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Escalante Route, AZ

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Guide 49 Triplogs  3 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northwest > South Rim
4.6 of 5 by 18
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 12 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,700 feet
Elevation Gain -120 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,200 feet
Avg Time One Way 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 19.33
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
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22  2019-05-17
Wontans Throne Attempt
47  2019-04-20 GrottoGirl
15  2019-04-10
Seventy-five Mile Canyon
9  2018-10-27
Tanner Trail
13  2018-10-27
Tanner Trail
7  2017-11-11
Tanner - Escalante - New Hance
46  2017-10-21
Tanner - Escalante - New Hance
59  2017-10-21
Tanner - Escalante - New Hance
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   May, Sep, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:11am - 6:32pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Routin' the River
by HAZ_Hikebot

Likely In-Season!
Among the commonly hiked sections below the South Rim, the Escalante Route has a reputation for requiring a bit extra from Grand Canyon hikers. Several passages encountered along the way require exposed hand and toe climbing. A feel for the route ahead will save time at the difficult spots. The Colorado River is usually the only reliable source of water, so fool-proof methods of turbid water purification are a real necessity. On the other hand, you are presented with a delightful variety of canyon environments, ranging from the wide open spaces of Furnace Flats, to the slot-like confines of lower Seventyfive Mile Creek. Hance Rapids at the mouth of Red Canyon represents the premier stretch of whitewater in the upper reaches of the Grand Canyon. Changing geology, as the sedimentary Supergroup gives way to the ancient Vishnu Complex, combine with remarkable views from a variety of elevations to produce a Grand Canyon experience of the first order.

Water Sources
The Colorado River represents the only reliable water. Hikers can access the shoreline many places between Tanner Beach and Cardenas Creek, at the mouths of Escalante Creek and Seventyfive Mile Creek, at several spots between Seventyfive Mile and Papago Creeks, and near Hance Rapids. The Colorado River is often silt-laden and difficult to purify.

Most hikers utilize beaches along the Colorado River for camping. Good beach camps are located at the mouths of Tanner Canyon (BB9), Cardenas Creek (BC9), Escalante Creek (BC9), Seventyfive Mile Creek (BC9), Papago Creek (BC9), and Red Canyon (BD9). Encounters with river trips are possible at Cardenas and Red Canyon; please yield large camps to large river trips. A dry camp is located west of Cardenas Creek near the head of the unnamed drainage.

The route can be hiked in either direction, but traveling with the flow of the land is appealing so this passage will be described from the perspective of a downcanyon hiker. Follow the Tanner Trail to the shoreline. Rocks placed at the trail margins make it easy to see the way across Tanner Beach and up onto the bench above the river that forms the route downstream towards Cardenas Canyon. A well-trodden trail works its way along the foot of the Supergroup slopes above the shoreline. Shallow gullies must be crossed at intervals; but generally speaking, the route from Tanner to Cardenas is straightforward.

Cardenas Creek is almost always dry, but there is easy access to the Colorado River via the bed of the drainage. This is the last reliable water source until one reaches the river at the mouth of Escalante Creek. The trail crosses Cardenas Creek about two hundred yards above the shoreline and climbs the Dox Hill immediately west. There are a couple of ways to do this, but these route options ultimately converge into a single trail immediately south of the Dox Hill. The correct path, however, follows the rising slope of red sandstone toward and up the unnamed side canyon between Cardenas and Escalante Creeks and reaches the bed of the drainage above the cliff bands that block access to the Colorado River.

The route crosses the unnamed drainage and traverses west toward the crest of the ridge north of Escalante Creek. Caution is indicated throughout this area, as there are many places where you will want to avoid a misstep at all cost. Some sections offer a walking surface about a boot-sole wide while traversing slopes that fall steeply away for hundreds of feet. Take your time and walk with care. The exposure may appear dramatic but truly is comfortable hiking. The trail seems to traverse west forever, finally going to the top of the ridge just short of the west end. A fine view in all directions is the reward for all the side hill walking. (This is also the location of the steep bypass through "Butchart's Notch".)

The trail crosses the ridge and descends rapidly to the bed of Escalante Creek. A barrier fall in the main arm prevents direct access to the river, so the route crosses to the south side of the wash and around into the short arm of Escalante. Well developed route-finding skills will help here. The canyon bottom forms the route for a short distance but soon the trail traverses west to pass a high pouroff, crosses a bit of talus and descends to the creek bed below the fall. Both arms of Escalante Creek are normally dry, but once established below the fall it's an easy walk to the shoreline.

