For the most part, the Arizona Trail resupply options are well spaced, so that one doesn’t need to carry too many days of food. One of the nice things about the Arizona Trail is the easy access to towns along the trail.
We prefer to carry fewer days of food, so that means that we had quite a few resupply stops. Some hikers prefer to carry more food and go into towns less frequently…it is just a matter of personal preference. On this trail, we mailed all of our food, instead of buying in towns along the way…SweetPea had a gluten-free diet and Beardoh had a low sugar diet on the trail, so mailing our food just made things easier. Qball did a mix of mail drops and buying his resupply in towns. This worked out really well for us…we never had the problem of having to wait in town until we were able to pick up our package. We did ship two packages to post offices, but were able to make it to the post office during their open hours without any problems.
We figured we would give a run down on the resupply options for the trail, and what we did for resupply. We hope this information will be helpful for other hikers planning a thru hike.
Our Arizona Trail Resupply Plan
Patagonia (Mile 52.8 NOBO): We mailed our package to the post office in town. The trail goes right by the post office, so it was very convenient. Qball bought all of his resupply at the grocery store near Velvet Elvis Pizza joint. Typical country store food options and prices. We realized after Qball bought his food, that there was another grocery store in town (continue down the road past Gathering Grounds) which seemed to have more healthy food options.
La Posta Quemada (Mile 118.8 NOBO): We all mailed a package to La Posta Quemada which worked well, since the store (which holds the packages) is just a short quarter mile walk off the trail. When we went through (early March), the snack bar wasn’t open daily yet, and we arrived on a day it was closed. So, our “treat” options were sodas, candy bars, chips, and microwave popcorn from the gift shop.
Summerhaven (Mile 185.6 NOBO): We chose not to resupply in Summerhaven, since it was so close to Oracle, where we had a package waiting for us. They do have a general store which has the standard country store food and prices. The general store owners are very friendly and will accept mail drop packages for hikers, as well.
Oracle (Mile 206.6 NOBO): We all mailed packages to the Chalet Motel in Oracle. The owners of the motel are extremely friendly and helpful to hikers. They will pick you up from the trailhead, and will also drive you around town to get food and run errands. There is no grocery store in Oracle, but there is a convenience store and a Dollar General which you could use to cobble together a resupply.
Superior (Mile 301.6 NOBO): Since we were staying with our friends who live near Picket Post Trailhead, we didn’t need to resupply in Superior.
Roosevelt Lake (Mile 346.7 NOBO): We all sent a package here for resupply. When we arrived (it is a short half mile walk off the trail), we were a bit confused about where we should go to pick up our package. We ended up calling the number we had for them, and realized our package was at the marina (which is out in the lake). There were a few snacks, sodas, and ice cream bars to be bought at the marina store. The food is pretty pricey, but it is a nice spot to stop and hang out for a bit. Be sure not to drink the water straight out of the sinks at the grill, as it is not potable. Qball drank a liter of it before we were told to treat it. Luckily, he didn’t get sick, and we got some good laughs out of it.
LF Ranch (Mile 440.3 NOBO): We all sent a package to LF Ranch as there is no other way to resupply at this location. We did opt to sleep and have dinner at the ranch. We would definitely recommend arranging for dinner at the ranch…great home cooked food and huge amounts so every hiker can feel full.
Pine (Mile 463.9 NOBO): We sent a package to That Pub and Brewery, and Qball resupplied at the local grocery store. The grocery store was decent sized and it was easy to find good food for resupply. The town of Pine is not too big, so there is not a lot of walking required to resupply. That Pub and Brewery is located about one mile from the road crossing. The grocery store is about a half mile further down the road.
Mormon Lake (Mile 538 NOBO): We all sent a package to Mormon Lake. There is a small camp store (where you can pick up your package), which is a quick mile on a side trail. You could resupply at this store in a pinch, but the prices are a bit high. We spent several hours at the camp store escaping from the frigid morning, drinking hot beverages and eating snacks.
Flagstaff (Mile ~575 via the Town Route): There are several large grocery stores which you pass (or come very close to) along Route 66 (the Town Route). Since it is a larger town, you may need to walk a mile or so between your lodging and a grocery store. We sent a package to the Grand Canyon International Hostel. This worked out well, since we stayed there and it was close to many good and interesting restaurants.
Tusayan (Mile 691.3 NOBO): We all shipped a box here to the Tusayan General Store. When we arrived, we realized that our package was left in the the post office which is in the Tusayan General Store (about a quarter mile off the trail). We arrived on Saturday and were told that the postal worker only sorts the mail on Saturdays, but does not stay there to hand out packages. Luckily, the nice people in the General Store were able to get into the post office and retrieve our package. One could easily resupply at the Tusayan General Store, but beware that the prices are quite high.
