The Triple Alcoves Trail as a very short and easy venture out to the west rim of Marble Canyon. It's not challenging nor legendary, but the minimal effort pays off big with a great view and guaranteed solitude in this lightly traveled corner of the state.
The hike starts off with a greeting from not one but two "Saddle Mountain Wilderness" signs. Ah, the wilderness. This perhaps won't be your most intense wilderness experience, but entering the wilderness is refreshing none the less. The trail rambles toward the Marble Canyon rim through a pleasant section of Pinyon-Juniper woodlands with a nice variety of century plants, prickly pears and other high-desert transitional type vegetation. If you come at the right time (typically May after a reasonably wet winter), you will be treated to a grand wildflower show. This is not a heavily traveled trail, so there is some slight overgrowth here and there and a couple sections where the trail becomes faint but still easily followed.
Suddenly you are at the rim of Marble Canyon! The Colorado River runs steadily through the canyon 3,000 vertical feet below where you stand. The Triple Alcoves are directly below on the Redwall Limestone, but don't seem to be visible. However, further exploration off-trail along the rim could reveal them. This section of canyon is on a huge bend in the river, giving a sort of "Horseshoe Bend" type of feel to the scene. The Echo Cliffs and Shinumo Alter are visible beyond the canyon to the east. Far to the north are the Vermilion Cliffs, which you undoubtedly drove by to get here. To the south is Grand Canyon proper, and all the crowds you left behind, because you are most likely all alone. No guard rails here.
If you are in the House Rock Valley/Saddle Mountain area, this is a must do. The view is great and the walk is so short and easy, there is really no reason not to knock it out. - May 23 2010 hippiepunkpirate