One path is well-maintained, has a name and a map, passes by a store with restrooms and a water fountain and a bus stop, has 450 5-star reviews on Google maps, guarantees at least one “excellent” vista, and loops back to exactly where you parked.
It’s a hot day, it’s the desert, and you know exactly where you can refill your two liter water bottles.
The other isn’t really a path, but a hiker told you that if you just head toward that mountain, follow the watershed into a canyon, look for the footprints to a ledge that takes you around an enormous pour over, you’ll come to a meadow full of wildflowers.
She was pretty sure there’d still be water in the stream this time of year.
Oh, and your friends all decided to take the well-maintained path. Another thing: they hired a really boring guide you have to listen to.