The trail climbs away from the river below the mouth of Escalante Creek and follows a rising ramp of Shinumo Quartzite downcanyon. Walk the top of this formation around into Seventyfive Mile Creek. Though there is a route directly down the cliffs to the creek bottom, a less thrilling (and probably safer) option is to walk the top of the Shinumo all the way to the bed of Seventyfive Mile Creek and continue down the drainage bottom to the river. A couple of minor obstacles present themselves but the solutions are obvious. The Shinumo Quartzite section of Seventyfive Mile Creek is a real treat - deep and narrow. Watch for some neat slickensides near the river, the results of ancient faulting. Nevills Rapids provides a backdrop for several nice camping spots. The area is equally popular among river runners so you may encounter other groups. Seventyfive Mile Creek is normally dry in its lower reaches, but there is access to the river at various points throughout the stretch from Escalante to Papago Creeks. Note: Seventyfive Mile Creek, in particular, is prone to flash floods. These flood events regularly change the structure of the drainage and, in kind, the route. Hikers should be wary of drainage travel during rain events.

Trails along the beach form the route downriver towards Papago Creek. Eventually sand gives way to rock and a series of ledges require a bit of attention to avoid being rimmed up. In general, stay as close to the river as is conveniently possible. The trail goes up and over a small outcrop of sandstone before dropping back to river level at the mouth of Papago Creek. A high route is also possible and may be cairned.

A cliff emerges from deep water below the mouth of Papago Creek. A significant detour is necessary to bypass a relatively short river stretch. Exit Papago on the west and work up a series of tall ledges. A short rope to better facilitate pack handling will prove a worthwhile accessory, especially for a solo walker. Start up immediately west of the mouth of the drainage. The holds are big and secure, but as one gains height the perception of exposure is hard to avoid. The route leads up from ledge to ledge, so it's never more than a move or two between resting places if you have chosen the line of least resistance. The climbing is easy, but no mistakes are allowed. About 35 feet up the angle relents and one can scramble up the talus toward minor cliff bands above. There are several ways to surmount these little crags, all with obvious trails giving access. Climb the slopes to a (more or less) horizontal trail about 300 vertical feet above the river.

The trail traverses less than 100 yards downcanyon before coming to the top of a talus filled runnel that allows passage back to the shoreline. This gully seems dangerous - steep, with lots of big boulders in precarious balance. Large groups are more at risk because more people moving around means increased chances of dislodged rocks. Large groups should hike VERY close together, or VERY far apart. The immediate shoreline forms the most efficient route between bottom of this treacherous little gully and the mouth of Red Canyon. The walk downstream through riparian vegetation is a real pleasure. The river flows quietly through the large pool above Hance Rapids, and beaver or waterfowl are occasionally encountered. A downcanyon walker arriving at Hance Rapids could continue west via the Tonto Trail toward Mineral Canyon, the Grandview Trail and points beyond, or ascend to the rim via the bed of Red Canyon on the New Hance Trail.

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2008-03-13 HAZ_Hikebot
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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 19 deeper Triplog Reviews
Escalante Route
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Seventy-five Mile Canyon
This was a hike from a river camp called "Upper Nevills," just above Nevills Rapid. We hiked up Seventy-five Mile Canyon to the Escalante Route trail. Walking along the trail, we went out to the rim of the platform it's on and got a nice view of Nevills Rapid, and up and down the gorge. Since I have hiked the Escalante Route, I had been to that canyon before.

It was just a quick afternoon hike. I had to get back to camp to help with cooking dinner for 27 people--this was a commercial river trip. I thought I had GPS'd the hike. (In fact, I thought I had GPS'd all of the hikes on my trip, but some of them are missing.) Oh, well. Looking at the map, I guesstimated the distance and elevation gain.

Some of our guests went further up the canyon after topping over the ledge and said there was a nice waterfall there, but I was on dinner duty that night. My notes say that I made apple crisp in the Dutch oven. Yum! I do remember making the apple crisp, but I didn't write down what else we cooked for dinner.

It was a remarkably nice camp, in the trees. It had been pretty windy, with some rain, and we were tired of the wind, and were glad to fit our many tents into small spaces amongst the tamarisk trees.

