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Miner's Route, AZ

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157 16 1
Guide 16 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northwest > South Rim
Rated
4.5
4.5 of 5 by 4
 
2
Statistics
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 1 mile
Trailhead Elevation 2,575 feet
Elevation Gain 1,375 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,442 feet
Avg Time One Way 1-2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.81
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Historic
Backpack Connecting Only
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
27  2014-11-27
Clear Creek Trail - GCNP
friendofThunderg
29  2014-11-27
Clear Creek Trail - GCNP
John9L
10  2014-03-30 Hippy
38  2014-03-07
Old Bright Angel - Miner's Route Loop
writelots
56  2013-12-21
Utah Flats Route
GrottoGirl
25  2013-09-27
Old BA & Miners Route & Skeleton Pt Rt
Hippy
28  2013-03-16
Old BA & Miners Route & Skeleton Pt Rt
John9L
Author John9L
author avatar Guides 6
Routes 170
Photos 4,848
Trips 1,619 map ( 11,024 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Feb, Mar, Jan
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:16am - 6:25pm
Official Route
 
3 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Old Prospectors Trail
by John9L

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.

Note
This is a moderately difficult hike.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2013-04-15 John9L
  • Grand Canyon Use Area Boundaries - Dynamic Map

One-Way Notice
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.
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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Miner's Route
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Rim to Rim to Rim
SK to skeleton PT, down old Miners to the Tonto platform, down the kickass tapeats break to the river trail, across black bridge to Phantom, lemonade, down to the silver bridge, up and over "the kiva route" to the lower section of Utah Flats Route, back to Phantom, more lemonade, up NK to the rim, 4 hour nap, down NK to Cottonwood, 2 hour nap, no lemonade :( , down to Ribbon Falls, back to Phantom Ranch, still no lemonade!! It's dark, they're closed...on we March... Cross silver bridge, up old corkscrew, cross new BA at granite pools, up old BA to the Tonto, sneak into Indian Gardens, nap 2 hours? near Creek, up BA to Kolb Seep, left trail on "Kolb Route", intersect Upper Old BA aka Cameron Route, emerge just east of upper tunnel, quazi nap right there, crawl to original Trailhead beside Kolb Studio... No margaritas... Taxi took forever to get us home.

Sleeping for the next three weeks...except work at 8am tomorrow.... Meeehhhhhh
Miner's Route
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
It was another memorable trip into my beloved Grand Canyon! Lee, Karl and I spent four days backpacking along the Clear Creek Trail. We had nice weather overall and made good use of our time.

Day 1 - November 27, 2014
The three of left Phoenix around 6am and drove up to the south rim. We dumped Lee’s car at the South Kaibab parking area and headed down the SK Trail starting around 10am. We made good time and cruised down to the Tipoff. At that point Lee and I decided to hike the Miner’s Route. Karl was feeling under the weather and would meet us at Phantom Ranch.

This was my second time on the Miner’s Route and it was quite a ride. The footing is very loose and off camber and a full pack doesn’t make things easier. We were able to slowly follow the route as it zigzagged down and both of us had no issues. We arrived on the River Trail and it was smooth sailing to Phantom Ranch.

We met Karl at the canteen and the three of us loaded up on water and then started up the Clear Creek Trail prepared for a dry camp. The trail gains over a thousand feet in the first two miles as you hike beneath the Tapeats and the Great Unconformity. We arrived at the two mile point and found some campers there so we continued the half mile to Sumner Wash and found plenty of good camping there. We set up camp and settled in for the evening. The sun set around 5:20pm and it was dark by 6pm. It got very cold and I was a little worried for the rest of the trip. We all headed for our tents before 8pm. Luckily this night was by far the coldest of the three nights.

Day 2 – November 28, 2014
We woke on Friday morning and took our time breaking down camp. Lee and Karl had plans to hit Brahma but Karl wasn’t feeling up to it due to being under the weather. The three of headed east on the Clear Creek Trail and dropped down to Clear Creek where we selected the main site nestled under a cluster of Cottonwoods. This is a sweet site and the creek is close by. A pit toilet is also available. There are lots of good camping sites in this area.

