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Widforss Trail, AZ

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Guide 43 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northwest > North Rim
4.2 of 5 by 19
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance One Way 4.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,118 feet
Elevation Gain -305 feet
Accumulated Gain 650 feet
Avg Time One Way 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.07
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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15  2019-06-15 ddgrunning
10  2018-06-03 Tortoise_Hiker
11  2017-05-15
Widforss Overlook
4  2016-09-29 AZWanderingBear
4  2015-08-14 Hippy
16  2015-06-17 azbackpackr
3  2015-05-22 toddak
14  2014-09-28 chumley
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
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, Jun, Sep, Oct → 7 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  6:12am - 6:33pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Transept View
by Dschur

Likely In-Season!
Overview: This trail follows along the rim of the Grand Canyon for 2.5 miles before it goes into the forest to emerge with a View of Widforss Point. Not as busy as some in the canyon but with nice views.

Warning: There is no water along the trail and no restrooms. And since it is at 8000 feet there can be altitute problems if not properly acclimated. And though it does go thru the forest there are quite a few trees are burned in a fire so can be hot in the middle of summer as well as hazardeous durning the monsoon.

History: The Widforss trail is named for Gunnar Widforss lived and painted at the Grand Canyon in the 1930s and produced a large collection of watercolors prized for their geologic detail. In his paintings Widforss captured the Grand Canyon environment as he saw it then.

Hike: The Widforss trail starts at the parking lot down a dirt road not far from the North Kaibab Trailhead. There is a outhouse at the Trailhead and a small parking lot. There are also trail guides for sale at the TH that describes 14 different points in the first 2.5 miles along the trail. You climb up a little from the parking lot with lots of Aspens, firs, pines and spruces. This area is very good for pictures in the fall of the yellow leaves of the Quaking Aspen trees. The trail climbs and goes across fingers out to the canyon so it generally flat to up and down to get out on each of the plateaus. The first sign is of a view of the meadow below it is where Gunnar Widforss had his camp during his artist days. There is also a cave over on the other side of the meadow that Uncle Jim used too for hanging out during his days on the rim as Game Warden (hunter) on the north rim.

The second sign is of the fossils on the trail. This trail goes all along the rim throughout the Kaibab Limestone and has lots of ocean fossils in it. Shells, crinoids, sponges and other sea life are preserved in the limestone an cherts all along the trail.
Number 3 tells of the Bright Angel spring in the canyon that used to supply all the water for the North rim but now is supplied from Roaring springs as the Bright Angel didn't support all the people in later years.
Number 4 talks about the diverse forests from the north side of the canyon and the south.
Number 5 is a view of the San Fransisco Peaks. (70 miles as the crow flies) Depending on the haze it can be excellent view to poor.
Number 6 is a view of the sewage treatment plant for the north rim. (They think it is important to bring up)
Number 7 shows the Aspens in the area. The only thing here is that there was a fire going thru here and the small Aspens are just now coming out and are many dead Aspens as well as Ponderosas killed in the fire. (I think they need to move this sign)
Number 8 is about the Ponderosa Pines.
Number 9 talks about the Coconino sandstone seen across the canyon at this view point. It also talks about the mammal like animals that made the tracks in the sandstone.
Number 10 is one of the largest Ponderosa Pines in the forest at 13 feet/4 meters in circumference. A ponderosa of this size may be 300 to 500 years old.
Number 11 talks about the Oaks and Maples in the area.
Number 12 Is the Ponderosa that has been hit by lightning.
Number 13 Is view point of "The Transept" A side canyon off the main canyon.
Number 14 at the 2.5 mile point is a good turn around for those people that are just taking a nice little hike or adjusting to the elevation. It talks about the view of the rocks and how the canyon was sculpted by the water and wind and cold. From here the trail heads into the forest with many spots that are burned from a fire. We also found many spots wih flowers. There is a creek area that in moist weather may have some water in it. There is grasses and nice trees here. Then you head back up to the rim for a quick view and then out thru the forest again to a meadow and then the view of Widforss Point. There the trail offically ends at a sign that says Widforss Point and a picnic table that has seen better days. It is warped and twisted but is fine for a lunch break. There is really a nice view here and can see the North Rim lodge and cabins on the other side of the canyon.
The return is back the way you came.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2009-05-23 Dschur
  • book
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  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
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    100 Classic Hikes - 2007
  • 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 of 17 deeper Triplog Reviews
Widforss Trail
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Widforss Overlook
North Rim opening day!
Jamie was off and I don't start work until the 30th I so we have hiked to "Widforss Point", which is the viewing area that can be easily reached by the five Mile hike on Widforss Trail.

We just headed east, down a 250ft steeeeeep gully/drainage type thing that was FULL of new Mexican locust trees and a few sleeping stands of scrubby oaks.

