The Arizona National Scenic Trail to Great Divide Trail (AZT to GDT) Route is an approximately 4,265 mile long hiking route that spans the distance from the southern terminus of the Arizona Trail to the northern terminus of the Great Divide Trail. From south to north it follows the full length of the Arizona Trail, a majority of the Hayduke Trail, an informal 220-mile route across the Colorado Plateau that bridges a gap between existing trails, nearly 2,000 miles of the Continental Divide Trail and the full length of the Great Divide Trail. It has never before been attempted.


I began plotting the course of the AZT to GDT Route while I was still hiking my first thru-hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Despite the fact that I was having the time of my life, the Pacific Crest Trail was turning out to be much different than what I had expected. The AZT to GDT Route came about as a means of creating the experience that I had originally expected. In order to better meet those expectations, it is designed to satisfy two main criteria:

1. It is extremely difficult to complete in one season. The combination of its overall length, the difficulty of the terrain it follows, and the weather constraints in various areas along its route create time constraints that are not easily met.

2. It has never been completed, let alone attempted. Although much of its route follows established trails and routes, they have never been hiked consecutively. The past decade has seen many “firsts” in the long-distance hiking world, ranging from the first thru-hike of the Sea-to-Sea Route to the first yo-yo’s of the PCT and the CDT. There are very few “firsts” left to be accomplished and I believe that the AZT to GDT Route may well be the best opportunity left.