It was about noon by the time we had camp set up. Karl wanted to relax in camp while Lee and I headed up stream in search of ruins and Cheyava Falls. We both knew the falls would be dry (they flow in the spring) but wanted the adventure. We made decent time as we scanned the area for ruins. We found the main site roughly a mile north of camp. I didn’t realize it was a full complex with 21 rooms. There is also a register. Take a fresh notebook if you go because the current one is just about full. It dates back to 1999.

After the ruins we continued up Clear Creek and followed an established route to Cheyava Falls. We had to cross the creek a few times but never had to get our feet wet. It’s likely there is a stronger flow in the spring so be prepared to get your feet wet. We made good time and then could see the falls and yes they were bone dry. We got a little closer but were running low on time. I wanted to be back to camp by 5pm to avoid darkness. Lee did some quick exploring while I filtered water. We started our return around 3pm and cruised back to the camp. I didn’t realize how much elevation we gained until we headed down canyon.

We got back to camp and settled in for another evening. We were expecting it to be bitter cold but were pleasantly surprised to find mild temps. We set up the party lights in the Cottonwood trees and our neighbors were jealous. Funny thing the next morning one of our neighbors walked up and asked if we were camping at Deer Creek a month ago. She recognized the party lights. Sure enough yes that was us. We had a good laugh at what a small world it is.

Day 3 – November 29, 2014
Karl was feeling better and Lee was getting an itch for Brahma. They quickly packed up camp and headed back to our first night’s camp. I stayed behind. I wanted to do some exploring down canyon. I would meet them later.

I got my day pack together and told them my plan and I was off down canyon. I followed Clear Creek south and came to the intersection with an east arm. I scoped this out on maps ahead of time and wanted to take a look. I hiked in about a mile. The creek bed is dry through here and walls are really high. There is a mixture of Shinumo Quartzite and Bass Limestone among other formations. I want to return here when I have more time. I returned to main intersection and then headed a bit down Clear Creek. This is another amazing drainage and I want to return with more time to go all the way to the Colorado River.

After my brief hike downstream I returned to camp under the Cottonwoods and relaxed for an hour or so. During this time I ate and filtered more water. I wanted to be prepared for another dry camp at Sumner Wash. I left camp around noon and cruised the six plus miles back to our first night’s camp. Karl and Lee’s tents were set up. They were exploring the Redwall break and would return within an hour or two.

We settled in for our last evening as we ate dinner and then lay on our backs and did some star gazing. It was clear skies tonight but the moon was out and was very bright at roughly 60% full. I got lucky and saw a few satellites and a pair of shooting stars.

Day 4 – November 30, 2014
We woke fairly early and had camp broken down by 7am. We hit the trail soon after and cruised back to Phantom Ranch. My pack was noticeably lighter. I weighed it at the ranch and it was 27.5 lbs. It weighed 42 lbs on Thursday after I loaded up on water.

The hike up South Kaibab was the typical grind but it flew by. The skies were overcast and the temps were cool. We topped out around noon and then loaded up and headed back to Phoenix. Another wonderful trip complete!


This was a really fun trip and great company. I would definitely return to Clear Creek with more time to spend exploring. I would love to see Cheyava Falls gushing. That would be a sight to behold! Thanks Lee for picking up the permits and driving.
Miner's Route
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
I finished November in the exact way I started the month, climbing out of the Grand Canyon. Karl myself and John headed to the Clear Creek area for four days.

Day 1:

We did not rush out of town on Thanksgiving day. I had to drop the dogs off, Karl was feeling a little under the weather and there was no reason to rush to the Canyon, as we had lined up a short opening day and were not stressing the after ten start time. The highlight of day one was the Miner's route and Tamales at Phantom Ranch. I found the Miner's Route to be pretty cool and was happy I decided to make the short detour with John. We met Karl at Phantom for a long lunch and then headed for the Clear Creek Trail. We camped at Sumner's Creek area, the starting point for Brahma, were treated to a great sunset and were probably all in bed by 8:30 p.m.

