Top Ten National Forests in the United States

Kaibab National Forest, Arizona
By Rene Vasicek

No forest in the Southwest can match the Kaibab National Forest's seamless fusion of canyon, desert, and mountain. And no other national forest is situated so preciously (and precariously) at the edge of the Grand Canyon. The Kaibab actually straddles the absymal canyon, nudging up against both the north and south rim. It serves as an excellent base camp for mountain-biking rides along the canyon rim and hiking expeditions into the labyrinth that lies below.

The Kaibab and Kanab plateaus are carved up into a latticework of sheer-walled gorges. Within these walls, water and wind shapes bizarre otherworldly rock and sand sculptures typical of the Southwest but more often associated with the canyon lands of Utah. In the south Kaibab, aspen groves give way to thick stands of ponderosa pine, spruce, and fir as the plateau surrenders to alpine slopes.

Just the Facts

Size: 1.6 million acres

Highest point: Kendrick Peak, at 10,418 feet

Features: Hikers can wander between vertical-walled cliffs and red-rock buttes in the winding maze of Sycamore Canyon. The four-mile Kendrick Mountain Trail leads to the summit and offers unparalleled views of the Grand Canyon to the north and Oak Creek Canyon to the south. Mountain bikers must seize the opportunity to bike along the northern rim of the Grand Canyon.


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »