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Uncle Jim Trail, AZ

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Guide 21 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northwest > North Rim
3.7 of 5 by 10
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,239 feet
Elevation Gain 250 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.25
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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5  2015-06-06
Old Bright Angel Trail
64  2013-09-01 tibber
7  2012-09-01 writelots
30  2012-09-01 tibber
10  2011-10-15 JuanJaimeiii
9  2011-07-01 hikemonk
12  2009-08-09 hikemonk
7  2009-08-01 DarthStiller
Page 1,  2
Author Dschur
author avatar Guides 13
Routes 0
Photos 532
Trips 51 map ( 299 miles )
Age 58 Female Gender
Location Payson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Aug, Sep, Oct → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:11am - 6:34pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Fossils in the Rocks
by Dschur

Likely In-Season!
The Uncle Jim trail starts after a one mile hike down the Ken Patrick trail. The Ken Patrick trail starts at the corrals in the east of the parking lot of the North Kaibab trail. The hike is nice along the rim of the canyon. It goes thru the Kaibab limestone of the Colorado plateau. You get to see some views of the rim that you wouldn't get to see anywhere else including some views of the North Kaibab trail.

You travel about one mile on the Ken Patrick to where the Uncle Jim trail takes off to the left. There is a good sign at the junction of the two trails. The trail is a little bit steeper here and all along the trail it is rocky. In the rocks you can spot lots of fossils too. There are big seashells and fossilized sponges in the Kaibab limestone. Just remember that you are in the National Park and are NOT allowed to collect any. The whole rim of the canyon was under water in the Permian age, which is about 250 million years ago. Go down the trail for about .5 miles and there will be a junction. You can take either way but if you go left at the junction it will take you to the Uncle Jim Point. Which is about 2.5 miles from the start of the Ken Patrick trailhead. There is where you can see the North Kaibab trail as it goes along in the canyon. There will be another junction so keep to the left and there is a bar where they take the mules. Yes there is some mule traffic on the trail we didn't see any when we went but they do take them out there. You can camp along in this area but you need a Back Country permit to do so. After enjoying the views head back past the mule bar and keep to the left. There will be all kinds of views of the canyon along this part of the trail since you follow it out along a plateau. You will go thru a little bit of a burn area before you get back to the loop start. You then go straight on to the Ken Patrick trail and back the way you came.

The only thing about this trail is that it is at 8200 feet and there is no water along the way so you have to take it easy at this elevation. If you are staying at the lodge there is a trail that can take you to this trailhead of 1.5 miles and is marked very well.

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2007-06-17 Dschur
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  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
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    100 Classic Hikes - 2007
  • Grand Canyon Use Area Boundaries - Dynamic Map
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
Uncle Jim Trail
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Quick amble around the ever serviceable Uncle Jim Trail... Angela wanted to go the other way (clockwise) at the Y so we did. What strikes me is how green the forest floor was; how industrious the squirrels were, the tons of mushrooms of all shapes and colors, the abundant flora and ofcourse the views at the point. This always has a nice view of the switchbacks N Kaibab Trail. We did meet the wrangler and the gorgeous white horse that was out for some training ? As I write this I look back and realize I remember the horse vividly and can't even put a face to the wrangler :?
Uncle Jim Trail
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Hoping the rain and threat of rain would let up, we headed out on the Uncle Jim Trail after breakfast. As usual the parking lot was full but the area around the N Kaibab TH wasn't. We headed off on the trail only to quickly encounter several wet sections. The mules going back and forth made it a gooey mess :yuck: . However for part of this there was a trail that went up and contoured the side until you got to the top of the hill.

Once there it was pretty much clear sailing as far as the trail was concerned though there were a couple muddy areas here and there. The area was quite green, greener than I remember from last year. The ferns still looked pretty good too :) . We did encounter the usual amount of flora, maybe a little more than last year.

This time I decided we would go clockwise just to mix it up a bit for me. It turned out to be the best choice and I would recommend this highly rather than the other way. It was nice to hike through the forest of ponderosa and aspen. The trail was really soft in many sections.
I did forget about a couple of the hills you have to traverse on this hike but this is a good thing; afterall, it's not that long of hike and one of the hills is thru a pretty cool forested section.

In fact, after the intersection with Ken Patrick and I think before the fork in the trail, you go down in this small valley. I noticed a squirrel with a pine cone in its mouth heading for a tree. I get the camera aimed and then see the little guy is underneath the tree adding to his HUGE stash of pine cones. And then he came running out and headed across this little valley and over a couple logs. He did that a couple times. It was amusing and impressive. When we came back through, believe it or not, he was still at it :sweat: .

Once you're more or less on top of the plateau, you can almost see the edge of the Rim. And of course the excitement builds as you make your way to look over the edge of Bright Angel Canyon. I pretty much stayed to the edge rather than the trail so that I could look over. You don't get a straight view into the canyon because of all of the trees and shrubbery but it's better than staying completely on the trail.

We did encounter a wrangler on horseback leading another horse; either for the other horse's exercise or training. That was pretty much all the excitement until we curved around the canyon and headed west toward Uncle Jim Point. Here the forest burn is more prevalent so your views really open up. Finally we arrive at the coup de grace, the Point :y: . The views really are spectacular from here. We rested our laurels for awhile, took lots of pics, had snacks and I yelled down for Clyde as he was supposed to be heading up this way around noon.

It was a nice hike back and we were back to the car in around an hour. You hike in and out of forest again. I am always impressed by the very tall aspen and ponderosa. Always a sight to admire :D .

