Route: Arizona Trail (AZ)

Arizona, US

"The Arizona Trail is an 800+ mile recreation trail from Mexico to Utah that connects mountain ranges, canyons, deserts, forests, wilderness areas, historic sites, trail systems, points of interest, communities, and people. It serves dayhikers, backpackers, equestrians, mountain bicyclists, trail runners, nature enthusiasts, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and mule and llama packers." (From The AZT is designated as a National Scenic Trail. Currently, just about 35 of the trail's 800+ miles remain to be linked, as indicated on this map.

An email from the anonymous previous self-supported FKT holder gives a run-down of some previous FKTs on the AZT:

"In 2007 I bested Li Banfors time of 35 days and some change. I am not sure Li was going for a record, but when I set out in 2007 that was the time I was hoping to best. April 8th 2007 - May 7th 2007 with a time of 30 days 7hrs 30 minutes. This was record was broken spring of 2009 by Matt Signore aka Worldwide with a time of 28 days 22hrs. I chatted with Matt after the trip to verify and I felt comfortable with the fact that he had indeed walked an unsupported speed record of the AZT." (A link to the hiker's AZT trail journal was given, but the journal has been removed.)

The anonymous hiker went back to the AZT in the spring of 2011 and demolished Signore's time, completing the trail in 21d14h16m. His trip was mostly classic thru-hiker style, but he literally ran for the first 4 days with ultralight gear before switching to backpacking. He also walked to all resupply points. (A link to a complete TR on the hiker's blog had been given, but has been removed.)

All previous FKTs on the AZT were smashed by Michael Versteeg, who ran the route in fully supported style in 15d22h39m, Oct. 3-19, 2016. This trip was reported on Versteeg's Twitter feed, and tracked on

Interestingly, Heather Anderson was on the AZT at the same time as Versteeg, going in her typical thru-hiker (self-supported) style. She completed the route with a new FKT for that style, and new women's overall FKT of 19d17h9m (SoBo), from 4:17pm on Oct. 7 to 9:26am on Oct. 27, 2016. Her lengthy, detailed report is here.

On December 20, 2015, Kathy & Ras Vaughan completed the first known out & back (yo-yo) of the AZT in a total time of 93d6h22m and using classic thru-hiker style (self-supported, no rides). The couple started at the Mexico border on September 18 and reached the Utah border on November 4. More details are given below by Ras Vaughan.




With great respect for the current record holder Heather Anderson and all who came before, I would like to announce my intention on attempting to break the current self supported fastest known time (fkt) of 19d :17h : 9min on the 800 mile long Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT) on foot. I will start at the monument at Stateline Campground and will be going southbound to the Mexican border.

I will not have anyone following, or otherwise meeting me in prearranged manner to give me support. I plan to do this carrying all of my food, equipment, and water between resupply towns, which I will walk into and out to pick up mailed food boxes or purchasing food. I will not be getting in a vehicle for any reason during this attempt, if I do it means the attempt is off. I will be following the official AZT route. I will carry a Spot tracker for verification as document the attempt by video and photo and will occasionally post on my Instagram (depending on service/battery life) @matthiaskodym.

My main goal is to experience the AZT in exposing myself to the trail as much as I can, If I notice I can not hold the pace my main goal is to finish the journey from Utah to Mexico on the AZT.



That's great Matthias.  When are you starting?  And, please provide the link for your spot either here publicly or by contacting us via the Contact link under "More" above.  Good luck!

Thanks Peter, I will post a link when I have figured everything out about it. Planing on starting either Sept. 30 or Oct. 1


Both Derrick & Matthias stopped after about 5 days.

Derrick Lytle:  "This is not where I wanted to be today. Off pace, cold from days of rain, sleep deprived from that same rain storm, and overall frustrated knowing that my AZT goal of a solo self supported FKT is no longer feasible. I had a window of time with work that allowed me to start and finish but Mother Nature has different plans for me. After some time contemplating I pulled the plug at mile 143.5."

Matthias Kodym:  "I quit after day five because of an overuse injury likely caused from walking fast on flat terrain which I am not used to. The margin in such undertakings is very small I guess and it did not work out for me this time. Humbled by Anish‘s effort. Thanks for following and your words of encouragement."

I'm announcing my intention to set a new self-supported FKT of the 800-mile Arizona Trail. I'll be traveling southbound, and I plan to start my attempt early on 10/18. I've communicated with Heather Anderson, the current record holder, and I'll be posting a public link to my SPOT Tracker page, so that people can follow me. I'll have the tracking function set to transmit every hour, and I'll also use the 'ok' function sporadically. I'll also be using Strava Beacon as well. I will try to post to my social media (IG - @elmatador.witt) when I can. I'm grateful to Anish and all of the others that have come before. I'm expecting this to be a pretty cold run, but I'm excited to see one of my favorite trails in the Fall!

I'm currently in Kanab, UT and very excited and nervous to begin my attempt tomorrow morning (10/18). I will be getting dropped off at the Stateline Campground tonight, and I plan to begin early in the morning. You can follow my progress through my public SPOT Tracker page here.…

I can't wait to get on the trail! Thanks for all of the support!

-El Matador