Jacob Lake (Mile 770.8 NOBO): We all shipped a package here for resupply. The Jacob Lake Inn (several miles off trail) does sell a few snacks, and they have a bakery (very limited offerings when we went through in mid-April) but it would be very hard to buy your whole resupply here.
There are additional Arizona Trail resupply options, which we did not go to. We did hear a some tidbits about a few of the other resupply towns…there is a shower at the library in Globe which hikers have been able to use…The Old Time Pizza will deliver to the Florence-Kelvin road trailhead and if you want to go into Kearney, the delivery guy may be willing to take you back into town.
For those who have the ability or access to cache food along the trail, there are a couple optimal Arizona Trail Resupply spots in the southern portion of the trail. There are two locations between Oracle and Superior, where bear boxes have been installed at trailheads. There is often water cached for public use, but you can also cache your food in these boxes. The locations are:
- Freeman Road (Mile 236.6 NOBO)
- Florence-Kelvin Road (Mile 262.9 NOBO)
Thanks so much for posting this. Best resource I’ve seen on a resupply strategy. I’ll be hiking the AZT next spring (hopefully!) Could you do a post on how much water to carry for each section! That would be awesome!
Thanks for reading. Glad that you have found the resupply strategy helpful.
Water is a pretty individual thing. The most that we carried was just under 4 liters. Water intake needs depend on the particular heat of the day, hiking speed, previous day’s hydration, general health, time of day expending energy, and more. I’d hate to put out a recommendation about water needs and see anyone, whose needs are higher than my own, find themselves in danger – So, I don’t want to make specific recommendations for sections.
Typical suggestions that I have read are 1 Liter for every 4 miles, plus a liter at meals. This is roughly what we aim for as well.
I will say that the AZT (and even the Tahoe Rim Trail) changed our attitude about dry camping (camping away from a water source). Previously, we avoided dry camping and only did it when absolutely necessary. Now, we just carry the extra water so that we can camp where it otherwise makes the most sense.
Can I ask, were the resupply places on route or fairly close to the route or did you have to travel a couple miles to resupply? Thanks.
Hi Doug, Sorry for the late reply! Your message appears to have been improperly routed.
The AZT is interesting in that several of the resupplies are en route….not all, but compared to other trails, the towns are on-trail or very near (within a couple miles of the trail).
This was the first trail that we have done that didn’t require hitching. The two times that we rode in a car to get resupply was in Oracle (the owner of the motel we stayed at will come pick up hikers – they are excellent) and then at the area just north of Picket Post (Superior road crossing) – at that spot, our friends from Phoenix picked us up and we had a couple days of rest in Phoenix.
This is great – just the right amount of details. Thank you for the post.
Thank you – hoping to plan a thru (or a two-year) for 2017. I found your posting enormously helpful and encouraging.
Beardoh and SweetPea says
Excellent! Glad this helped!
I’m not sure if you have this information posted elsewhere on your site,
and if so, I apologize, but I was wondering whether you bought a map/guidebook, or used GPS for the hike, or both? if so, which book?
I am researching trails for next summer and have been drawn in by reports of the AZT.
Thanks for your time,
Beardoh and SweetPea says
Hi Max, we used the maps that the ATA puts out. They are quite good. We did read the Guidebook for the AZT, and used it in planning. There is now an app from Guthook, and I’d recommend buying it as well. We largely use paper maps ourselves, but the apps are quite handy to have as well.
Doing the Arizona trail this April and this summary really helped – thanks. Just wondering how far is the LF Ranch off the trail if you remember.
Hi Christine, thanks for checking out the post. LF Ranch is basically right on the trail. Maybe a touch off, but not miles, if memory serves. My notes say “0 miles off Trail”
Great post! I’m planning a thru beginning the last week of February next year. Do you have any thoughts regarding the best way to get to a major airport? I’ve looked at several of the trail websites and not been able to find that answer. Thanks….
Beardoh and SweetPea says
Thanks for checking out the page! The AZT has some challenging termini to get to. We were lucky and had friends in Phoenix who could help. Check out https://hikearizona.com/ and post a ‘shuttle needed’ post. In addition, join the AZT Facebook page and ask for a ride there. Hopefully someone can lend a hand.
Andrew Wainwright says
I’m thinking about taking a walk on this trail this coming spring. I was wondering what it cost you to send and hold packages at the various places you shipped them to.
Hi Andrew – most places will hold a package for free. Often motels expect that you are staying with them if you are sending a package, so general hiker etiquette would be to stay or offer money if you need to move on down the trail. We usually use USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate to ship. Medium boxes are around $15 and large boxes are around $18 if I recall correctly.
Good luck on the AZT! We loved it!