Mariposa lilies, beavertail cactus, brittlebush, etc. etc.
Escalante Route
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Tanner - Escalante - New Hance
My friend Sam and I, along with my 15 year old son, hiked this route over three days. What a beautiful hike. This is now definitely one of my favorites in the Grand Canyon.

The hike definitely has a few challenging places. My topo map designates trail intensity with letters: E=Easy, M=Moderate, D=Difficult, and for extra difficult, DD. All three legs of this hike have “large chested” stretches on my map.

The views on the descent down the Tanner are spectacular because of the relative openness of the terrain all the way to the river. I can’t think of another trail where you’re within sight of a single spot on the Rim for the whole descent to the River. (In this case that spot is Desert View tower.)

I wish that I had read the triplogs on this website before the hike because we would have taken the detour up Escalante Butte. We certainly would have had plenty of time, since we reached Tanner Beach by early afternoon. We explored and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. The upper cliffs of the South Rim illuminated by the setting sun were gorgeous, and the cliffs reflecting in the Colorado made for some nice photos.

As soon as the sun went down our camp was besieged by mice. Those little devils are fast. You could hardly raise your arm to throw a rock before your target had darted off under a rock or log. We emptied our packs of food and hung the food off an overhang, but even that wasn’t good enough: I awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of Sam whacking his empty pack with his hiking stick in order to knock off a couple of mice that were busy chewing on it.

The second day of the hike, the Escalante Route, was my favorite leg because of the variety and beauty of the terrain. The only part of this leg worthy of its “Route” designation was the last couple of miles, from the mouth of Seventyfive Mile Creek to Hance Rapids. Otherwise it’s an easy-to-follow trail.

We stopped partway up Dox Hill because one of us had to dig a hole, and while we sat beside the trail, I spotted Angel’s Window out near the end of Cape Royal on the North Rim. My son and I had visited it a couple of years ago, so it was fun to see it again, but from a different perspective.

Later on, it was a thrill to lean over the east edge of Seventyfive Mile Canyon looking for the creek bed below, not be able to see it, and then have to lean even farther over the edge before finally seeing it. Less than an hour later, we were walking down that very creek bed, looking waaay up to the canyon’s edge far overhead.

The trail definitely gets more route-like after Seventyfive Mile Creek. It was a bit daunting to arrive at the bottom of Papago Wall without really knowing what it was, and seeing the cairns at the bottom and top. We really have to climb that? But upon closer inspection, it turns out that it’s not so bad. We were able to climb it without even removing our packs.

The mice were even bolder and more numerous at Hance than they were at Tanner the night before. At one point in early evening I looked down and found a mouse sitting right beside me in the sand.

The mice stole a couple of things from us in the night too: Sam’s sock (taken to be used in a nest?) and the small leather keeper from his hat strings. A mouse also chewed a hole in my son’s water bladder bite valve. I was relieved that they didn’t chew a hole in my tent.

What can I say about the hike out on the New Hance? It’s steep, especially since the first couple of miles in Red Canyon gain almost no elevation at all. That being said, I enjoyed the hike up more than our hike down a couple of years ago – definitely easier on the knees and hips.

Now I’m itching to get back here again sometime – maybe try out the Tanner-Beamer-Salt trails?

Escalante Route
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Tanner - Escalante - New Hance
Russell invited me to come along on a 3-day backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon on the Tanner - Escalante - New Hance "loop". He had one extra spot available so I invited my friend Alex to come along too. This was all new territory for me in the canyon so it was impossible to say no.

Day 1
Alex and I met up with Russell and Craig on Saturday morning around 8 A.M. just off the highway on the road you use as parking for New Hance. After some breakfast, we all piled into Craig's truck and headed for Lipan Point.

We started down Tanner Trail making good time despite how steep it was. This is the first "primitive" trail I've been on at the Grand Canyon and I like the feel. Just enough cairns and use to be navigable without much thinking, but you're still on you're toes because it's steep and you might need to use your hands for stabilization.

About 2.5 miles in, Alex, Craig, and I diverged from the Tanner Trail and headed for Escalante Butte via the north ridge. There are a lot of really fun scrambles, and some small climbs before the summit. The views into the canyon from the ridgeline are awesome!

