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Nankoweap Saddle Overlook, AZ

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Guide 15 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northwest > North Rim
Rated
3.9
3.9 of 5 by 8
 
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Statistics
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,462 feet
Elevation Gain 1,200 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,850 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.25
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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37  2018-04-28
Nankoweap Trail
friendofThunderg
15  2018-04-28
Nankoweap Trail
carriejane
13  2018-04-15
Saddle Mountain 8424
friendofThunderg
7  2018-04-15
Saddle Mountain 8424
carriejane
65  2016-04-09
Grand Canyon River Running
AZBeaver
19  2015-07-27
Saddle Mtn Wilderness Hike
Oregon_Hiker
45  2013-09-21
Nankoweap Trail
chumley
25  2013-09-21
Nankoweap Trail
BobP
Page 1,  2
Author hippiepunkpirate
author avatar Guides 25
Routes 36
Photos 2,877
Trips 657 map ( 2,276 miles )
Age 33 Male Gender
Location Peoria, AZ
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Preferred   Jun, Aug, Sep, Jul
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:17am - 7:32pm
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Official Route
 
3 Alternative
 
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Saddle below the Saddle
by hippiepunkpirate

Overview: The Nankoweap #57 is most commonly used to access the Nankoweap Trail proper, which in turn descends harrowingly to the Colorado River. Principally used for backpacking, this description instead utilizes the #57 trail as a dayhike from the Saddle Mountain TH to the saddle overlook at the beginning of the Nankoweap Trail proper.


Hike: From the Saddle Mountain TH, head south up the wide trail past the sign that notifies your entry into the Saddle Mountain Wilderness. For the first three quarters of a mile, you will walk steadily uphill. Springtime may afford a nice display of wildflowers along this first section. At some point you will see a sign that says "Saddle Mountain Trail" (which is #31), and that is fine, you are going the right way. At the crest of the hill, the trail will drop abruptly into a 350 foot deep canyon. Views open up so you can Saddle Mountain itself looming above, and the saddle overlook just to its right (which is the destination of this hike).

At the time of this writing, the section of trail dropping into the canyon was not in great shape. A couple sections were washed out or had dead trees falling into the path. Your pace might be slowed a bit, but everything should be manageable and the trail still easy to follow. At the bottom of the canyon, the trail crosses a wash and riparian vegetation is encountered. About 25 paces after the wash, #31 and #57 split. At the time of this writing, a sign was hanging on a nearby tree, but was not very easy to see. Look for the split in the trail, which is obvious if you aren't spacing out, and turn right.

You are solely on #57 now. It crosses the wash numerous times at this point. I'm not certain how often the creek runs, but it should be dry most times of the year. My May 2010 hike featured small puddles here and there in the wash, so assume it was flowing sometime during the spring snow melt.

Eventually the trail begins climbing up hill. The effects of a wildfire are noticeable in this area. Through the trees you can see the tilted sedimentary strata on Saddle Mountain to your left. The hill you are climbing is tilted Esplanade Sandstone, turned up at an angle by the East Kaibab Monocline. The hill does not get incredibly steep, but is a steady and relentless climb to the saddle. Just before the saddle is the junction for the Nankoweap Trail. Continue straight.

A big view of the Grand Canyon opens up before you. At about 7,600 feet, you stand higher than the South Rim. Palisades of the Desert is visible far across the canyon. Much of the Grand Canyon Super Group strata are visible. Solitude is likely, and not having a crowd is a guarantee. The motivated hiker might try making it 3 miles further up #57 to the other trailhead on the North Rim, but the view from the saddle seems good enough reward for me.

Personally, I enjoyed this hike as a North Rim type experience before the North Rim opened for the summer on May 15th. If you are camping in the House Rock Valley area, this is a great option. If you are in the area when the North Rim is open, that is likely a more rewarding option than this particular hike, but this is likewise a good hike. The destination is better than the journey for this one.

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2010-05-24 hippiepunkpirate
    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 $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Page drive south on Highway 89 to the junction with 89A, turn right toward Jacob Lake/North Rim GC. Between mile posts 559 & 560, turn left onto House Rock Buffalo Ranch Road (FR 8910). 8910 makes a loop at the south end of House Rock Valley, the Saddle Mountain trailhead is on the very southern end of the loop.
    page created by hippiepunkpirate on May 24 2010 1:10 pm
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