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South Rim Trails
South Rim Hikes

South Rim Trails

Postby Jim_H » Oct 11 2010 3:57 pm

I just want to bounce this off of people who are familiar with the Canyon, like Al, who can sound in, both for me and anyone else who may be reading.

From looking over trails at the canyon, the basic summary of those that leave from the South Rim and are accessible as day hikes are:
The Hermit Trail, Bright Angel Trail, South Kaibab Trail, Grandview Trail, New Hance Trail, and the Tanner Trail. It looks like the only one that does not reach the River is the Grandview, and the primary ones that are well maintained are the Bright Angel and South Kaibab, the others being in rough shape.

Having day hiked to the river and back on the Bright Angel and South Kaibab, which of the other above mentioned trails offers the best views of the canyon? From GPS plots, it appears they are all about the same and do not climb in canyons as the BA does. My assumption would be that the Hermit trail is not really convenient to access this time of year with the bus requirement and the time consumed with riding it, so it is better to use the trails on the east drive. Keeping in mind that I drive up for the day, prefer to sleep to between 6 to 7 AM, and day light is getting less and less in the evening. Of those, which do some hikers favor the most? That is, if you were to do a next logical step trail, which would it be if you were me?

Also, from looking at the Grandview, the cavern hike might be a nice alternative to going to the river. Is it as easy to find with no GPS as one might like it to be?
Thanks
It is because the Mount Elden Trail is just such a great trail, and the summit is pretty nice, too.
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby azbackpackr » Oct 11 2010 5:03 pm

Grandview and Hermit very good trails for day hiking. Yes, you can do cave. Or go to Miner's/Page spring.

Tanner very steep, lots of places where you have to butt-scoot, but a lot of people day hike part of it. The views are unreal on Tanner. If I were you I would go down it sometime, go about 5 miles and turn around. NO water on Tanner.

New Hance has a lot of scree, not very good for dayhiking. NO water until river.

South Bass takes a long time and 4wd to get to, but is a very good trail. NO reliable water until river.

Tonto: Some people dayhike Tonto loops: Kaibab to BA is shortest. Very fit people often do the 24 mile Hermit to BA in one day also.

If you really want to see the Canyon, you backpack. I am almost finished with all of South Rim

The gate to Hermit's Rest is open sometimes. Just call. I have the combination to it, too, but probably am not supposed to give it out.

Right now I am figuring on doing Waldron to Boucher instead of leaving from Hermit trailhead in 2 weeks, but we do not quite have all the logistics figured out. Originally we had just planned on starting at Hermit and doing Boucher-Hermit Loop. I have 3 night permit. But now I think we may start at Waldron instead. Then I can knock that one off my list.

So, as a dayhike, that Boucher-tonto Hermit loop also could be done by very fit hiker, is 21 miles. Does not go to river in those 21 miles but there are at least 2 water sources, (and should be more after all this rain, due to big potholes on Boucher.) Go DOWN Boucher, then take Tonto to the east, catch Hermit and hike out. I have talked to people who have dayhiked it. As I said, I am a backpacker and primarily the only reason I day hike is to stay in shape for backpacking. (And I don't get out often enough...)

Hope all this helps. The biggies in Canyon hiking will likely respond eventually.
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby Al_HikesAZ » Oct 11 2010 5:48 pm

Elizabeth has some great info. I'm going to split my answer into a couple of parts. This first part is the NPS designation of trails excerpted from Wikipedia to help put the trails into perspective.

Established trails within backcountry areas of the park are assigned one of the following designations by the National Park Service: [8]
Corridor Trails
Threshold Trails
Primitive Trails
Routes/Wild
These designations define the expected daily use of a trail, as well as its level of management, maintenance, and patrol by park personnel or backcountry rangers

Corridor trails
A corridor trail receives the highest hiking and stock use by visitors to the park and mule use by park concessionaires. To accommodate this, the National Park Service regularly patrols and maintains corridor trails.
The following South Rim trails are designated as corridor trails:
Bright Angel Trail
South Kaibab Trail