Day 2

I woke up thinking Karl and I were heading off for a Brahma attempt, but it was very clear from the start he was in no shape for that, his flu/cold effects were still lingering. I was excited to give Brahma a shot and was happy to have Karl along because of his experience, but it was evident that we just needed to get him to Clear Creek where he could relax for nearly two days if he wanted to. The hike to Clear Creek was great, seemed to go by pretty quickly. John and I explored up Clear Creek while Karl stayed back at camp. We located the well known set of Indian ruins, and I snapped a picture of the less visited site near Cheyava Falls(which were dry as expected). The ruins were in the exact location mentioned in Butchart's book, however, without positive identification I was not ready for the commitment to explore further, but upon review of picture it is definitely them. Therefore, I will be returning. We enjoyed a nice couple of hours under the party lights, a slightly warmer night and a good night's sleep.

Day 3

I got the crazy idea of getting up early and heading back to Brahma for at least a quick recon, then dry camping Saturday evening and enjoying a shorter hike out Sunday. Karl, although not looking the greatest, thought he might be up for at least a trip to the break in the red wall and John was actually good with the plan. He would stay at Clear Creek for most of the morning exploring some side canyons and then meet us back at the Sumner Creek/wash area later in the afternoon. So Karl and I headed back to Brahma a day later and with a little bit more of a time crunch. Clear Creek Trail can seem to drag on a little, but the first section climbing out of Clear Creek or dropping into Clear Creek is a real gem and I really enjoyed the trail and area overall.

Even with moving camps and Karl battling the Ebola we were still staring at the base of the first climb within the distinct crack of the red wall just afternoon. However, I kind of sealed the fate for the rest of the day by wasting nearly 45 minutes looking for a climbing route right up the center of the crack. I literally made three different attempts. Karl watched and yelled out occasional tips, but nothing about it made sense to me. Joe said it was tricky but nothing crazy and I found myself in what I would call a "crazy" position. In fact, my fight or flight kicked in and left me worthless for a good ten minutes, but I jumped right back up and gave it another shot before I accepted defeat. We then hung out in the remaining shade ate some lunch, I was pining a bit about what the whole situation, but we both agreed to head back. About 30 feet into our hike back, Karl and I almost simultaneously noticed a distinct cairn on our left and then what looked to be a great route up. Duh! The route was clear as day. Rather then dwell over the several mistakes I had just made and the easy ways I could have avoided them, I just shot up the route. There was rope secured in a few spots along the way, but obviously not necessary, as one was tightly secured making it unusable from below. I found the climbing and scrambling to be fairly easy, especially, after having tried to free climb up the pour over area in the beginning. It felt so great to reach the top of that little break, the views from the saddle were truly breathtaking and it was a very exhilarating experience for me overall. A modest feat to many, but a very satisfying experience for myself. From there I continued on route and decided to go until a 2:30 or 3:00 p.m. drop dead time. I realized quickly that the first little climb through the break hardly means you are there. I was on and off the route and generally rushing too much, along with probably climbing too much, the latter further reinforcing that I should just head back and call it a successful recon, which I did. Besides I had kind of irresponsibly left Karl behind in the crack and just yelled down that I would turn around by 3, about half way up the second climb I heard him yelling from saddle area that he would wait for me. I was starting to feel like I was holding the guy hostage and I knew he was not feeling well so I headed back. I assured Karl that I was good to go from the saddle and he could return to camp. Meanwhile, I headed out towards Sumner Butte and tested my mettle a little on the narrow land bridge connecting it to the larger terrain features. Returned to camp, Karl was there, John was there and all was good.

Day 4:

Living by the old adage that men walk quicker out of battle then into battle we all made great time out Sunday morning. Even with a stop at Phantom Ranch I don't think anyone took longer then 4.5 hours to reach S. Rim and vehicle.

This was just another very satisfying Canyon trip, great company and a great destination. I feel the bug for the canyon even more now after my modest first ascent up just a crack in the wall. But I gained some good experience, got a much better understanding of the area and feel pretty good about knocking it out completely with more time and planning.
Miner's Route
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Late night excursions led to 4 hours and a surprise happy hour at Phantom followed by a pre-sunrise climb out via miners and skeleton pt rt.

Lemmy lemonade and mango rum = amazing!

There were 4 of us from the rim, 2 guys had never taken the off trail chunks, they loved it. On our way back "upstairs" two guys from Phantom joined our crew.

We were out by 6am and I had just enough time to eat and shower before hopping on the Dixie to ride to work, I love my life!