Once at the split summit boulder, we all looked at the spot where you have to make the leap and didn't like how exposed it was. Alex and Craig spent some time trying to find a way to climb the eastern face of the gap. They would always get one or two steps away from being able to pull it off but there wasn't anything secure to grab on top to pull yourself up. I'm not a climber, so for me it was the jump or an assist.

Alex assisted Craig to the top of the summit by letting Craig use his shoulder. I did the same for Alex. While they sat on the summit and signed the register, I re-climbed the western face, positioned myself on the ledge of the gap and re-evaluated the jump. I decided I was going to go for it. I assisted Craig back down from the summit before making the jump so we all wouldn't get stuck up there.

I focused only on where I was going to land, and where my other foot was going to go to pull me up off the ledge which is tilted back towards the gap. Then I shot the gap. Easy peasy!

On the summit, I quickly signed the register and snapped a couple of photos. Russell had probably been waiting an hour by this point. I decided to take the assisted down climb from the summit rather than jump back to the western ledge. That jump looks even scarier. :scared:

We met back up with Russell, had some lunch, then continued down Tanner to the Colorado. Once there we spent some time loitering on the beach before setting up camp. Later in the day @sirena rolled through our camp on one of her Canyon adventures. Nice to meet you!

Day 2
We woke up and started walking a little before 8 A.M. I started a little chilled but quickly warmed up as we hit pockets of sun that had made their way into the canyon already. Once we worked our way across the flat sandy banks of the Colorado to where we would climb up and away from the river, I was over the sun and seeking shade.

Great views along the Escalante route from where you climb away from the river to Papago Creek. Route finding is pretty straightforward all along the route with well placed cairns and in some places a pretty well worn tread. The highlights for me were Seventyfive Mile Creek and the Papago Wall.

Once we reached New Hance Rapids we all got in the river for a little bit while it was hot. The water is really cold at first but it feels refreshing after you get out and let the sun warm you back up. Beach life along the Colorado seems pretty nice.

Day 3
After a not so satisfying night of sleep it was time to exit the big ditch via New Hance. This trail starts out at a really nice grade as you follow the bottom of Red Canyon, but you pay for it later once you leave the bottom of the creek and start a relentless climb up the side to the Rim. There is some overgrowth along this section of the trail and you may need to pay a little more attention for route finding, but it is still pretty straightforward.

I brought a liter and a half of water with me which I had almost completely burned a little over half way up. I started feeling pretty woozy on the last 2 miles, probably because I was starting to get dehydrated. I entered snail mode to crawl up the final 2000ft. From New Hance Rapids to Rim I believe it took us a little over 4 hours. Whew, that climb is a doozy!

Thanks again Russell for the invite!

Some yellow here and there in the drainages.
Escalante Route
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Almost Vishnu Temple
Almost. I made it to within about 150-200 feet below the summit.

Started out from Lipan Point loaded down with camping, packrafting and rappelling gear. Got a late start at 10am so it was quite warm when I reached the foot of Tanner Trail. Followed the Escalante route for about 4 miles and then cut off trail until I reached my river crossing spot, just before Unkar Creek. Aired-up my Buoyancy Operated Aquatic Transporter (BOAT), donned my wetsuit and PFD, said a prayer and got into the cool water. The crossing went well as it was on an outside turn and so centrifugal force basically deposited me right where I wanted to be. The return trip wasn't so pretty. Stashed my rafting gear under some brush then went and took a quick look at some of the ruins on Unkar Delta before starting up Unkar Creek. There's a marked trail that runs through the delta. I just did a short part of it. Most of the sites were re-burried by the park service after study. I followed Unkar Creek about 5 miles until I reached the side canyon I would need to reach Freya/Vishnu Saddle. By then the sun was gone so I found a big flat rock to camp on. Extremely windy all night. I probably slept 2 hours. There's running water in Unkar but from all the white residue around it it must be heavily mineralized. And in some sections it was running orange. So I only took water from the Colorado.