Threshold trails
A threshold trail receives lower visitation than corridor trails, but will receive more than primitive trails. The National Park Service does not regularly maintain threshold trails, but reconstructs sections damaged by environmental forces, or to prevent further trail erosion. Maintenance will also be done to protect historical features along a threshold trail. Cairns are permitted, but are to be placed discriminately.
The following South Rim trails are designated as threshold trails:
Grandview Trail
Hermit Trail

Primitive trails
A primitive trail receives the least visitation of all trails. The National Park Service does not regularly maintain primitive trails, but reconstructs sections damaged by environmental forces only in cases where its existing condition creates a hazard. Multiple trail eradication is done to prevent accidental off-trail hiking. Cairns are permitted, but are to be placed discriminately.
The following South Rim trails are designated as primitive trails:
Tanner
South Bass
Tonto
Beamer

Routes
A route is a footpath that does not fall under the definition of trail because it was not deliberately constructed, or contains portions of trails that have fallen into such disrepair that they can no longer be identified on a map. Routes may exist due to cross-country hiking or animal use. Due to their difficulty, routes receive the lowest visitation of all footpaths within the park. The National Park Service only maintains routes to minimize damage to nearby natural resources.
The following South Rim Trails do not fall into any of the above trail designations, and are classified as routes:
Escalante Route
Royal Arch Route
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby hikeaz » Oct 11 2010 6:04 pm

Grandview lives up to it's moniker.
No need for a GPS to find Cave-of-the-Domes, but if you must, the entrance is @ 411499 x 3987150; but where's the fun in THAT?
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby Al_HikesAZ » Oct 11 2010 6:04 pm

So you are ready to graduate from the Corridor Trails. Learn the Canyon and look at the Threshold trails next. For dayhikes, the Hermit Trail would be the next logical progression. It can be a Rim-river-rim dayhike if you are really fit. It has views like South Kaibab except to the west not the east. Anyone with a Backcountry Pass from Hermits TH gets the code to the gate. But I thought they changed the code monthly. The gate is open from Nov 1(?) to March 31(?). The next progression from a Hermit Rim River Rim would be a Hermit-Boucher Loop. No River, but you don't need to go to the River to enjoy the Canyon. There are a lot of other great things to discover. And some great climbs (Battleship). Grandview is a nice threshold trail. The hike to Horseshoe Mesa and the caves is a nice dayhike.

Look at these two books
http://hikearizona.com/books.php?REV=1&ID=60&STu=
http://hikearizona.com/books.php?REV=1&ID=24&STu=
They will fit with your progress.

Spend the money and buy this map
http://hikearizona.com/books.php?REV=1&ID=928&STu=
It has all of the Use Areas and maps.

Eventually you will progress to overnight trips and some light backpacking. New Hance-Escalante-Beamer is on my list. I want to see the LCR. I also want to get to Royal Arch. Then you get George Steck's book and Harvey's notebooks. :scared: You will (must) learn tricks on water management and cacheing. And then there's the North Rim! The North Rim is a world unto itself. Very different from the South Rim. More water. Ancestral Puebloan ruins. Wotan's Throne was Harvey's favorite. The ashes of Harvey and Roma (his wife) were scattered up there.

Have fun. Enjoy. Develop your skills, Know your strengths and your limits. :DANCE: ONCE MORE INTO THE BREACH, DEAR FRIENDS, ONCE MORE!
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby azbackpackr » Oct 11 2010 6:19 pm

Al, I have done New Hance to Grandview, am thinking of putting in for Grandview to SK in March, I have not hiked that section of Tonto. BUT I would consider Tanner-Beamer or New-Hance-Escalante-Tanner. If you are interested...dates would be right about March 19 to 23 or thereabouts--about 4 nights. Also, I sent you a PM.
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby Al_HikesAZ » Oct 11 2010 6:30 pm

azbackpackr wrote:Al, I have done New Hance to Grandview, am thinking of putting in for Grandview to SK in March, I have not hiked that section of Tonto. BUT I would consider Tanner-Beamer or New-Hance-Escalante-Tanner. If you are interested...dates would be right about March 19 to 23 or thereabouts--about 4 nights. Also, I sent you a PM.