Thank goodness for the oaks and convertible pants!! I'd hiked the trail without my zipons on but opted to zip em on into pants before heading into the gully...ahhhh!

Followed a beefalo track to the bottom of the gully then right on up the other side. Numerous large fallen trees made the scrambling up through the locust quite easy for me, just walk the logs.

The summit was covered in fossils (Kaibab Limestone layer) and the views were beautiful of course.

The viewpoint we reached is known as "Widforss Overlook" because it Overlooks the TRUE rock outcrop known as "Widforss Point".

So when you hike Widforss Trail you're not really reaching Widforss Point. But I won't tell the tourists that ;)

The true Widforss Point is a class four scramble and climb where a handline might be necessary depending on your skill and the rock condition.
It was so windy today we opted out of attempting the true Point.

We returned from the overlook by sliding down 250ft back into the gully and following a well trampled beefalison track back to Widforss Trail.

Oddly enough it took us 1.5 hours to get from trailhead to the tourist point but two hours to get back...that wind was brutal and exhausting!! That gully though.... phew!
Widforss Trail
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Day 3 of our 10 day trip and we are headed to Point Sublime. The Widforss TH is along the way, so why not get in a good hike before the rain sets in. Wonderfully wooded with stately pines and aspen all golden. Views across the drainage offer sporadic glimpses into the Canyon. The trail is close to all the bustle of the main area of the GCNP's tourist facilities, but seems to get little use except from actual hikers. We saw few people on the trail. With much to do this day, we didn't go all the way to the end, but we got a good dose of Widforss. Definitely a worthy one and maybe one day we will do it all.
Widforss Trail
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Day 3 of our 10 day trip and we are headed to Point Sublime. The Widforss TH is along the way, so why not get in a good hike before the rain sets in. Wonderfully wooded with stately pines and aspen all golden. Views across the drainage offer sporadic glimpses into the Canyon. The trail is close to all the bustle of the main area of the GCNP's tourist facilities, but seems to get little use except from actual hikers. We saw few people on the trail. With much to do this day, we didn't go all the way to the end, but we got a good dose of Widforss. Definitely a worthy one and maybe one day we will do it all.
Widforss Trail
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Had a tour this morn.
4 Wildland, forest service and NPS firefighters.

They wanted to hike AND learn so I comped them a tour and off we went!

Really cool storms moving in from the West
I was back "in office" before they hit Transept Canyon

Guy hiking back from "Widforss Point"...the trail ends nowhere near the ACTUAL point, but that's. Different trip log...said he saw a Mountain Lion.
I didn't see any tracks or scat but it's not uncommon to see them out that way.
Widforss Trail
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This was cool!!

Jamie and I popped off around 9am, left the housing area via Transept trail, connected to Bridal Path to NK TH then hopped on the AZT to Widforss Trail...

Eventually cut off from the Widdy to a sweet break in the Kaibab, contoured Toroweap for a hot minute then summited Oza right as the clouds rolled in.

Very Hazey day! Lots of Rx burns in the Kaibab nf

Had a blast placing the Oza Butte register with Jamie, also buried a pinch of Dads ashes on the Oza saddle because the views were great!!

Found our exit route (different than our route in) through the Kaibab, lots of very steep scrambling through scrub oak and soft choss yummmmm!

Back to Widdy for a nice evening stroll home.

Why did I live on South Rim so long before coming over here!!? North is Best!
Widforss Trail
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Stole a jeep (not a pink one!) and escaped to North Rim to visit the man.
After dropping him off at work at 5am I set out to see some sights I'd yet to see!

The first sight being Widforss Point.

This is a Hippy approved viewpoint.

Super easy hike. Lots of offtrail possibilities and mushrooms! (But neither of those were the reasons I was there...this time)

I'm not use to this whole...hiking in the forest dealt but I got use to it really quick!
The smells were satisfying and the colors were, well, in a way, they were new!
Dark greens and bright greens...yup. I'm in love.

Jamie might have convinced me to spend a season on the North Rim...we shall see.
Widforss Trail
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If you enjoy backpacking in Grand Canyon but hate the heat, why not do a rim backpack? There are a number of options on the North Rim. I hiked out to Widforss Point where there is a nice campsite, complete with picnic table, and spent a lazy afternoon and a lovely evening out there. Slept like a log. Got up the next morning and after looking at "my" view again I hiked back to the car.

Once all the pesky day-hikers have gone home it's likely you'll have this place to yourself!

The night before the hike I car camped in the national forest for free, off of FR 22. Super nice campsite on a tiny two-track deep in the woods. In the early morning I broke camp and drove into the Park. I first went looking for good coffee. The Saloon at Grand Canyon Lodge has an espresso bar so I got myself a mocha. The fellow who made my mocha recommended Widforss Trail over Tiyo Point Trail, which had been my other choice. I then ate huevos rancheros at the Lodge, my table overlooking the Canyon. I was finished eating before 8 a.m. Drove over to the Backcountry Office and waited outside, packing my gear, until Steve Bridgehouse, long-time backcountry ranger, showed up promptly at 8 a.m. Talked to him for a while, trading stories and finding out we know several people in common. He issued me a permit and told me I'd likely have the place to myself overnight.