Once on the saddle the next morning, I followed the route description from Grand Canyon Summits Select towards Vishnu's summit. I spent about 2 hours hemming and hawing at what the Tomasis called the Supai crux. A 30 foot class 4 climb in the upper Supai. I must have put my backpack back on and walked away only to turn around again at least 5 times. The climb really isn't bad, its just that I hate downclimbing and this climb requires you to commit to finish once you start. Finally found the nerve to get up it and then headed up to the Coconino. All kinds of scrambling, route finding and some class 3 there that was easy but reminded me of Cathedral Rock on Lemmon with the exposure. Up into the Kaibab I got to the "tough boulder move" and that's where I called it. Again, not a difficult climb but I guess I was done at that point, for many reasons. Here's a short list: low on water, getting late and I still had to get back to my camping gear in Unkar, already had one rapel weighing heavy on me and didn't want another, too many moves to remember just to get back to the saddle, and I was higher than I expected I would get so was still satisfied. These temples never go down on the first attempt anyway.

Back down to Unkar, spent another night in the creek and then crossed the CO on the morning of my 3rd day. That crossing took two tries as the river really wanted me to stay on the north side. Long 5-hour slog up Tanner to finish off.

This hike put me just past 3,000 lifetime miles at the canyon.
Escalante Route
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Tanner - Escalante - New Hance
This all started with Rachel contacting me earlier this year asking about a 3-4 day Grand Canyon adventure. My first suggestion was Escalante Route and all the details unfolded from there. Time flies and next thing you know the six of us are driving up Saturday morning arriving at the east entrance around 10am. To our delight we spotted Karl & Kathy. They had to change their original plan so they joined us for the start of our hike.

Chumley and I set the shuttle while the combined group of six started the hike down Tanner. We started down around 11am and gradually descended. Tanner is steep off the start and the relatively heavy backpack doesn't help. We continued down and caught up to Karl & Kathy near the base of Escalante Butte. They decided to continue down to Cardenas where the approach was easier. The four of us continued from there. They eventually broke off for Cardenas while Chumley and I continued down to the spectacular view at the top of the Redwall. The Canyon never gets old!

Next up was the Redwall and we started down spotting the others near the bottom. The descent through the Redwall is steep and loose but not too bad. It took some time and we caught up the others. From there our group of six completed the last few miles to the river. Once down we selected a great campsite to the left. It was mid-afternoon and we all settled in doing camp chores like setting up camp and filtering water.

We woke on day two and took our time tearing down camp. We hit the trail around 8:30am and started the Escalante Route. I kept telling everyone it's an easy 12 miles with a few obstacles. I way undersold it! The route is a beast and really wears you down. We took several breaks along the way and lunch at Escalante Creek. From there we climbed the Papago Wall and then down the Papago Slide. I don't remember the slide being so steep! The last mile to Red Canyon was a slog.

All of us were beat as we walked into camp. I was delighted to see we scored the prime campsite under the Mesquite Tree. It was more camp chores as we settled in for evening. It will be another beautiful night. We would have wonderful weather for the entire trip. Everyone was achy and turned in early knowing the hike out is going to be a huge elevation day!

Our final day started with a quick morning. Everyone was up fairly early and began prepping for the hike out New Hance. This was another one I said wasn't a big deal. I guessed we'd fly out and I was wrong. The first two miles are fairly mild in a creek bottom. From there it's just about all up as we headed for the top of the Redwall. The Supai traverse was slow as you needed caution while you work your way across. Once we hit the gully it's more climbing over the final two miles. I would guess our pace at less than a mile an hour through here. It was a tough climb and I was glad to finally top off at the New Hance sign. From there the six of us packed up and headed for NiMarcos in Flagstaff!

This was a fun trip but really took some effort. I forget how difficult the Grand Canyon can be. Anyways thanks everyone for coming out for this one. This was the first time I met Jared and he was a lot of fun & solid hiker. It was great hiking with Rachel too. Let's plan something for 2017!
Escalante Route
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Tanner - Escalante - New Hance
Apparently all of HAZ descended into the Grand Canyon this weekend and I was lucky enough to be in one of those groups. The weather and temperature couldn't have been more beautiful and the trails couldn't have been rockier and steeper.

We ran into Karl and Kathy at the east entrance and they came along for the first part of our day. Tanner is steep steep steep. I don't think my calf muscles ever recovered-- the downhill hurt all weekend. Camp at the bottom was a little crowded but we managed to snag a sweet spot after Chumley scared off some youngsters.

On day two, we hit the Escalante Route. I loved this trail. It was tougher than the sections of the Tonto I've done but much more interesting with some great "wow" moments. 75-mile Creek was definitely a highlight and the Papago Wall and Papago Slide were good "oh crap" moments.

