This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Cardenas Butte, AZ

Guide 12 Triplogs Mine 0 1 Topic
4.3 of 5 
178 12 1
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,390 feet
Elevation Gain -1,932 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,757 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 20.29
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Connecting Only
Dogs not allowed
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17  2021-03-30 DixieFlyer
6  2020-09-11 Jim_H
11  2020-03-05
Cardenas - Escalante Loop
47  2019-04-20
Escalante Route
4  2018-06-09
Tanner Trail
9  2016-10-29 BiFrost
11  2015-05-03 John9L
1  2014-03-23 BobP
Page 1,  2
Author chumley
author avatar Guides 84
Routes 694
Photos 17,163
Trips 1,679 map ( 12,689 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Tempe, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Jun, Aug, Jul, Sep → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  5:32am - 7:35pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Nearby Area Water
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Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Finders keepers!
by chumley

Likely In-Season!
Cardenas Butte is one of two prominent summits just west of the Tanner Trail below the eastern Grand Canyon's Lipan Point (Escalante Butte being the other). It is accessed by descending 2000 feet along 2.5 miles of the Tanner Trail before scrambling off-trail for half a mile up a steep ridge to the peak nearly 700 feet above you.

García López de Cárdenas was a Spanish Conquistador under Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and is credited with being the first European explorer to "discover" the Grand Canyon after first seeing it in 1540 while on an expedition in search of the mythical Seven Cities of Gold (Cíbola). After three days of attempts to reach the river, he and his party were forced to retreat because they were low on supplies and water. It was three centuries later before the next known Europeans happened upon the Grand Canyon!

Begin this hike from the Lipan Point trailhead, descending on the mostly-unmaintained Tanner Trail. Tanner is steep and loose, and descending 1500 feet in the first mile is slow-going. Think about it as you descend because you'll be returning up in a couple of hours! As you descend, nice views of both Escalante and Cardenas Buttes present themselves before you. Once reaching the saddle between Tanner Canyon to the east and Seventyfive Mile Canyon to the west, Tanner levels considerably. A moderate pace can be attained when rounding the eastern base of Escalante Butte and continuing around the wide drainage between Escalante and Cardenas.

At about the 2.75 mile mark, you will reach a well-defined ridge that climbs the southeast slope of Cardenas Butte. There are no cairns and no visible signs of use. But at this point, leave Tanner and begin the 675-foot ascent to the top of Cardenas Butte. The route takes you through a series of "steps" as you ascend through the multiple layers of the Supai Group. None presents too much of a challenge, but each requires a bit of a scramble, and you will use your hands. About 150-feet below the summit, you reach a lower peak and proceed north across the saddle toward the ultimate goal.

Here you cross a somewhat narrow neck, with a very steep, exposed, scree-filled chute leading west down toward the dry Cardenas Creek, with expansive views of the canyon and the vertical western face of Cardenas Butte. The obvious route is to stay to the east, and here a bit of route-finding will be necessary to find the easiest way up the final ascent. After proceeding along the eastern side of the butte about half the distance of the butte, there are a couple of routes that can be climbed with no need for technical gear. From there, the peak is a short scramble farther up, and the views here are some of the best you'll find anywhere.

You can return to the trailhead the way you came, or from the lower peak south of the butte, you can follow the ridgeline to the southwest and summit Cardenas Butte's bigger brother Escalante Butte!

This route involves off-trail scrambling and requires the use of hands, on some portions. This route should only be attempted by hikers who are comfortable and experienced hiking off-trail in the Grand Canyon or other desert locales. There is no water on this route and no shade. It should not be attempted during hot weather.

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2013-06-03 chumley
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Lipan Point Trailhead
    Follow SR-64 32.9 miles from SR-89 or 20 miles from Grand Canyon Village.

    Park at Lipan Point, walk back down the road a few steps, and look for the trailhead east of the

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 233 mi - about 3 hours 44 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 338 mi - about 5 hours 15 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 87.1 mi - about 1 hour 37 mins
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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