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Nankoweap Trail #57 - 7 members in 21 triplogs have rated this an average 4.6 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Apr 27 2021
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 Guides 14
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 286

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2002
 Phoenix, AZ
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 27 2021
BarrettTriplogs 286
Backpack30.60 Miles 9,608 AEG
Backpack30.60 Miles4 Days         
9,608 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
In the three years it had been since I was able to backpack the Canyon, a lot had happened. The most relevant being a diagnosis of moderate to severe arthritis in both knees. ](*,) This realization caused me to sort the remaining Grand Canyon hikes on my Bucket List in descending order of difficulty. Fortunately there also exists hyaluronic acid, which is the closest thing to a miracle drug I have ever experienced. That, along with a plan of low daily mileage and low pack weight was my best shot to knock off Nankoweap.
Day One - 8 miles
Snow still remained in the shade at the west trailhead, and as I approached the edge the wind was incredible. I was able to lean into it well enough, but it actually would sweep my foot so my steps did not land where planned. Glad that it was pushing me away from and not over the edge, I made my way through the ups and downs to the Nankoweap Trail proper. The drop down was pleasant enough, and I contoured around to Marion Point, where I met 4 women retrieving their cache. The campsite was small and bumpy, but Marion Point is gorgeous.
From there I continued the traverse, where I found the exposure and obstacles less than say Boucher, Deer Creek, Escalante, or Utah Flats.
I reached Tilted Mesa and set up camp just in time for some light rain. I had dinner and watched the sun set through the snow that was falling on the rim above. Dry under my GoLite, comfortable in my Flexlite, I celebrated with my Magic Flight at the end of a perfect day.
After about 5 hours of blissfull sleep, I woke up around 2 am to hard rain and my 25 year old tent deciding to leak from multiple points. I did the best I could mopping and catching, and gradually the rain softened, leaving me to try in vain to get some sleep before dawn.
Day Two - 7 Miles
The rain stopped entirely in perfect time for me to break camp, and then resumed as a light drizzle as forecast for my hike down to the Creek. The clouds were rolling down off the rim and the rain brought out the colors that surrounded me. The going was steep at times, but I was being super slow and careful with my knees, and had no slips or issues. GoLite umbrellas are lousy in high winds, but in a drizzle they rule. I reached the creek and had a PB+J Burrito under the big tree, listening to introduction of birdsong after the relative silence above. The next three miles meandered, and soon I was at the northern beach. I set up camp, this time using the 1 ounce mylar emergency blanket between my tent and the fly, just as the rain picked up again. Perfect timing.
When the rain stopped, I headed to the empty beach to do my traditional immersion and wash up, coming back to my tent just as the rafters arrived. I loaded up my pack for the granaries and was headed up a little after 4. My plan was to shoot them at as many times as I could to get different light.
On the way up I ran into a group of rafters from the south beach wearing day-glo Tu-Tu's. I asked them the significance, to which the woman replied "It's Tu-Tu Tuesday!" Raft trips sound like fun. She also said it was her second 17 day raft trip through the Canyon, and that in her opinion the Granaries are the best view anywhere.
When I reached the top and looked back, I don't think I would argue. Beautiful perspective lines, foreground interest, river reflections, blah, blah, blah. It was sweet.
Over the next 3 hours or so I cooked dinner and waited for the light to change, eventually putting LED tea candles in the openings and trying to photograph their glow in the now dark canyon. I can't say those turned out very well, but it was fun playing around up there listening to the rafters party it up below from precisely 7 to 8 pm, when all the lights went out and the canyon was once again silent.
Day Three - 9 Miles
I woke to clear skies and headed up the Creek, and then began the ascent to Tilted Mesa. While stopped to take a picture, I was startled by a girl jogging up the trail behind me. She was a rafter who decided to "bust a move" and bop up to Tilted Mesa on their rest day. She was from Montana, so we talked a bit about Glacier before we parted ways, with her moving up the steep grade like it was nothing.
Having reached the Mesa by around 2 pm, I decided to continue on to Marion Point, as I thought the photography there would be better. I found Marion Point empty, but had to spend some time breaking up the dried, lumpy mud that made up the only level spot. It was worth it, I spent some time exploring the point, stumbling across an amazing nest condo that I think was made by some kind of swallow. Camp improvement, dinner, sunset, another perfect day.
Day Four - 6 Miles
Up at 5 like always, on the trail by 6:30, this time meeting two Hayduke Trail guys who had already logged over 500 miles. It did not sound like my thing, with all the road walking, but total respect for the dedication.
Realizing it was almost over, I slowed down even more and tried to take everything in - it's easy to spend all your time watching your step or trekking pole placement that you miss where you are.
I reached the rim and looked back, this time the air was still and peaceful. There's something about the Canyon's ability to shift from howling winds to dead silence so completely. One moment you're thinking how inhospitable a place it is, the next you're dumbfounded by soundless cinemascope. Man, I love this place.
I felt relieved that my knees had been fine, and I was filled with incredible gratitude to have one more chance to live a chapter in the Canyon's Big Book. I opened my Trappistes Rochefort, reclined in the Gravity Lounger I had stashed in my truck, and felt a tinge of excitement about how much weight I would save on my next tent.
Meteorology
Meteorology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Belt of Venus
_____________________
The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar.
It was tense.
Apr 25 2021
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 Guides 33
 Routes 78
 Photos 1,293
 Triplogs 199