I don't have any video as I took video last year. Guess I just wasn't in the videoing mood... imagine that :o !
Uncle Jim Trail
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So, for the El Monte-RV crowd from North Dakota with their pink spangled Crocs and string-strap backpacks, Uncle Jim is a big step up from the Transept but still not one of those kill-you-if-you're-unprepared hikes. It offers some challenge, both in length and with a touch of climbing, but never demands too much.

For the 'I prefer my hikes to frighten Navy Seals' hikers, Uncle Jim is a great chance to get out and stretch your stride, escape the crowds and still get back before your beer gets warm. It's fun and it has a few pretty spots, but mostly it's just about walking through the forest.

The point (of the trail, not this report) is a bit of a let down compared to many of the others that we'd see on our trip. It does offer an interesting perspective on the upper reaches of Bright Angel Canyon, and a cool vantage point for photographing the tight switchbacks of the North Kaibab trail as it approaches the rim.

All in all, for us a nice warm-up to a day of short, beautiful hikes.
Uncle Jim Trail
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Our second full day at the N Rim would be a full one starting out with a hike of the Uncle Jim trail. After breakfast, we loaded up in Tonto for our drive to the N Kaibab TH. Soon after getting out on the trail we would encounter the riding group returning already. The mules looked so healthy but bored. 4 of the mules looked identical too. I know that the trail bosses like to match horses up to the riders in groups so that was interesting.

The views are somewhat limited as you are hiking in the forest for most of this hike. The forest is nice and the trail was the same :) . After our squirrel venture (watching a squirrel in a tree), we reached the junction with the Ken Patrick Trail. The hike had already been up and down and would continue its roller coaster action until we would get atop the Rim and stay there for our walk out to Uncle Jim Point.

Once out to Uncle Jim Point Trail you could look up and down Roaring Springs Canyon following the N Kaibab Trail. The views were quite nice here :DANCE: and worth the hike. We took photos, I took a movie, we ate a snack and then headed back out onto the loop that took us around to the west side of Bright Angel Canyon which we would hike in a couple days. Once again the views were obstructed by trees but it was still pretty nonetheless. There were some wildflowers scattered about so you could enjoy some additional visual candy.

One of the hikers had hiked ahead and I didn't expect to see him until we got back to camp but lo and behold he waited for us at a junction (he's done that before and it always surprises me). We started heading down the hill where you arrive at a very small meadow. It was a pretty area where we stopped for a moment to enjoy before continuing on the trail.

On the way back we encountered a few more hikers as we were now on the main trail. There was this one older lady that was decked out fairly nicely and she was wearing her lipstick and had a bandana like me plus had a smile on her face. I was tickled and mentioned it to Wendy and Wendy smiled as she had noticed it too.

This is a nice little hike but not much bang for the buck; fortunately we would get that bang for the buck later in the afternoon. It was nice to hike with Wendy and Jama and Chris. Now to head back to camp, pack up our lunch for Imperial Point and items for our picnic dinner at Cape Royal.

Here is the video from our hike of the Uncle Jim Trail: Oh, may I suggest you change the quality on youtube to HD1080. You can find that setting next to the minutes just below the video screen (or next to the clock icon)
Uncle Jim Trail
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This was a really nice hike even though it was quite windy and the ground was still wet from the recent rains. This is a really nice trail to do on the north rim and especially when it is in the peak of the fall colors. There were all the reds, oranges and the yellows. In the oaks, summac, maples, and the aspens.
Uncle Jim Trail
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One of the best forest strolls of the North Rims with a few sweet viewpoints along the way. Great views of Bright Angel Point, Upper N Kaibab trail, Walhalla Plateau, and everything else in the area. I also saw quite a few deer this evening. :)
Uncle Jim Trail
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We decided to hike this trail on Saturday after my husband came from his Rim to Rim the day before. It is a nice one and is a good little hike with elevation. We had to hike from a parking spot farther than the trailhead since the parking lot was full. It gets that way early with all the rim to rimmers this time of year. There is lots of fossils along the way and you go thru forests of pine and aspens. There are some really good views from the point of the canyon and the North Kaibab Trail.

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To North Kaibab Trailhead
The North Kaibab trailhead is located 41 miles south of Jacob Lake on Highway 67 (1.5 miles north of Grand Canyon Lodge). A small parking area offers limited parking. Transportation is available from the Grand Canyon Lodge (twice each morning; check at the lodge for times and fares) or, for those staying at North Rim Campground, it is a half-mile walk to the trailhead. Hikers on a rim-to-rim hike and who have only one vehicle often use the private Trans-Canyon Shuttle (928-638-2820), which provides service between the North Rim (departs around 6 a.m.) and the South Rim (departs around 1 p.m.) daily from May 15 to October 15. North Rim park facilities (lodge, store, gas station) close on October 15, but Highway 67 remains open to vehicle traffic until winter conditions preclude access. Visitors should be prepared for road closure anytime after October 15, but often Highway 67 remains open into November. Once closed Highway 67 remains so until May 15. It is not possible to reach the trailhead by vehicle before May 15.

Bright Angel Point Trailhead: This trailhead is somewhere around the Grand Canyon Lodge. Trail takes off southward. HAZ needs more information on the exact location. Looks like the a spur trail goes around the cabins to the parking lot too.

Transept Trailhead: North Rim Campground near the General Store

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 354 mi - about 6 hours 25 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 459 mi - about 7 hours 55 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 208 mi - about 4 hours 18 mins
3 pack - loud whistle
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