My favorite part of this chaos was pointing out the unconformity in the rock layers just below the Tapeats break! :y:
Miner's Route
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Another solo trek down to the river. Didn't stop by Phantom this time, didn't want to be late for dinner with the crew at El Tovar.

Saw 6 bighorns below the Tapeats break, running right along the route I was heading to. Such magnificent creatures!!!

Noticed a seep, spring type thing down in a drainage west of the break, I'll be taking a few coworkers out that way with me soon.

Skeleton Point Route was super washed out this time around, we got a bit of rain few weeks ago maybe that and the tiny bit of snow over the winter caused some extra erosion.

Getting warmer!!! :D in the upper 80s near the river! Whoo! Summer!
Miner's Route
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Solo trek down BA turned into an extremely windy trip to the River and up lower Miner's.
It was SO windy I opted to skip upper route aka skeleton point route. The wind was gusting then howling and at a few spots, especially through the narrow Tapeats sections the wind would come screaming at me so hard I would be knocked to the ground!!
Spotted a bighorn just west of the lower miners Tapeats break!!! Sweet!

I headed up from miners toward the tonto through a gorgeous little BA shale mini drainage, lots of bighorn evidence there!!

Reached the tipoff in a minute and hauled up the red n whites, shivering in the icy wind the whole time. Darn winter weather!!

For my first and longest trip since moving back I'm very happy with myself. I has a blast and man it sure is great to be home!!
Miner's Route
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Old Bright Angel - Miner's Route Loop
On our "free day" on the GCHBA Volunteer Project, I originally wanted to climb to the Battleship. However, when I started to query my fellow adventurers on theirplans, it seemed that I'd be alone on that one, and I wasn't sure scrambling off route in the GC solo was the level of adventure I was up to. Instead I wormed my way into the group doing the Old BA - Miner's Route Loop, and since I'd never done that one before - I knew it'd be a good time.

It is a great hike. Both routes are reasonably easy to follow for seasoned canyon route-finders. Just look for the spot where you think a route should go, and more than likely you'll be right. For the top of the Old BA, it's super easy - it's a well engineered trail that provides views of ancient granaries and the historic phone line. Below the Tonto Trail was a new piece for me, and it shows less of the solid engineering and more of that "follow gravity" mentality to get you down to Pipe Creek. As an alternative to the Devil's Corkscrew, it's definitely more direct - but I'll probably stick to the new BA when I'm bearing a pack.

I was wearing a pair of nice Ex-Officio pants that I'd found at a thrift store in Tucson. Turns out these pants were actually pretty old and/or worn out, because the first test on a bit of sliding and they split nearly the whole seat out. So, I spent a few lovely minutes sitting by the side of the trail, pants around my knees, duct taping them back together. Thank goodness I'm not as shy as I once was!

At Pipe Creek, we rejoined the new trail, and we ran into Callie with the NPS trail crew at the toilets just above the river. Her job involves hiking from Indian Gardens to the lower toilets on the BA and South Kaibab trails for maintenance and cleaning - so she's in super amazing shape. We invited her to join our hike, and she was genuinely excited at the idea. She had some chores to finish up first, but she thought she'd try to connect with us at Phantom Ranch.

We hiked over the Silver Bridge into Bright Angel Canyon to say hello to some folks and get our Lemmy fix (what are the odds that I was hiking with 4 guys and they ALL passed on the Tecate?). We ran in Sjors in the campground - he usually runs our volunteer projects when we're in the BA campground. He told us to watch out for the condors that have been nesting in the area - including a fledgling which hasn't been numbered yet. His observations of the birds below the rim are always amazing, even more so considering that he does it while also working harder than most paid employees (he's a volunteer himself). My hike time excludes the hour we spent relaxing by the beautiful Bright Angel Creek. Callie caught up, and after a few chores in the BA campground, she was ready to do the up trail with us - one she'd never done before, so she was particularly excited.

Crossing back over the muddy waters of the Rio Colorado, we caught the Miner's Route just past the Silver Bridge and started up. Straight up. At times, it felt like the route should feel scary-impossible, but the footing was always stable. Not that I'd be eager to follow it down or anything - but it's not as bad as it looks from the bottom.