37 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2021
jacobemerickTriplogs 199
Hiking27.71 Miles 7,187 AEG
Hiking27.71 Miles   15 Hrs   1 Min   2.13 mph
7,187 ft AEG   2 Hrs   1 Min Break
 
1st trip
Salida Gulch Trail #95 - Bradshaw ...
Salida Gulch Trail #95 - Bradshaw Mountains - Prescott Arizona
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Drove up on Saturday and setup camp near the trailhead. Winds were v annoying, and even though I was able to keep my setup (bag & pad on cot) from blowing away with bungee cords, it was not a restful night of sleep. Got up and hit the trail at 4AM.

Hauling up the Saddle Mountain portion was nerve-wracking, with strong winds clattering the burned branches in the darkness. Forgot to pack some gear (like my trekking poles) and I already missed them on the steady uphill with my water-heavy pack. Trail is easy to follow, even through the wash, and the few deadfall are easy to navigate. Some snow on the upper cliffs tucked away in the shade, none near the path.

Supai Traverse was beautiful in the waking day and all-the-more treacherous with the winds. Seriously, I had to brace myself and hug rocks and even drop to a knee numerous times, those gusts with that exposure was terrifying. Trekking poles would have been v helpful. The drop past Tilted Mesa, with the loose gravel and slanted paths, was mentally exhausting, and I was very grateful when I finally reached the little flat before the creek. Chatted briefly with a group of 5-6 campers, sharing some weather intel (it was even windier down here last night), and then sped down the creek, anxious about my return trip.

Trail was difficult to follow along Nankoweap Creek, though it doesn't matter much. Just follow the water. Creek flowed all the way to the Colorado, and I went too, pulling a liter (very easy to filter, not as silty as I feared) before heading up to the graneries just as a boat group was hiking down. Lunch, rest, and time to head back.

Returning up the creek was easy enough, and I filtered to full capacity before starting the real climb. Felt nauseous (also forgot my usual nuun tablets and was using mio energy to supplement the water intake, which was too sweet for me and didn't settle well with my plethora of salty / sugary snacks). The hike up was slow, and I had to stop a bunch of times to keep from puking or brace against the wind, which did not let up all day. Finally reached the saddle and tumbled down the other side, finishing up with the sunset.