Paul Maher says
Thank you for posting this information. I will be travelling from UK and starting AZT in March next year. Before sending resupply boxes to any of these locations is it normal/expected to contact them beforehand to ask if it’s ok to do so? Should post offices be asked before sending?
Hi Paul – generally you do not need to check with a post office before sending. It could be a good idea to call and confirm the hours of the post office however and then just mention what you are doing . Our general preference is to mail to motels / hostels since it is possible to get the package on a weekend or in the evening.
If you are sending to a private business, such as a motel, restaurant, etc – definitely call and check to make sure they are accepting packages.
When we ship to a motel and don’t end up staying at the motel (for whatever reason), we offer them some money for holding the package for us. We have never had a place accept $$ (when they don’t otherwise have a fee).
Best of luck on the AZT!
Hey Beardoh, Whats the food storage situations in regards to bears. Is it similar to the pct where most are sleeping with it? (except where Cans are required). I have an Ursack I was thinking of using.
Hi Christian – Thanks for checking out the site – It is pretty similar to the PCT where most hikers are sleeping with their food. We used Loksaks ourselves and just leaned them next to a tree not far away. I think using an Ursack is a good idea. In general, we are more concerned about about rodents getting into food overnight. Good luck on the AZT hike, it is a wonderful trail!
Hi Beardoh, Thank you for the amazing AZT resupply guide. I’m planning to hike the AZT in March and was wondering what your daily average was for mileage. ALso did you have any issues with stinging / biting critters whilst ground sleeping? i typically use a tent however i would like to cowboy camp with a tarp “if needed” for rain, to be a bit more in tune whith the desert. But i know there are rattlesnakes and scorpions and such so i was looking into a bugnet / bivy to keep citters out but was wondering what your opinion was if its worth the extra weight and trouble? Thanks!
Hi David – Thanks for checking out the site. Our overall average was 20 miles per day but more miles per day in the north than in the south because of the sky islands in the south.
No issues with stinging or biting creatures..we would cowboy camp again. That being said, there can be strong winds in that part of the country in the spring. We experienced this a bit on the AZT but even more on the GET when passing through similar parts of the southwest. I have bivy on order for an upcoming hike of the ODT this fall….but am adding it for warmth mainly. Like you we prefer sleeping under the stars.
Micki Jerry says
Hey Beardoh, thanks for the post. Super helpful. I am planning a spring NOBO and have a few questions. Did you mail all your resupply packages at once, or have someone mail them after you left? How long did the thru hike take? How many zero’s?
Thanks for checking out the post!
I believe we had 6 zeroes but not all were necessary. We took a couple simply because we had extra time, one to kill time to wait for our ride to get up north at the end,..and another to to make some food.
We did the hike in 40 days. That was a pretty average pace.
We mailed some packages before the start and then mailed more from the Superior/Phoenix town stop. We had friends in Phoenix so they picked us up, and we made a little more food, shopped for the rest of the trail and sent out boxes.
Check out our daily journals for the AZT hike as well – https://www.longdistancehiker.com/arizona-trail-2015-posts/
Very helpful information thanks. I am thinking to do the AZT in March-April 2020. I am 72 years old, reasonably fit and have done the JMT twice in recent years. At this stage I am looking at starting solo. Tell me, is this doable or am I dreaming?
Hi Dave – we think this would be very doable for you. If you have done the John Muir trail recently, you are physically equipped to do the AZT. You may find the Sky islands in the southern half challenging, but take your time going over the sky islands and enjoy yourself. We were pretty satisfied with our start date in early March. It gave a large window to complete the trail. It is a wonderful trail – enjoy!
Edgar Blubaum says
Thanks for the information, it will be very helpful next spring. I see you hiked the GET. I tried it this spring and it was not the trail for me! I am 65 years old and not good with maps and electronics. I only made it to Safford and got tired of being lost and looking for the trail. I wish I had done the AZT instead. The 70 miles on the AZT were my favorite on the hike. I will attempt to hike it next spring if all goes well. My only question for you is this: What would the best month in your opinion to begin a nobo hike. Thanks, cobweb
Hey Cobweb! Thanks for checking out our blog. Yeah, the GET certainly requires a lot of map and GPS use! Sounds like you made the right decision to stop in Safford. The stretch between Morenci and Alma is especially hard to follow at times, so count yourself lucky! We met a hiker who got lost in that section for several days! If you liked the part of the AZT you hiked this spring, then I’m sure you’ll love the rest of the AZT. It is definitely one of our favorite trails. We started in early March (the 3rd maybe?) and were pretty happy with that date. We had warm days in the south and very cold days up north, but we would probably do the same time frame again if we were to hike the AZT in the future. Good luck next spring!