That's the height of tax season for me. So I would probably go at the end of April. Or in February. I love the Canyon in the winter.

Those should be fun hikes.
The trick on the Tonto is to look across and make sure you know where you are going to come out on the other side.
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby The Eagle » Oct 11 2010 7:09 pm

A lot of great info! Thanks all for posting :) Now I just have to remember it's here when I need it....
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby maxpower » Oct 11 2010 10:47 pm

I'll just put in my 2 cents too. Hermit Trail has several day hiking opportunities and you don't have to go to the river (or as far as the Tonto junction) to appreciate the canyon experience. You can do Hermit-Waldron-Dripping Springs-Boucher out towards Yuma Point and retrace your route back out. Similarly, take Hermit down as far as Breezy Point or Cathedral Stairs and return. As was mentioned, a 24 mile day is do-able in cooler weather by a strong hiker, and that puts out the Hermit-Tonto-BA loop. I did this loop last Thursday in fact. Now I am no spring chicken, as I'm 62 yrs old but in decent shape and hike in the canyon each week. It took me just over 11 hours, with water stops at Monument Creek and IG. I caught the shuttle bus to Hermits Rest at 6:00 AM and it was the 2nd bus of the day so you could catch the 5:30 bus for an even earlier start. At this time of year you might need a headlamp for 20 minutes or so...I didn't need mine when I started down at 6:20 AM. Water available if needed at the Santa Maria spring house, but the drip was so slow the other day that it was barely useable. You'd need to filter the water from the metal trough instead. Take care at 1 or 2 spots where rock slides have obliterated the trail. The trail is not always obvious for a few yards, but if you miss it, you'll know pretty quickly.

I like an out-and-back on Tanner versus New Hance, just because of the nicer scenery and easier walking once you're down through the Coconino. Take Tanner down as far as the drop through the Redwall and return for about an 8-9 mile round trip. No water.
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby azbackpackr » Oct 12 2010 3:21 am

Great info!
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby Jim_H » Oct 12 2010 9:11 am

Thanks, good info to have. I have no GPS, so I'll have to look for the social trail or route to the caves. Backpacking? In time, perhaps. Water is my only concern about the Canyon. In the places I have backpacked before, I had way more than I ever needed; the Gila, basins in the CO and WY Rockies and the Sierra Nevada. With waning day length and my desire to see more to the canyon before I leave here, I think I will be sticking with day hikes. You never know, though, I may get a wild hair. I'll have to look at water on the Tonto. A New Hance to S. Kaibab might be fun in January if I'm not working. For my next hike, I actually was thinking about not going to the river. With the sun going down earlier, and views almost completely disappearing once in the Inner Gorge, I thought it might be nice to have a more relaxed hike that only goes to 4000' or so.
It is because the Mount Elden Trail is just such a great trail, and the summit is pretty nice, too.
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby Al_HikesAZ » Oct 12 2010 9:33 am

I was reminded recently of Ken McNamara's 3 Rules for Hiking the Grand Canyon:
Rule #1: Start early. Spend ALL day in the Canyon. There is never enough time in the Canyon. The end of the trail always comes too soon.

In our culture we rush from place to place. Journeys are rarely an event in and of themselves. They're usually only a commute between places. This is fine when the commute is just a commute. It is not true here.

Rule # 2: Stop often. Experience the Canyon. It's more than a trail through a pile of rocks. If you hike continuously, you'll miss it. You have to stop and be still to see it. I'd almost recommend wearing a watch with an alarm; something to remind you to stop occasionally and consider your surroundings. It is so easy to just go right on hiking, slogging along in a commuter's frame of mind. Walking right by the reason you came here in the first place. And as you wear down physically it's easy to begin ignoring the incredible experience and just drive for the day's destination.

Hiking the Canyon is like exploring a castle: both have many rooms. The Canyon may appear to be just one place but in reality it is a multitude of places. It can change completely when you walk through a tunnel, turn a corner, or go around a bend.