Saw two groups of backpackers (one at the creek, another one along the hike out) and boaters. Ignoring the winds and gear mistakes, this is an absolutely gorgeous and quiet trail, and I'm already scheming a return trip with a few side ventures.
Named place
Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Grand Canyon National Park

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Lower Nankoweap Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Didn't see the exact spring, but the creek is flowing all the way to the river.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Nankoweap Creek Light flow Light flow
Good flow all the way to river, plenty of options to filter from along the trail.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Nankoweap Creek Trail Junction Light flow Light flow
Creek is flowing at junction. Also, clean water dripping from the banks, and a group of backpackers was drinking directly from the seep w/o filtering.
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Apr 24 2021
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 Guides 29
 Routes 329
 Photos 9,686
 Triplogs 920

40 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Marion PointNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 24 2021
FOTGTriplogs 920
Hiking12.30 Miles 3,462 AEG
Hiking12.30 Miles
3,462 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
We spent the weekend exploring the lower elevations of the Saddle Mountain Wilderness. On Saturday, I made a quick detour into the National Park to summit Marion Point while Katie waited with the dogs on the rim.

The hike out to the rim was nearly perfect for conditions, cool temps, breezy and cloudy. The climb to the rim was as strenuous as I had remembered, even with a lighter pack, but we still made pretty good time to the rim. The dogs enjoyed the cooler temps on the hike in and the dramatic clouds made for some nice scenery. We found a scenic spot for Katie to hang a hammock and take an extended break with the pups and then I took off for Marion Point.

I left the trail At 1.5 miles at the unmistakable Marion Point campsite. From there, stay high on the ridge line until its obvious end; traverse west of the small pinnacles at the beginning of the off trail approach. From the end of the ridgeline, pick your way along some obvious breaks in the crumbly cliff bands until you reach the narrow neck that connects Marion Point to the ¨rim¨ of the Grand Canyon. An obvious gully and some light scrambling will get you through the neck and up and going on the long ridge of Marion Point. I stayed as high as I could along the spine of Marion Point as I made my way out along the jutting summit. The narrow neck visible on the approach is not as narrow as it looks, but it’s still a fun aspect of the summit approach. There is some pretty decent exposure to the west if you stick high to the ridge on your approach, use caution. I did not spend much time on the summit proper and turned around after a quick sign of the register. Exiting Marion and reaching the main trail seemed to go even smoother on the return. I got back to Katie and the dogs after just over 3 hours and 30 minutes. After a long break and some relaxing in the hammock we hiked back the way we hiked in.

A great summit with a moderate approach and terrific scenery along the way. The off trail portion was engaging and fun and the route finding generally straightforward. The howling winds on Saturday added a little spice to the approach and return. This was my 40th Grand Canyon Summit.
Named place
Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Marion Point Mount Hayden
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Apr 18 2021
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 Guides 4
 Photos 2,275
 Triplogs 128

male
 Joined Jan 16 2004
 Chandler, AZ
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 18 2021
AZOutdoorsmanTriplogs 128
Hiking27.61 Miles 8,432 AEG
Hiking27.61 Miles   15 Hrs   13 Mns   2.21 mph
8,432 ft AEG   2 Hrs   42 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
The big day-hike had arrived!

Saturday: After driving up from the valley, we spent the night at the Triple Alcoves TH and went out to its rim. Easy/smooth trail to the rim, where you can easily move up and down the rim for various views. Definitely worth hitting while in the area and the camping is better than the Nako TH and less that 10 minutes away.

Sunday: Started the hike at 5:43 (just before sunrise). Truck read 31 degrees at TH with little to no breeze. Started with 1.5L in the bladder and 2 liter bottles to cache. We moved quickly up to the saddle (caching a liter each there), and then the long traverse over to the top of the shoulder that heads down to Nanko creek (caching another litter each here at the top).

With the light day hiking weight, the downhill went smoothly. After entering the creek section we stopped to filter water for the trip to the river/granary and back to same spot. Down the creek making quick decisions as to the "best" route of the many presented.

Arrived at the river at 11:29 (just under 6 hours from the start and within 10 minutes of projected time). Hung out shoeless at the beautiful "emerald beach" and had lunch - temps low 70s. Then headed up to the granary! What an awesome experience and the lighting/clouds down canyon were pretty good for the middle of the day. Spent some time here taking photos and then headed down and back up the creek to our same filter spot. Another 1.5L for the bladder plus the 2 2L caches for the hike out.

At this point we were slightly behind my projected times (which I thought were on the padded side). Then within the first mile of the steep up I knew I was not right - I just didn't have the energy that I normally do. It was slow going with a fair amount of stopping/resting (increasing the rest time well above projections).

