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The hiking trails of the Coronado National Forest sky islands offer near unmatched variety. Elevation determines not only the air temperature, with lowlands warmer than highlands, but also the types of plants and animals encountered. The warm climate and desert plants for which Arizona is known occur only at lower elevations, while pine, fir, and spruce cover the highest mountain tops, with grasslands and oak woodlands between.

Hikers can explore the desert lowlands during the winter, then come back in summer to wander through cool high-elevation Ponderosa pine forest during the summer months. Or consider starting in the towering pines of a mountain summit and walking downhill to finish among giant saguaro cactus on the desert floor all in a single day hike.

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