Old Prospectors Trail
History: This route was used by prospectors to access their claims along the Colorado River. This dates back to the days before the River Trail was constructed. Signs of trail construction are obvious.
You can follow this route in either direction, but this is written describing the ascent from the river.
The route leaves the River Trail just west of the Silver Bridge and heads up a very steep ravine. The going is slow as the terrain is steep and loose. As you scramble up you will start to see signs of use and a faint trail. Portions of the route follow the noticeable old trail, while others require scrambling where no obvious trail exists. After roughly a quarter mile and 500 feet of gain you’ll reach a saddle that provides a good view of Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River below. From here the trail should be easy to follow. There is little to no exposure through this section but the terrain is steep and taxing. Continue up and be sure to look back for signs of trail construction. You will reach another saddle with a good view of the Tapeats. Continue up following the signs of trail and within a few minutes the break in the Tapeats will become obvious. This is your exit route. Route-finding in this area is challenging, but if you continue towards the break you will pick up the trail again.
The route up the break in the Tapeats is steep and loose but relatively easy to follow. Again, the route will lead you up some established switchbacks with a mixture of scrambling. Near the top look for a switchback that heads to the north. Follow this for a couple of minutes before it turns back to the south for the final stretch which leads to the Miner's Cairn at the top. The Miner’s Cairn is a very large rock pile with a fairly large rock pointing directly up towards the sky.
From the Miners Cairn, proceed south and head cross country towards the Tonto Trail. No clear route exists, but an option is to follow the wash that leads back to the Tonto Trail. Once on the Tonto you can head east a quarter mile to the South Kaibab Trail or west a few miles back to the Bright Angel Trail. You can also take the Skeleton Point Route back to the South Kaibab Trail. It leads to the top of the Redwall switchbacks a little above the halfway point.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This is a moderately difficult hike.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.