Once on the traverse, I was picking up a little speed, but still not right and resting. Looks like it will be after dark when we get out - which I was hoping we would get out before dark (based on time only - no issue with hiking in the dark). Made it back to the TH at 9:06 (my projection was 7:30).

Back at camp, no hot meal or celebratory beer - instead a sponge-bath, bowl of cereal and hit the bag.

Mon: Drive back to Chandler. In bed by 7:30 and up on Tuesday at 7:00 - yes, 11.5 hrs of sleep! Felt great at work on Tuesday, back to normal.

My buddy that went with me is an Ultra Trail-Runner, so he had no issues and could have gone 2-3x faster if he weren't hanging with me. While I was a little disappointed with my speed/time, it was a GREAT hike and I had an amazing time! Next month is North Bass and hopefully a less than 15hr day - but I promise you I will have an incredible day in THE Canyon either way!
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Apr 15 2021
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 Routes 1
 Photos 11
 Triplogs 1

60 male
 Joined Jul 07 2013
 Boulder, CO
Butte Fault Loop, AZ 
Butte Fault Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Apr 15 2021
pbakwinTriplogs 1
Backpack86.70 Miles 28,282 AEG
Backpack86.70 Miles5 Days         
28,282 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Disclaimer: This is not a very good route, and I do not recommend it. It is of course incredibly scenic and geologically (and historically) fascinating, but there are long sections of unpleasant hiking due scratchy brush and lots of loose, sharp rocks. I like hiking off trail as much as the next guy, and have done a lot of it in the desert and elsewhere, but this is non-terrific. IMO, this route if for Grand Canyon aficionados only. Also, there are long distances between reliable water sources. Buzz & I are strong, experienced hikers, and were able to camp at water every night. Others may have to dry camp at times. As always, YMMV.

The GPS track to this trip is attached. It is also available here: https://caltopo.com/m/78G3
These are from Buzz's Strava https://www.strava.com/athletes/184882, edited somewhat to remove GPS errors and such. You can also view more photos on there.

I read whatever trip reports I could find for this route and studied it carefully to come up with a track to load into Gaia on my phone. This turned out pretty well. We did find some of the route descriptions to be confusing and sometimes just wrong. So maybe our GPS track will help future hikers.

April is the best time to do this hike due to good weather, long days, and not too much snow on the North Rim. Unfortunately, the North Rim is mostly inaccessible in April. We simply added a bit of on-trail hiking by starting at the South Rim and making a lollipop loop. There are certainly other, shorter ways to do this, such as by starting at the Nankoweep TH and ending on the South Rim, which of course would require a shuttle. We figured a little extra hiking was simpler than dealing with logistics.

We didn’t want to camp on the North Rim, which would have been at least 15 degrees colder than anywhere else on the route, so we took a short first day and hiked the South and North Kaibab trails ~14 miles to Cottonwood CG.

Leaving camp at 6am on Day 2 was the last time we saw any people for over 3 full days. We decided to go up the Old Bright Angel trail, since neither of us had done it, and it seemed more in character with the route we were doing. Though easy to follow, Old BA is very overgrown in many sections and kind of a thrash. Buzz commented that in 5 years it will no longer be a viable route due to the brush. Though I think ~ 3 miles shorter I believe it took longer to go this way than just following the main trail. There was some post-holing on the Ken Patrick Trail, and we just did a short bush-whack up to the main paved road on the North Rim. Hiking on the closed paved road was of course fast and pleasant. We were relying on finding water at Neal Spring, which is on the USGS map, but it turns out the spring does not exist in real life. Which left us facing a very long stretch with no water, since we had not carried extra water up from Bright Angel Creek. Fortunately the weather was very cool (40s) and we found patches of snow that we could eat to sustain us passably well. Going down Nankoweep Trail the ephemeral spring near Marion Point was bone dry. Having made a really dumb route finding error earlier in the day which cost us over 90 minutes, we finally reached Nankoweep Creek ~ 90 minutes after dark. About 24 miles for the day, mostly on trail.

