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Dripping Springs - Grand Canyon
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mini location map2015-07-04
22 by photographer avatarddgrunning
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Dripping Springs - Grand CanyonNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 04 2015
ddgrunning
Hiking7.46 Miles 2,200 AEG
Hiking7.46 Miles   4 Hrs   34 Mns   1.63 mph
2,200 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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Decided last minute to take the family on an overnight campout to the Grand Canyon. My wife had purchased an annual parks pass, so why not make the most of it! We ended up getting a campsite at the Ten-X campground just south of Tusayan, though we were prepared to do some dispersed camping along the FS roads, if necessary (Thanks to fellow HAZers for the suggestions on camping locations). The campground did fill up, but we arrived around 12:30 pm on Friday and there were still several available at that time.

After exploring the east side of the park by car (Grandview and Moran Points) and foot (Shoshone Point) on Friday, we headed to the western end of the park on Saturday morning for the highlight hike of the trip (says me, anyway ....). We had dropped by the visitor's center the evening before, and out front are various billboard displays, outlining various day hikes that could be taken from the rim. They were rated "easy," "moderate," and "difficult/strenuous." The difficulty was indicated visually by sandwich and water bottle icons, with more difficult hikes listing three sandwiches and three water bottles.

Hermit Trail to Dripping Springs was one of the hikes listed outside the visitors center and described as "difficult," "rough and rocky," with a 3 sandwich/3 water bottle rating. In other words, I told the kids, ... this is a "Garner-family-appropriate" hike. :lol: Haha!! We joked the rest of the trip about how many "sandwiches" various hikes should be rated. :-)

Anywhoo, we got to the shuttle out to Hermit's Rest before the masses arrived. Thankfully, the skies were overcast and there had been some light drizzly rain on Fri. night, making the otherwise very hot trail much more pleasant.

We hit the trail around 9 a.m. and once we left the rim, we left the crowds as well, and seemingly had the canyon to ourselves. We did not meet another soul all the way to Dripping Springs, where the only visitor was a ranger who had arrived shortly before us.

The canyon was, of course, beautiful, and the trail was easy to follow and pretty well maintained for an "un-maintained" trail. Our favorite section was the Dripping Springs trail itself, where we weaved in and out of two "amphitheaters" along the deep red canyon walls, with views into the inner canyon towards the river. The kids had fun enjoying the echo-chamber acoustics :) . We saw a deer and looked across the canyon, where we could zoom in on the rest shelter at Santa Maria spring.

Dripping Springs was a nice little oasis, where we stopped for lunch before the return trip. On the way back, we explored a bit of the way further down Hermit tr. from the Dripping Springs junction. I wanted to make the side trip down to Santa Maria Spring, but my kids were a bit anxious about the climb out, so we opted to do that one another time. (After all, we have an annual pass...haha!). So, I resisted the urge and we began our ascent.

The clouds became a bit patchy and the sun beat down on us a bit more, but the hike out was still quite enjoyable. My 12-yo son decided to hot-dog it and left my daughter and me in the dust, as he jogged up the trail, reaching the top a good 15 minutes before us.

We rewarded ourselves with some ice cream at Hermits Rest before hopping on the now-packed shuttle back to the Village. Meanwhile, my wife and other daughter, who had left us at the Hermit TH, opted to hike the 7.5 miles back to the village along the Rim Trail. We met up at the shuttle transfer and compared notes and photos. A great time was had by all. :y:

We made it back to Phoenix in time to enjoy some firework displays from the top of the HAZ-dubbed "9L Peak."
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