Watch the sun rise from Point Imperial and stretch your legs on this short but rewarding trail before the long drive from the North Rim back to Phoenix (or other points south)! This is an easy hike through an area of the Kaibab forest recovering from wildfire.
The trail starts at the Point Imperial parking lot and heads north; some maps, like the Falcon Guide, show it as a northerly extension of the Ken Patrick Trail. As the road falls away to the left you enter the old burn area, now dominated by the towering skeletons of pines and aspens. A stunning variety of pioneer species now thrive in this area ravaged by the 2000 Outlet fire. About a mile in, the trail swings briefly out to the Rim, and provides a couple informal viewpoints into Marble Canyon, before turning back inward across the plateau.
From here on meadows full of wildflowers alternate with thick stands of aspen saplings, and woodpeckers knock about in the pines. Birds are abundant, and keep your eyes peeled for mule deer and kaibab squirrels. This is really an excellent hike if you're a botanist or have an interest in re-establishment of an ecosystem following a forest fire.
This is an easy-going trail, well-maintained and mostly flat. If you're a flatlander and just hiked out of the Canyon the day before you might get a bit winded on one of the few gentle hills. There's no summit or other goal here, so turn around when you're ready to go back. Mileage given is to/from the junction with Saddle Mountain Trail, which continues on another few miles to the Nankoweep TH. - Aug 28 2007 NanGrand Canyon NPS Reports
4.0 mi. / 6.4 km round-trip; 2 hours approximate round-trip hiking time. This easy trail passes through areas burned by the 2000 Outlet Fire and ends at the north park boundary. From there connections are possible to the Nankoweap Trail and U.S. Forest Service roads.