That night we stayed at everyone's favorite camp spot. Its nice to revisit places I've camped before. I went to bed early dreading the climb out the next day. I remembered how rough New Hance was coming down and was not looking forward to that hike. I tried to remind myself how cool that trail is-- I don't think it helped.

We headed out in the morning. I did my best to enjoy the section in Red Canyon before the real ascending began. I think this ended up being my worst climb out of the canyon. I was broken off by the time I made it up the redwall. I sludged up the rest of the way up. It seemed like every time I looked at my GPS, I still had 2,000 feet to go. I was going slower than planned and realized I would need to conserve my water more than I had originally thought. I finally hit that last 500 feet and the end was in sight. I reached the top, turned around to give the canyon a couple single digit salutes, and went to meet the rest of the pack. Great trip, though :D
Escalante Route
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Tanner - Escalante - New Hance
This is a beastly loop!

John and I set up the shuttle while the others got a head start down Tanner with Karl and Kathy. We met those two as they were starting up Escalante Butte, and convinced them to join us for another mile and head up Cardenas instead, which they did.

We finally spotted the others at the redwall break, but it took us all the way to the bottom of the break before we finally caught up. From there we hiked together to the beach which was actually a bit crowded, with a handful of different groups camped in a few places. We found a nice spot and settled in for the afternoon.

In the morning we began our long traverse across the Escalante Route. This route has it all: riverside sand, scrambles, climbs, huge views, narrow canyons, and a lot of solid work!

We were happy to arrive at Red Creek to find our favorite camp spot unoccupied. In fact there was nobody else there, which was a nice change from the night before!

Monday we got up early and made steady progress up New Hance. I had only been down this one before, and all I can say is that ascending it is relentlessly steep and it takes a toll!

We couldn't have had better weather all weekend. Cloudy and mild. Never too cold at night, and never too warm during the day. The clouds were a gift, and the cool breezes made it tough to beat.

It was great to meet Jared, and good to see Rachel again. Thanks for putting this one together! (Kudos to 9L for the assist) :)
Escalante Route
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Escalante Route has been on my radar for a couple of years. Finally everything came together and we got it done. I applied for the permit eight days before and it arrived in the mail two days before our departure. These last minute trips are some of my favorites and this one didn’t disappoint!

Lee and I left Phoenix at 5:30am on Saturday. I had a horrible time sleeping the night before and it wore on me all day. We met Niko at Lipan Point at 9:15am and he helped us set up a shuttle as we dropped my jeep near the New Hance Trailhead. The three of us starting hiking down the Tanner Trail around 9:45am. We proceeded down the steep upper portion and started the traverse. Niko said goodbye around the 2.5 mile mark and returned to the rim. Thanks again Niko for the help with the shuttle and it was good hiking with you!

FOTG and I continued hiking and enjoyed the view at the top of the Redwall. From there we made the descent and cruised all the way to the river. We talked to a group of guys from Montana that were spending five days in the Canyon. They were taking their time and loved the Canyon. They commented how “fresh” we looked and were surprised when we told them we were going all the way to Escalante Creek. We said our goodbye and started on the Escalante Route.

The first few miles are relatively easy as you head down river. We took a break at Cardenas Creek where I filtered water out of the Colorado River which was flowing clear. This was a pleasant surprise as it was flowing chocolate brown just two weeks earlier. After our break we hiked up to the hilltop ruins and what a sight it is! The 360 degrees views are fantastic and both of us enjoyed the ruins. After that we continued as the winds picked up. The gusts were extremely strong and it was hard walking in a straight line. It blew us back and forth and you could feel sand and dirt pelting us! The last few miles to Escalante Creek were draining and time consuming. We both wanted to be done for the day! We also wanted to get to camp before dark.

We arrived at Escalante Creek around 5pm and both of us were spent! We had about an hour of daylight so we filtered water and got camp set up. I busted out the party lights and we enjoyed dinner and relaxed as darkness set in. Both of us saw a shooting star streak across the sky. It was quite a sight! We were exhausted and turned in around 8:30pm. Later in the evening I woke to my tent getting pounded by wind! I was worried my tent was going to tear open but it was fine.