On Day 3 we hiked ~16 miles (all off trail) to upper Lava Creek. The only water between Nanko and Lava was in Kwagunt Creek. We carried plenty out of Kwagunt, but the day was cool enough and we didn’t have a problem. Route finding is easy – you’re just following along the obvious fault – and there were no technical difficulties. There don’t seem to be great (or any) established camp sites in upper Lava, but we found a very reasonable spot.

The hike from Lava Creek to Juno Saddle is definitely the technical crux of this route. It is brushy, steep, loose and I’d say dangerous. We started by heading up Lava Creek past the source spring. There is a large Tapeats abutment on the south side of the Lava Creek. We went just past the abutment and found an easy (though very brushy & steep) route up through the Tapeats. From there we continued up a bit and then descended into the main creek just below the junction of the 2 major arms of this drainage. We then turned up the (hiker) left drainage. Everyone says don’t miss this drainage, but it is obvious. The trouble begins after this point. You are not going all the way to the head of this drainage. Instead, at some point you will turn right and head up the slope out of the drainage, which is very steep, loose and overgrown. We turned out of the drainage at around 5200’, heading for the right side of an obvious tower (which turns out to be more of a fin). This was a lousy route, but I don’t know if there is a better one. About 100 vertical feet lower than where we left the drainage there is an obvious chute entering from the right. I would think that would be a better route, but since the route description we were following didn’t say “take the obvious chute at 5100 feet” we didn’t go that way. Anyway, we just kept thrashing our way up and eventually found ourselves on top of the Redwall and had an easier walk over to the saddle at 6012’. Descending Unkar was straightforward. At 4700’ there’s a cairn marking where you have to exit the drainage hiker left to bypass a dryfall. Going up the southwest arm of Unkar you will bypass a similar dryfall by climbing out of the drainage hiker left. The ascent up this arm of Unkar is straightforward with a lot of boulder hopping/scrambling but no route finding issues. The descent from the Redwall saddle into Vishnu is also obvious. Just head down (steep & loose!) into the drainage. After several hundred vertical feet you will encounter a huge dryfall, and you can scoot out right on Muav benches for a ways until you can find an extremely loose and annoying (SHARP rocks!) descent into the north arm of Vishnu. Just awful but mercifully short. From there we walked down Vishnu, through the lovely narrows to a nice campsite at a huge undercut just after the small, steep side drainage where you want to leave Vishnu for the next section. There was water at this spot, but it was relatively stagnant. Our Day 3 was about 12 miles, and we arrived at camp pretty early.

We got up early anticipating a long last day. There was a little scramble leaving Vishnu via the side drainage just above the undercut camp spot. Following the drainage up, then aim to go pretty far left to get around the Muav layer. You can try to find a more direct route through, but probably like us you will just wish you had headed left in the first place. From above the Muav just angle right to an obvious break in the Redwall (which seems to be a fault) just north of Hall Butte. From the saddle you follow the top of the Redwall layer mostly north for quite a long way (2 miles?) There are vague signs of past use. The climb down through the Redwall from the saddle between Angels Gate and Wotans Throne is the steepest, most exposed climbing we encountered, but the rock is relatively solid. Continuing down the drainage toward the east arm of Clear Creek, you must leave the drainage (heading west) just above a huge dryfall in the Tapeats layer and after a short way find a use trail down into the drainage, where you will encounter running water. I think it may have taken us 6 hours to hike the 7 miles from Vishnu to Clear Creek CG. From there we just motored out, happy to be on excellent trails finally. Capping a ~23 mile day, we reached the South Kaibab TH at 7:30pm, just before headlamps would have been needed, and just in time for the last shuttle bus.
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Apr 10 2021
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 Guides 8
 Routes 12
 Photos 1,313
 Triplogs 490

57 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Jackson, CA
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 10 2021
toddakTriplogs 490
Hiking29.50 Miles 8,000 AEG
Hiking29.50 Miles   15 Hrs      1.97 mph
8,000 ft AEG
 no routes
Getting overnight permits months in advance never seems to work out, so monster day hike it is!