The route provides several small saddles, where we took quick breaks and enjoyed views of the Granite Gorge. I was glad to have Callie along, because though she was in amazing shape, she was also happy to hang in the back with me and chat. She would be fun to hike with even in the worst of circumstances, but it was great to hear some of her own canyon stories. It was also nice to have a girl along so I had someone I trusted to take a photo of the duct tape patch on my pants ;)

From the top of the shist there's a short contour around (that's still pretty steep), then a fun little "ramp" through the Tapeats. None of it has any real exposure - which was perfect for me - but there are still good views. Once we popped up onto the Tonto and passed the Miner's Monument it was smooth sailing. There's no real route back to the trail from there, but it's easy enough to head up the plateau knowing that at some point you'll cross that well-worn track.

An additional benefit of the trek was that it completed yet another portion of the Tonto Trail for me. I've done every piece except the Gems and the bit between S.Kaibab and Bright Angel. Now, I've done the latter as well, except for about .25 miles which I can easily pick up next time I head down.

Once back on trail, we cooked along - with a short stop to talk with other hikers near Burro Spring. I loved the Pipe Creek Amphitheater - very classic Tonto Trail views - and the massive pouroff at the top of the Tapeats from the western finger of the creek.

When we got back to Indian Gardens, Callie stopped at the toilets, dropped her pack and got back out her rubber gloves to finish her work day. She said she knew that hiking with us would mean she'd be working late, but she was glad for the diversion. I had to give her kudos - just doing the hike was a good day's work, and now she was going to clean composting toilets for a few hours on top of that! What a girl!

Back at the bunkhouse it was quinoa and hamburger gravy for dinner with salad and pudding for desert. Slept in my tent to the gentle whirr of the toilets and a fairly noisy campground - but it was still sweet!
Miner's Route
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Old BA & Miners Route & Skeleton Pt Rt
Second attempt at Miner's Route was successful!! :wlift: : rambo : :y:

First time I tried to go up Lower Miner's it was :pk: HOT and I was alone and not nearly as insane...er strong as I am currently. It seems I'm in the midst of some sort of hiking tear and I'm REALLY enjoying it!!

I grabbed my buddy Erin (I knew she could physically do this and with me in the lead I knew she'd be OK) and we hopped down BA ran in to TONS of Canyon friends, David Cassidy a hiker/guide friend of mine was finishing up a 9 person group of R2R-ers, Ranger Betsy on patrol, 3 guys from Florida heading up from IG, some random guy from Dallas heading down to find his mom, a sweet couple from Cali who we rented sleeping bags to at work, another random guy from O-H-I-O ](*,), and Mule Rancher Derryl,

Once we hit Indian Garden we realized that Mule Rancher Derryl was on his way down with a mule tour! Nooooo! Erin and I took off down the trail until we reached the Tonto where we heard Derryl say "If you look to your right you'll see my friend Haley heading across the Tonto Trail we probably won't see her again for a few days" :lol:

We trotted along at great speed along the Tonto until I realized I passed the "entrance" to the OLD BA trail, I just found it a few weeks ago with 9L so I wanted to take it! We made it down Old BA in what felt like seconds, but the mule group had caught up! I pointed out to Erin how the Old BA crosses and instantly heads down the OLD Devil's Corkscrew, you can't take the Old BA and NOT take the Old Corkscrew!!!
Again Mule Rancher Derryl said out loud "There she is again, Haley I wouldn't suggest going offtrail there" then he continued on to say "You'll see where they're walking is the Old trail that was used..." and then Erin and I were off on a scree filled adventure down the old corkscrew! : rambo : It's very easy to follow until the last 20 feet or so where it more or less vanishes, no matter, just go with it!

We continued down BA and hit the River trail where I pointed out our route to Erin then we ran off to Phantom for Lemonade ( :DANCE: ) and to introduce Erin to my trail crew friends and some friends that work at the Canteen, along the way a group asked us our itinerary so we told them...the word "Badass" was haphazardly tossed around multiple times, if only they knew what an understatement that feels like after having finished this fun little trek.


Ok so heading up the Miner's Route you will see a "route" of sorts...but really just go what feels right for you, I stuck to the Vishnu and Zoroaster "stairs" it was easy to dart up and not as "scree-ee" after a few minutes I realized I had officially climbed higher than my last trek, score! I waved Erin over my way and going was much easier for her, after that she dogged my steps and we had a grand old time.