We woke around 6:30am and FOTG said it was raining out earlier and wanted to get an early start. I agreed with him. There was rain in the forecast and a threat of snow on the rim. Luckily we had relatively clear skies as we packed up and started my favorite portion of the hike. The first section took us along the top of Seventyfive Mile Creek. I was blown away at this canyon the first time I saw pics of it and felt like a kid on Christmas morning as we dropped down into it! It’s relatively short but oh so sweet! It’s easy going and just breathtaking! We found a dead bobcat about half way down. I wonder what happened to the poor fella.

From there we continued the traverse down river and saw a group of rafters breaking camp. We waved to each other from a distance as we passed. Shortly after we descended back to the river and had to climb the Papago Wall. This is another obstacle I looked forward to. I was concerned we were going to have to climb it in the rain but we had clear skies. The climb up is very straightforward and there are plenty of good hand holds. I don’t think it would be an issue in a moderate rain. We topped out and then descended the Papago Slide. We both took our time and were very careful not to knock any rocks down on top of each other. We both got down fine and headed for Hance Rapid. The Escalante Route portion of our trek was complete.

We took a break at Hance Rapid and topped off our water and had breakfast. From there we started the hike up spectacular Red Canyon. This is another favorite of mine! Red Canyon features the red Hakatai Shale and is such a treat in person. The soft morning sun really brought out the colors and both of us were in heaven! We continued on and started gaining elevation as we neared the Redwall Break. We made decent time and took short breaks as we climbed up the break. We passed a couple at the top and continued south along the Supai traverse. Before long we were in the drainage that leads towards the summit. Again we took numerous short breaks and grinded up the trail.

The temps dropped as we neared the rim and I took a sitting break in the Coconino Break. I had to eat something and put on my fleece and beanie. I felt much better after this and we continued the last few hundred vertical feet back to the rim. Both of us were spent as we topped out around 1:40pm. The jeep was a welcome sight parked a short walk to the east. From there we packed up and drove back to Phoenix without stopping.

This was one hell of a trip and was a lot for an overnighter. I would want an extra day if I ever do this hike again. There are too many sights to have to rush through and the terrain is unforgiving and very taxing. The Canyon never disappoints and never gets old. I’m ready for the next trip! Thanks to FOTG for going with me on this. Good times!
Escalante Route
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After a long lay off I was finally able to get back to the Grand Canyon. John put this trip together and it was a great one! Knowing my experience is some what limited in the Canyon, John invited me along on another nice introductory level two day back pack, Tanner to New Hance via the Escalante Route.

Not one mile of this trip disappointed. We got a very late start due to driving up that morning and setting up our shuttle. Some HAZ appreciation to the member who helped us out with that, nikorock28. He also joined us for the first 2.5 miles down Tanner. Tanner is certainly a trail you cannot partially commit to, once you begin, the relentless first down hill begins. We arrived at the Colorado in relatively good time, we walked past some back packing groups, chatted with some very quickly and continued down the Escalante.

After the zeal of visiting the Hill Top Ruins wore off, Escalante did seem to beat me up a little. Nevertheless, we were still able to finally drop our gear at the confluence of Escalante Creek and the Colorado about 15 minutes to five, not bad for a nearly ten in the morning start time.

We battled the wind most of the night but major precipitation held off. We got up early, broke camp and continued down the Escalante, with beating a potential storm in mind. Seventy Five Mile Creek quickly became one of my favorite spots in Canyon and I enjoyed the final three miles or so of Escalante in general. Now climbing out New Hance was a whole other story.

New Hance really kicked my ass. I felt at times I was really holding John up, but he assured me I was fine. Although, strenuous the climb did seem to go by relatively quickly and John and I were back on pavement by 1:30 or so. This was certainly not my first time knocking out a 25 plus mile over-nighter, but these 26 miles came perhaps tougher than any of recent memory.

Final Notes:

I encountered wind along the Escalante so fierce that it seriously made me think for the first time in my hiking career, that there was a possibility the wind might blow me right off the trail.

The Grand Canyon simply amazes me. I seem to get up differently for Canyon hikes, a little anxiety in beginning, more adrenaline then usual, more stopping and admiring, just an experience not duplicated anywhere else in the state or my modest areas of travel anyways.

A final thanks to John, great trip. Immediately near the top of my all-time list, really expanded my Canyon frame of reference, and further scratched that canyon itch I am quickly developing, now I only have about ten new canyon trips I want to complete :-k
Escalante Route
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Escalante Route-Tanner to New Hance
Once upon a time, David led an eagle, a turtle, a wallaby, a pelican and a yeti into a big hole in the ground...

