June Zwan’s Hiking Guide to Yuma, Arizona
A born naturalist, Yuma, Arizona native June Zwan has spent much of her life exploring the trails of Arizona and connecting with nature there. To this day, she has explored many different trails and traversed dozens of rough terrains including the biggest boulder in the world. She now spends much of her time educating children on wildlife preservation and how to connect with the natural world. Below are some of her favorite hiking trails in the state.
Telegraph Pass Trail
“One of my favorite trails in Yuma is the Telegraph Pass Trail,” says Zwan. “The hike itself is very refreshing, and once you reach the top you get a great view of Yuma.” A 5.3-mile loop, this hike is suitable for adults and children of all abilities. It doesn’t get overly busy, even in the peak summer season, and dogs are also allowed to walk along it if kept on a leash. Many residents of the state believe October and March to be the best times to navigate the route, although your mileage may vary. This trail reminds me of the Olde Stage Rd. trail in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We hiked it a few years ago and the winding path and scenic views are hard to describe unless you’ve been there. Both trails have a unique feel but this one in particular is memorable.
Laguna Mountain Ridge
“I also love the Laguna Mountain Ridge,” says Zwan. “This is a great nature spot and another trail in which you can take your dog, have a nice afternoon hike, and return home a few hours later.” The Laguna Mountain Ridge is rated as moderate, but in addition to hiking, it’s also suitable for off-road driving, which is ideal for families who want to head out into the trails but don’t want to exert much energy, instead preferring to stop somewhere quiet to enjoy a picnic and let the kids explore the nature in the area.
Pilot Knob Mesa
Just across the border in California, you’ll find the Pilot Knob Mesa trail. “This is just outside of Yuma,” says Zwan, “…and well worth the short trip. The hike itself is great for nature lovers as you’ll see some really rare wildlife like desert foxes, and butterflies love it too.” Although there is some great wildlife to see on this trail, some parts of the Pilot Knob Mesa trail are only suitable for experienced hikers. “The view from the top is great,” Zwan says, “but the rocky inclines will take some perseverance.”
Fortuna Peak Trail
Finally, Zwan also recommends visiting the Fortuna Peak Trail while visiting Yuma. “It’s here where you will see the World War 2 wreckage,” she says. “With that being said, you will need the time and the patience to make it here. The trail takes a lot of hard work to complete.” Dogs are welcome to walk on this trail too, if kept on a leash, and it’s accessible all year round.
This hike is a little bit like the Flatirons Vista in Boulder, Colorado. Both are easy hikes and have some great views.
Although Yuma, Arizona may not be a location everyone has heard of, there are certainly plenty of great trails in the area. Whether you are just starting out with hiking, or have lots of experience, the four trails above are all worth considering the next time you are in the area.