Rule # 3: There are NO destinations in the Canyon . . . The Canyon IS your destination. Inevitably when I hike out of the Canyon and reach the Rim, I look back, and wonder why I was in such a hurry. I always vow to myself that on my next hike I'll get to the trailhead at dawn to enter the Canyon and I'll walk out just as the sun is setting. My destination is neither the hotel room on the rim nor the campground at the bottom. My destination is the journey in between.

Maybe next time I'll see the Canyon better than ever before."
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby azbackpackr » Oct 12 2010 9:36 am

Very well said. Good advice.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby maxpower » Oct 12 2010 10:06 am

Ditto! "There is no destination....Grand Canyon IS the destination!" That should be emblazoned on trailhead signs and backpacking permit applications. Enjoy the day instead of the miles. I'll be up there on Thursday, early (5 AM-ish) to hike with a headlamp down the SK, maybe getting some sunrise pics from Cedar Ridge. After that? I dunno, wander about, maybe down to the Tonto and over into Cremation or something. I like being able to do things on the spur of the moment, without a definite plan.
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby Jim_H » Oct 12 2010 10:07 am

To each his own, or her (Elizabeth).
It is because the Mount Elden Trail is just such a great trail, and the summit is pretty nice, too.
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby Dschur » Oct 12 2010 4:11 pm

Al_HikesAZ wrote:Anyone with a Backcountry Pass from Hermits TH gets the code to the gate. But I thought they changed the code monthly. The gate is open from Nov 1(?) to March 31(?).


From National Park website
Hermit Road
During 2008, Grand Canyon National Park repaved and improved the seven-mile long historic Hermit Road, located on the South Rim between Grand Canyon Village and Hermits Rest.

Busy Season: Road Closed to Private Vehicles (March 1, through November 30)
Free shuttle bus service and commercial tours provide the transportation along the scenic Hermit Road. Vehicles with accessibility permits are permitted.


Winter: Road Open to All Vehicles (December 1, through February 28)The free shuttle buses do not run during the winter months.
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby azbackpackr » Oct 12 2010 4:28 pm

Ok good enough. But backpackers can still get the gate code and park out there. Last notice I saw which was supposed to be the latest, said that Nov. 1 was when it opened. The park needs to make up its mind.
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby Canyonram » Oct 15 2010 11:38 am

Consider hiking the Rim. From Bright Angel west to Hermit Rest and from Bright Angel to Yaki Point the Rim trail is well-traveled and full of tourists during the summer. Still good views for photography and to scout the Tonto trail down below. You can hike until you want to catch the shuttle bus!

Once you go east of Yaki you are soon following Elk trails---lots of wildlife (mountain lion traffic is high) and quiet and unique photo opportunities. Some rough areas between Shoshone Point and west to Navajo Point /Lipan/Desert View. A good Rim dayhike is to go from Desert View out to Comanche Point---you get a spectacular view of the River as it curves after the juncture with the Little Colorado and heads west. The other trip along the western edge is to go to Cape Solitude but this is more an overnighter due to distance---here, you get to look down on the juncture of the Little Colorado with the Colorado.

Wayne Tomasi has good Rim hike trail descriptions in "Grand Canyon Hiking Adventures." He covers all of the South Rim routes in the Inner Canyon as well.
Last edited by Canyonram on Oct 16 2010 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby Al_HikesAZ » Oct 15 2010 2:49 pm

Great advice from Ram. Sort of a Recon mission to start learning about the Canyon before you dive in.

Canyonram wrote:Wayne Tomasi has good Rim hike trail descriptions in "Grand Canyon Hiking Adventures." He covers all of the South Rim routes in the Inner Canyon as well.
Great book. http://hikearizona.com/books.php?REV=1&ID=964 I own it but I haven't written a review for HAZ yet.
Dr. Tomasi and his sons are experts on hiking and climbing the Canyon. http://hikearizona.com/books.php?REV=1&ID=965
Wayne is working on a companion guide for the North Rim trails.
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Re: South Rim Trails

Postby azbackpackr » Oct 15 2010 4:54 pm

It is good advice, but not for Jim. He is looking for the steepest trail in the Canyon. So, he needs to do the Tanner!
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