Crack 'o dawn start up to the saddle, then a side trip up Saddle Mountain on a steep but mostly thrash-free route. Then back to the saddle for the looonng traverse and then the steeeep, looooose drop down to Nanko Creek. Seemed like relatively low creek flow and pretty warm but still refreshing. Enjoyed the granaries and the 5-star downstream view all to myself, not a single raft in sight. Then a late afternoon slog back up the hill and well into the darkness to finish.
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Mar 16 2021
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 Guides 4
 Routes 395
 Photos 9,008
 Triplogs 1,068

52 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Nankoweap - Kwagunt Loop GC, AZ 
Nankoweap - Kwagunt Loop GC, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 16 2021
BiFrostTriplogs 1,068
Backpack41.91 Miles 9,179 AEG
Backpack41.91 Miles4 Days         
9,179 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
John9L
Made the drive up the night before staying in the area and arrived at Saddle Mountain Trailhead around 830 the next morning. John was able to snag the permit and put the itinerary together. There was couple inches of snow before dropping into the canyon. Otherwise straight forward hike into Nankoweap Creek and all the way to the river on Day 1 about 13 miles. Found a good camp in some trees along the sandy river bank. Lots of boaters at the other camps nearby and we talked to them several times while in the area. One group even offered us some breakfast after we returned from checking out the granaries. Of course, that hike from camp to granaries was great although the sun was problematic for pictures in the morning light.

After the hike we returned to camp and grabbed our packs to continue hiking down river towards Kwagunt Creek. It also just so happened that there was maintenance on the dam at this time so they dropped the flow to 4,000 cfs from the normal 10 to 12,000 cfs. The result was a river about 6 feet below normal exposing all the shoreline and rocks. There is a trail/route that follows the river but I decided to hike on the river banks since they were exposed and who knows when this chance would happen again. It also gave me the opportunity to chat with boaters as they floated by. Unfortunately for them with the low water it was tough slow going. John mostly followed the route so we eventually linked back up at Kwagung Creek. After a break we headed up canyon which was dry at first but within about ½ mile we started to see water. The water continued to flow nicely all the way to second nights camp. Got everything setup and had a nice relaxing night with no other people in sight.

Next morning our goal was to pack up and ascend the Butte Fault route to the saddle below Nankoweap Butte. The route just follows the drainage up and along the massive rocky fault block that defines the route. Very cool to see and hike as we ascended to the saddle about 1400 feet. At the saddle we ran into two backpackers that there were going the opposite direction. They had a very ambitious trip going from Nankoweap all the way to Phantom Ranch. Since I had been in some of those areas doing other hikes we discussed the map and I gave him info on the areas I knew. After that we dropped packs and hiked up Nankoweap Butte. Not too difficult from the saddle and the summit had a nice rocky block for great 360 views to enjoy a decent break. Then it was back down to the saddle and grabbed the backpacks to descend back into Nankoweap Creek. The route basically follows the same pattern of hiking along the fault block most of the way down. At the bottom there was a pour off that we hiked around and then hit Nankoweap and found a nice camp on the creek. We got to camp a bit early so we just enjoyed the creek and I went upstream about 1 mile to check out the area. Another kick back night at camp!

Next morning we just had to hike out to the trailhead. Ran into a couple backpackers heading in so we talked for a few minutes. Then continued the grind up the trail which even uphill is still a lot of fun. Especially fun is the traverse section that provides non stop great views along the supai layer. Eventually made it to the saddle and still some snow patches left over from the hike in. Back at the trailhead another great trip in the canyon wrapped up!

dry Kwagunt Canyon Dry Dry
the creek was dry at the river but up canyon about 1/2 mile there was light to medium flow in the creek

dry Kwagunt Creek Dry Dry
at the river the creek was dry but about 1/2 mile up canyon there was light to medium flow with good water

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Lower Nankoweap Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
plenty of water flowing in the creek

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Middle Nankoweap Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
the creek was flowing but the spring was also dripping out of rocks and vegetation next to the creek

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Nankoweap Creek Trail Junction Medium flow Medium flow
at the junction there was good flow and nice clear water
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Mar 16 2021
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 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,442
 Triplogs 1,640

