Arizona is a seemingly endless expanse of rugged landscapes. Low deserts are backed by pine covered mountains and red hued mesas. It’s a beautiful place accessed via a warren of rocky roads, some seemingly as old as the hills themselves. Finding your way through this state is not always easy with good guidebooks few and far between. One of the best books we have available is dedicated to outlining the beauty and challenges of the Great Western Trail as it winds its way from Phoenix to the Utah border. Written by Raymond and Jennifer Andrews, it’s densely packed with detailed information.
The history of the Great Western Trail is detailed in the first chapter of the book and described as a 4500-mile long network of preexisting trails that will eventually traverse a broad corridor through central Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming with the northern terminus in Canada. Still a work in progress thirty years after its inception, the 350 miles established within the state of Arizona represent an exciting challenge for anyone with the appropriate vehicle and sense of adventure.
Broken into thirteen sections, Driving the Great Western Trail in Arizona is easy to use, and provides an economy of information without any superfluous material to sort through. Each section lists directions to the starting point, permit requirements, ideal seasons, travel times, trail difficulty, as well as any restrictions that may be worth knowing about in advance. There’s a detailed listing of the available map references and enough GPS points to keep you comfortably on course. With only 128 pages, this compact book slips neatly in a glove box for quick and easy access.
Ray and Jennifer clearly spent a great deal of time trundling down these roads for hours on end in their highly modified Jeep JK as they assembled all of the details contained within the book. It has the prerequisite feel of first hand knowledge that all good guidebooks should have. It’s one of the best guidebooks within the state of Arizona, and a compelling reason to load up some supplies and hit the trail.
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