As I have previously mentioned I host backpacking/hiking events with Arizona and Beyond 35 and Under Backpacking and Hiking. This is an online meetup.com group that I joined a few years back. Planning events can be a daunting task for the new event host. Yet by investing time in the planning stage, you are more likely to host a successful event in the backcountry. There is one particular website that stands above the rest during the planning stages. Unless you have never planned an event or have never hiked in Arizona, you have heard of hikearizona.com. This single website started by Joe Bartels in 1996, has become an icon to the Arizona hiking scene.
There are multiple features that allow the user to find, plan, and execute a hike/mtb/canyoneering trip/ etc. Over the course of multiple posts I will spotlight one of these features and try to walk you through using them.
Finding A New Hike-
One of the most useful features of the website is the ability to 'Find' a hike. There is a large button in the top left hand corner of the screen. This button will take you to a page that allows
This link takes you to a page that allows you to select parameters of your hike. For instance you can select the month, location, distance, type of trip, etc.
Orange Arrow- This menu allows for you to select which part of the state you are searching for a hike. I have selected Flagstaff because I am a Phoenician, and we all desire to be there in the cooler weather. If you do not know the specific region for your desired hike you can select 'All Regions'
Red Arrow- This allows you to select the desired month for the hike. Some particular hikes are better done in the summer or vice versa, this dropdown makes that easier for you.
Yellow Arrow- This menu has the selection for the minimum mileage desired for your hike. Keep in mind that some trails will be excluded because the trip actually links multiple trails to form a longer trip. If this trip is not individually identified as a multi trail trip then it will be excluded. For example the trip description for Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon links multiple shorter trails for a combined trip mileage of 44.5 miles.
Blue Arrow- This menu is identical to the yellow arrow but allows you to select the maximum mileage for your trail. Again the above mention of excluding some trails applies to this menu as well.
Green Arrow- This menu allows the minimum accumulative elevation gain (AEG) to be selected. I selected a AEG of at least 1000 feet. This means over the course of the trail I will travel 1000 vertical feet. This can be a straight climb or a combination of rolling hills totaling 1000 feet.
Purple Arrow- Similar to the green arrow you can select how much climbing you want to do for the day. I selected a maximum of 3000 feet.
After making the above selections the 'Traildex' has found two descriptions that fit my criteria. To narrow the search down further you can make the following selections.
Red Arrows- Highlighted by the red arrows are the three more detailed location selections you can make. The forest preserve area, national park service area, and wilderness area can be selected. This is useful if there are known closures due to fires or other events you can avoid the area completely. This also makes it easy to eliminate trips that require permits (NPS mostly) or trips where you cannot mountain bike (Wilderness Areas).
Below the location selections there are currently 14 more drop down menus that allow you to fine tune your selection.
Type- Select the desired mode of your adventure. Are you hiking, biking, boating, tubing or rockhounding? There are way too many possible activities to list.
Backpack- Are you seeking a backpacking trip specifically? You can select 'Yes' or 'Connecting'. 'Connecting' descriptions are linked to other descriptions that can be........wait for it.... connected! This can create a trip using multiple descriptions.
Creeks- If water is your focus you can select 'Perennial' (year round) or 'seasonal' creeks along the trail. This can be extremely helped when planning a summer trip and needing water.
Dog- This one is obvious. Is Fido coming? This will include or exclude descriptions where dogs are not allowed.
Historic- If you are looking to experience some of the diverse history of the state, select this option. It will include hikes to old mines, ghost towns, or historical points of interest.
Loop- Covering the same terrain twice is boring. Selecting a 'True' loop ensures that you will not see the same trail, unless you get lost and have to backtrack. The 'Lasso' is obviously a lasso shaped hike so you won't encounter all the trail twice, just part of it. 'Multi loop' can be a figure eight, or chains when viewing the route.
Mtn Bike- If you are just seeking a ride select this option.
Off Trail- Adventures off the beaten path can be found using this drop down. It can also eliminate any off trail hiking by selecting 'No'.
Peak- Bagging peaks are fun. Make sure your hike has a peak to bag by selecting 'Yes'.
Roads- Depending on what car you are taking you can avoid getting it stuck by picking the right type of approach road here.
Ruins- If historic ruins are your thing you can find them using this drop down.
Shuttle- Avoiding a shuttle hike is always the best plan when hiking solo. This selection will eliminate those descriptions that require a car drop.
Swim- It is going to be hot and sticky soon so make sure you select 'Yes' and find some good skinny dipping holes.
Waterfalls- If romance is on the mind you might select either a 'Perennial' or 'Seasonal' waterfall to help set the mood. Don't laugh, it has worked out for some of us.....
Obviously you can leave all these selections blank and then fine tune them as you go. Making a selection will update the results in real time.
Depending on the selections you have made the number hikes listed will vary. The ratings (from HAZ members) will appear to the left of the description. Also to left the type of activity is pictured. In the above photo you can see the top description is a hike and the bottom description is a canyoneering route. The thumbs up pictures signifies that the hike is in season. This means that the trip is best done during this particular part of year, even though it could technically be done anytime. This is important for beginner hikers to pay attention to because not doing so could lead to a miserable experience. To view the trip description just click the name and the description page will pop up. The following arrows spotlight ways to organize your results.
Red Arrow 1- This will sort the results by the number of GPS routes/tracks. If you click the image once the sorting is done by highest number of tracks. Clicking the image a second time will sort the results by lowest number of GPS routes/tracks.
Orange Arrow- By clicking this icon you can sort the results by the highest number of images attached to this description. By clicking the icon a second time it will rearrange the results with the least photos first.
Yellow Arrow- This icon will sort the results by the number of triplogs linked to the description. Again hitting the icon a second time will show the results with the least triplogs first.
Blue Arrow- Not a huge fan of this icon as the difficulty of the description is quite suggestive. None the less, clicking it will sort the results by rated difficulty. Click the icon once for the most difficult triplogs to appear first, and twice for the easiest/unrated to appear first.
Green Arrow- The icon here allows you to sort by the mileage. Click once for the highest mileage and twice for the lowest.
Red Arrow 2- By clicking the 'Gain' button the results are sorted by highest gain. Click twice to reverse the sorting at list the lowest first. If you click the 'TH Elev' button the results will be sorted by the highest elevation start of the trail or click twice for the lowest.
At the far right of these icons are three more icons that provide more information. The first of these three is a heart. You can click the heart that is in line with the trip description to add it to your favorites list. Next to the heart icon is a star. This allows you to add the hike to your wishlist which can be viewed later. This is particularly helpful if you are browsing HAZ at work and the boss walks in. Quickly click the star icon and close the browser before they realize you were fantasizing about being on the trail and not working. The icon clipboard signifies that you have completed the hike. If you have done it multiple times the number on the clipboard will change to represent that number.
Hopefully this post clarifies the 'Traildex' feature on HAZ. Successfully using this feature allows you to locate and plan the event you have been dreaming of. Now get out and hike.