado trail runs from Denver to Durango—about 500 miles. For a doable day hike, aim for about 3 to 5 of those 500. Beginning just outside of Durango, you’ll meander through dense forest, next to a stream. The bridge is a good place to turn around, but if you’re feeling more ambitious, continue on (and up) to the overlook, where you’ll be rewarded with a nice bench and even better views.

Length: 3 miles or 5 miles each way

Time: 2 to 4 hours round-trip

Location: Junction Creek trailhead, about 3 miles west of town

  1. Hunters Canyon near Moab, Utah

A true canyon hike, no rock-climbing required. Just south of the Colorado River, Hunters Canyon features a stream in the spring and summer months (and after rainstorms). The bottom of the canyon is full of lush greenery, and several panels of rock art—including the famous birthing scene petroglyph—can be found along the Kane Creek Road leading up to the trailhead.

Length: 2 miles each way

Time: 2 hours

Location: Along Kane Creek Road, about 7.5 miles west of the junction with U.S. Highway 191

For more of our favorite Four Corners adventures, click here.
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