Sunday morning came early, and all of us met in Happy Valley for the journey north to the grandest of canyons. The Dave-Mobile and the Wally-Wagon regrouped at McDonalds in Flagstaff for a quick breakfast before making the drive through Cameron to Lipan Point on the South Rim. We stashed the Wally Wagon near the New Hance trailhead and then began our hike down the Tanner Trail. Bob had already disappeared atop the rocky ledges of Escalante and Cardenas Buttes by the time Dave, Wally and I caught up to Denny and Bruce. The impossibly huge cliffs of the Palisades kept watch as we journeyed down, while a series of backpackers and the temperatures were coming up. Bob later materialized like a glowing, orange-shirted beacon sometime after lunch.

Reaching the frigid blue-green waters of the mighty Colorado River, we cooled down and watered up for the next leg of our journey: west on the Escalante Route. We pushed our way downriver through sandy beach deposits, mesquite and cacti as the afternoon wore on. Leaving the river bottom, we scrambled up a ridge to Hilltop Ruin, an impressive sight in front of the Palisades' backdrop. Next up were the red cliff walls falling straight down into Unkar Creek Rapids, another classic scene I had long hoped to lay eyes upon.

Afternoon shadows were growing long as we trudged south up to the high ridge separating Cardenas and Escalante Canyons, which we then began the long traverse around. I studied the toothy ridge top above, locating what my dad called "Butchart's Notch", that he had used as a shortcut back in 1988. The afternoon was almost gone when we descended into the twisting, rocky confines of Escalante Canyon, past a massive pour-off dryfall. Six exhausted hikers reached the mouth of Escalante Creek at dusk and quickly set up camp next to the roaring freight train known as the Colorado River. We spent the evening refueling, rehydrating and relaxing. I managed to take a few night photos. Sleep came easily that night.

The next morning we were up, packed, and on the trail by 7 am, heading downriver along rocky shelves as the first rays of golden sunlight peaked through the Inner Gorge, contrasting nicely with the turquoise of the river. Rounding a corner, the sheer walled chasm of 75 Mile Creek appeared. We marched along its precarious rim before somehow dropping into its slot canyon like depths. A little further down river we came upon the Pueblo Wall, which I was surprised to see was only a short, rocky scramble. Undoubtedly it would have been a bit easier without having had huge packs on, but we nonetheless made it past this fun little obstacle quickly. Pueblo Slide followed shortly after, where we cautiously descended the boulder littered debris slope. All trials now over, we quickly reached Hance Rapids, a place I had not visited since age 14, and one I was thrilled to see again. We took a break at the river and reloaded on water for the hike out.

The sun was upon us now, and the canyon was growing quite warm. South we headed on the New Hance Trail, up the gravelly floor of aptly named Red Canyon. Shady spots were few but welcome for breaks along the way. After a sweat inducing climb we surmounted the Redwall, where the air was noticeably cooler. We traversed the Supai's trademark, trail-destroying, landslide boulder-disaster for awhile, with a lunch break along the way. John Hance's old route finally took us out of Red Canyon and into the Coconino Sandstone, where we began the final challenge of the day, climbing up to the South Rim.

Our exhausted group of six reassembled along the highway at the New Hance trailhead, and piled into the Wally-Wagon, which took on the appearance of a clown car with all of us and our gear crammed inside somehow. We made the comical ride back to Lipan Point, where the mystery of the missing chicken sandwich was solved when Dave popped open his trunk. We split up and left the Canyon at this point to head back to Phoenix. Wally, Denny and I stopped at La Fonda in Flagstaff for a delicious Mexican dinner along the way.

I reached my parent's house in Tempe later that night, where my dad and I showed each other photos and swapped stories of our Escalante trips, mine now, and his 26 years earlier. It was great to follow in his footsteps and see the places he had told me about over the years. :)

Dave, Bruce, Wally, Denny and Bob: I had a blast with you guys, let's do it again! :y:

Thanks for organizing this one Dave, it was an outstanding adventure and I can't thank you enough! :worthy:

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
No trailhead, this is an inner-canyon trail. Access is via the Tanner Trail on the east. The New Hance Trail and the Tonto Trail provide access on the west. Please see these route descriptions for more information on these trails.
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