Widforss Trail is very close to all the other Park facilities. Once again I passed by the trailhead for the North Kaibab, and marveled at how many pudgy-pasty people were milling about, getting ready to hike down into the 115 degree inferno. (The following morning I watched the rescue helicopter heading down into that inferno, with a long line dangling down.)

Meanwhile I had perfect temperatures on the Rim, both day and night. I did have the place all to myself! What could be better? The hike is beautiful right now, with ferns and flowers galore.

At the trailhead there is a sign warning of a very territorial female blue grouse. The ranger also warned me. The area of the trail where she has her nest is corded off with pink tape, and a detour has been put in place there. I wanted to see for myself so I walked past the tape. That grouse came at me, hissing. I scurried over to the detour. She followed a short distance but when I had gotten far enough away she gave up.

On the way back the next morning I saw her again and was able to get a snapshot (not a very good one).

Since I arrived in camp by noon, after taking my sweet time getting there, I had plenty of time to rest, play my ukulele, read a book, write in my notebook, etc. When the stream of dayhikers died down and the sunset was approaching I made my way down the rough trail to the actual Widforss Point, a dizzying rock outcropping overlooking Haunted Canyon, Manu Temple and Buddha Temple. I took my map along with me. Over the past couple of summers I've been a van tour guide at the South Rim. I've been trying to learn the names of everything on the map that can be seen from the rim.

Looking at the view from the North Rim perspective I saw many familiar points: Wotan's Throne, Brahma and Zoroaster Temples, Angel's Gate, Buddha Temple, etc. But I also could see some I was unfamiliar with, such as Oza Butte and Manu Temple.

I carried 6 liters of water and had plenty left when I got back to the car.

This hike would be dicey in a thunderstorm since it follows a ridge where it's evident that many trees have been struck by lightning, so I recommend it only for early summer, in dry weather.

Animals I saw were the cliff chipmunk, Kaibab squirrel, Arizona gray squirrel, mule deer. On the drive out of the park I saw the herd of bison the park personnel have been concerned about.

After the hike I stopped back to visit with Steve at the BCO again. I wanted some recommendations for another overnight backpack out to a point on the Rim. There are many options, although he said many of the trails on my map are overgrown and some can't even be found any more. Walhalla Glade Trail has mostly disappeared, he said. He recommended Cape Final, although it's very short. I could do a day hike first, then walk out there and camp for the night. I'll be going back!

Lupine, mostly.
Widforss Trail
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We spent Saturday night at the North Rim Campground and we enjoyed a warm fire. The rain ended around 6pm and dried off for the remainder of our trip. We woke on Sunday morning and packed up camp and then drove over to the Widforss Trailhead. There were two cars parked there and we started hiking soon after.

I hiked this trail a few years ago and it was nice to return. The hike is fairly easy going as you meander along the rim and then drop into the forest. We made quick time and reached the viewpoint which was obviously fantastic! We talked about trying for Widforss Point but didn’t have enough time. We were returning to Phoenix after this. We had our lunch and I got to play tour guide for a group of girls from San Francisco. They were a great audience!

The return hike flew by! More people were starting the hike out and the weather was very enjoyable! We arrived back at the jeep and then loaded up and made the drive back to Phoenix. This was a hell of a trip and I can’t think of a better way to spend a long weekend. We altered our original plan and everything worked out wonderfully! Our next trip is not far off. The Canyon never gets old!
Widforss Trail
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Had to get a few more miles in before making the long trek home. Still fighting the soreness from the killer Friday down and up North Bass, we opted for Widforss since it is moderate in both mileage and elevation.

The aspens here were only changing in the drainages, but most were still green. It was a bit chilly, and even rained a bit on the way back.

At the end of the trail, I investigated going out to the actual point. It looked pretty easy, but required an off-trail scramble through a 200-foot canyon and an ascent up. I'd actually like to do this some time, but we decided getting back to town at a reasonable hour was more desirable at this point.

We met a group of girls at the end of the trail, and 9L shamelessly went into tour guide mode. They were so entertained. But probably not as entertained as I was watching it all from a short distance away. :sl:
Widforss Trail
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La la la... Tibber told the tale well enough. I thought this was a very pleasant hike, though not particularly scenic or beautiful for where it was located. I definitely want to make it to the point at the end sometime - but it may be a long time before I get to this one after all the other priorities are addressed.

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
Just about 0.25 miles before the North Kaibab Trailhead. About a quarter mile down the dirt road to the Trailhead.
$17 3L Hydration Bladder
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