There are two neat little saddles that are great to break at and enjoy the views, holy beans the entire Canyon SINGS to you from these vantage points!! I did step off the trail at one point, it went up a few feet further than I thought, it was so faint it was hard to follow it in some spots but I knew the way I was facing was wrong so we looked around, Erin called out "maybe it goes up?!" I looked ahead into the sun and spotted the trail uphill, duh Hippy!!

UP, UP, UP!!! My calves wouldn't be too happy with me if they hadn't been put through so much torture the past few months!
Eventually you reach a perfect saddle and the break in the Tapeats looms ahead, you reach it within minutes of leaving the saddle and from there just go up up up some more! The Miner's Cairn greets you at the top of the Tapeats and from there you just follow the uh..."trail" right into the Tonto...I have NEVER been so happy to run into the Tonto before!!

We followed the Tonto west until I found the "ridge" of Bright Angel Shale that heads up toward the break in the Red Wall known as Skeleton Point Route or Upper Miner's. 9L had suggested it would be easier to stick to the BA Shale ridge that goes up just to the right of the "wash" that runs down from the Break, we did just this, the going was not easy but not TOO hard, just hard on the lungs, phew!!

We spooked four pretty mule deer as we reached the Muav layer, I kept us on the big slabs of rock and the climb was much easier that way. Once we reached the bottom of the Redwall I kept heading up, it seemed logical at the time but once we reached the wall itself I KNEW something wasn't right, I had Erin wait by the wash while I inspected a climb to the right...this couldn't be right 9L would never doing something as ridiculous as this!!! And it didn't match everything I'd memorized...okay I'll try to the left, Erin came with me, we checked out another easy climb...I use the term easy very loosely... :scared:

I checked the third and last possibility from where we were and I just knew it wasn't right so I whipped out my phone and checked out the photos of the break that 9L had taken, those didn't help so I turned off airplane mode and made a quick call...from the middle of the Redwall!
Coverage was spotty and the call dropped within seconds, so I hit redial and ended up talking to Chumley...yea that was a big help :lol: Thanks for the laugh Uncle Chums! I managed to get ahold of John again and I quickly realized that Erin and I had climbed up into the Redwall prematurely! So we spent the next 15 minutes crawling, and I DO mean crawling! down the "wash" about 50 feet until I found this "VERY obvious" game trail...FYI all the monsoons we've had have washed away any trace of this "OBVIOUS" trail for the first 15 feet, before Erin and I climbed down we spotted it from above, once you know where it is it's pretty obvious...
I'd say just stay on top of the Muav Cliffed out layer, there's a "route" that leads from the wash directly to the break in the Redwall, after that it's cake! You climb up up up some more, walk over a TON of bones (named Fred of course) and 5 minutes after the bone yard you are slapped in the face with South Kaibab and it's tame, soft sand and walled in trail...

I've never been so happy to walk on South Kaibab! Don't get me wrong I thoroughly enjoyed all the offtrail, it as fantastic and fun and Erin was a champ and didn't even get scared or anything when I took us too high up! It was A BLAST!! Yes, these routes are strenuous but only because you climb SO many feet in such tiny sections, its STEEP but boy is it fun!!
Oh and of course all of the crazy exposure...but if you're not comfortable with that I don't know why you'd be off trail in the first place!! :A1:

I'm very happy that I finally got to do this, and I'm even happier that I got Erin to join me! She was very excited about the offtrail and hasn't stopped thanking me for taking her...

Well...what's next?! : rambo :
Miner's Route
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Old BA & Miners Route & Skeleton Pt Rt
Quite a day in the canyon! I planned on hitting the corridor trails but wanted to do something a little different. In the past year I've learned about the Old Bright Angel Trail and the Miner's Route from a Grand Canyon book written by Wayne Tomasi. I also reviewed Sirena's pics from the Miner's Route and talked to Dave1 a few days before about the Skeleton Point Route. I did plenty of research and had a good idea on where I was going and I was on my way.

I started around 7am and cruised down BA. There was a little ice but it wasn't an issue. I passed by Indian Garden and continued to the Tonto where I headed east. At this point I pulled out my GPS and proceeded a quarter mile to the turnoff. I initially walked past the turnoff but quickly saw the route down the drainage. I returned and started making my way down the old trail. I was surprised how easy the trail is to follow. It's very obvious and is in relatively good condition. On the way down I detoured to the base of the Tapeats where I checked out the ruins and granaries. If you continue around the Tapeats you can reconnect on the main BA trail. I returned and continued down the Old BA which again was easy to follow and smooth sailing. After a few minutes I saw some hikers up ahead and knew I was close to the main BA. The Old BA reconnects with BA just above the Devil's Switchbacks.

The next couple of hours entailed cruising the rest of the way down the BA trail. I connected to the River Trail and headed towards the Silver Bridge. As I neared I checked out the ravine leading up the Miner's Route. The going looks tough! I continued on to Phantom Ranch where I took a break and had some lunch. From there I returned to the Silver Bridge and began heading up the Miner's Route.

Heading up the Miner's Route starts out with a bang! You find yourself climbing a steep ravine. There is a lot of scree and loose rock. I was very careful with each step. There are some switchbacks and even a modest trail to follow. I noticed right away there were recent foot prints. I thought this was a good sign. I continued up and eventually things level off at a saddle. At this point I could see solid trail and the foot prints continued. I continued on as the trail winds its way up. The going is steep and relatively slow. I had to take numerous breaks as the sun was beating down and I found my heart rate racing.

I continued on and after a few more minutes I reached another saddle and could see the Tapeats. The key to this route is finding the break in the Tapeats. I scanned for the break and didn't see it initially. I had to gain a little more elevation and then there it was plain as day. Right around here is the only place I lost trail. It didn't matter because I found it again as I proceeded to the break. The way up the break is straightforward. There are some switchbacks and some scrambling. After a few more minutes I reached the Miner's Cairn and knew I completed the route!

Next up was the Skeleton Point Route. I had the GPS Route loaded and made my way a quarter mile west on the Tonto Trail. As I reached the start of the track I located the break in the Redwall and thought it looks pretty nasty from here. Dave reassured me the route is easy to follow and perfectly safe. I decided to go for it and I'm glad I did. I started in the drainage and eventually had to climb out to the right. I continued up to the base of the Redwall and then turned left which put me right in the middle of the break. From there it was a scramble and climb up. There were a couple of sketchy sections but it wasn't too bad. After some work I topped off on the South Kaibab Trail above the switchbacks.

The rest of the hike up SK was uneventful. I made quick time and reached the rim within an hour or so. I continued on the Rim Trail and was going to follow it all the way back to the village but got bored and caught a bus back to the visitor center.

This was a hell of a hike! I did this all solo and felt comfortable just about the entire hike. Give the Miner's Route and Skeleton Point Route a try if you want to experience a new route up from the River. Just do some research and be prepared for the challenge.


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To South Kaibab Trailhead
From Flagstaff head west on I-40 for 30.4 mi to SR-64. Turn right/north and follow SR-64 55 miles to the park. You will receive a map & information at the GC park entrance.

You can only reach the trailhead by free-shuttle or taxi. Parking is available at several lots. There is a lot a mile from the trailhead on the east drive. If you are there early you can use this lot (it fills up fast) and hike the two miles there and back.

Express hikers' shuttles directly from Bright Angel Lodge and the Backcountry Information Center to the South Kaibab trailhead depart daily at:
March 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., and 9:00 a.m.
April 6:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m., and 8:00 a.m.
May 5:00 a.m., 6:00 a.m., and 7:00 a.m.

NPS Note: The South Kaibab Trail is located near Yaki Point. Due to the popularity of this area and extremely limited space, parking is not permitted at the trailhead. Hikers must use the park's free shuttle bus system to reach the trailhead. Every morning, several hiker express buses leave from the Bright Angel Lodge and then from the Backcountry Information Center (times vary depending on the month). Otherwise, hikers will need to take the village bus (Blue Line) to Canyon View Information Plaza and transfer to the Green Line. South Kaibab trailhead is the first stop on the Green Line.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 235 mi - about 3 hours 42 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 340 mi - about 5 hours 12 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 88.1 mi - about 1 hour 33 mins
page created by John9L on Apr 15 2013 10:40 am
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