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Mar 16 2021
John9LTriplogs 1,640
Backpack41.00 Miles 11,500 AEG
Backpack41.00 Miles4 Days         
11,500 ft AEG
 
It’s been 7.5 years since my first visit to Nankoweap so I was due for a return. I scored the permit & after some back and forth Karl was able to join me. We had a flexible plan and would decide things as we go. Our primary goal was to explore the northern end of the Butte Fault Route with a quick summit of Nankoweap Butte. We also wanted to find Mystic Falls but decided to hold off for another time. And right before the trip we found out there was a low flow event so maintenance could be done on the Glen Canyon Dam. The low river could be interesting. Here is my day to day triplog for the adventure.

March 15 – Monday
We originally planned on car camping at the Nankoweap Trailhead but decided to change that plan because cold temps & snow were in the forecast. We stayed at the Marble Canyon Lodge and this worked well. We left around mid-afternoon and took our time driving up there. We made a quick stop at Lee’s Ferry as dusk set in. From there we headed to hotel and got situated for our trip.

March 16 – Tuesday
We left the hotel around 7am and headed for the trailhead that involves driving 27 miles of dirt down FR8910. This went very well as they recently graded the road. You can drive a car to the trailhead. The last few miles had fresh snow but it wasn’t an issue. Once we arrived at the trailhead we finalized our gear and signed the register and then headed in.

The trail starts with a healthy climb of 3+ miles as you head for the pass off Saddle Mountain. The area was blanketed in about two inches of fresh snow and this made the hiking enjoyable. About halfway up this section we encountered two backpackers on their way out. We talked about conditions and continued in. Having their footprints to follow removed any guesswork and we arrived at the saddle a few minutes later. The skies were ominous and the Grand Canyon had fresh snow in the top thousand feet or so. It was very dramatic.

From there we start the long traverse through the Supai. At roughly four miles, it’s the longest trail traverse in the Grand Canyon. We set a steady pace as we wrapped around and went further in. We passed Marion Point and then made quick work of the boulder obstacle. You have to slide past a large boulder protruding from the wall. There’s some exposure but it’s fairly easy. After that we continued in and eventually arrived at the top of the Tilted Mesa where we took a break. The hike down from the mesa is a long grind with many loose & off camber spots. We carefully went down and enjoyed the views. Once at the creek we took an extended break in the campsite we stayed at 7.5 years ago. While there two backpackers hiked up from the river and were glad to hear we were not camping there. They spent a night at the river and were camping here and then heading out the next day. We had nice conversation with them and then cruised the last 3+ miles to the river.

Once at the river we crossed the delta and headed south to find a campsite. There was one rafting party and we chatted it up with them. They said the low flow was making running the river difficult. They had to carefully choose a line and did their best to avoid running ground. They recommended continuing south to the next campsite. We did and found it vacant so we set up camp. We spent the rest of the evening setting up camp and doing camp chores and enjoying the general area. Karl set up his lights and we settled in for the evening.

March 17 – Wednesday
We started our second day off with a trip to the granaries overlooking the river. I forgot how much you have to climb to them. They are way up there but it’s worth the effort. It’s one of the best views in the Grand Canyon. While there we talked to some rafters and they offered us beer back at their camp. So Karl & I headed down and I turned into a social butterfly. We chatted it up with their group and we asked for a ride to Lava but they were only going ten miles. Lava is a lot farther. They gave us a couple of beers and we headed back to camp and packed up and started down the river.

We were headed for Kwagunt Canyon and the going is relatively slow. We tried following the use trail but it’s in poor condition so we headed to the sand bar along the river. This was better but were limited in length. I would go back & forth between the river & the trail up high. Karl stayed on the river and fought his way down canyon. With much effort we arrived at Kwagunt Canyon and filtered water from the river. Kwagunt was dry at the river and this gave us some anxiety so we got extra water. We started the hike up and the water started flowing about a half mile up canyon. It’s about three miles to a basin and we searched for a while until we found a nice campsite on the left bank. We would settle in for the night.

March 18 – Thursday
Our day three started slowly. We had breakfast and then packed up and headed north. Our plan was to cross the Butte Fault Route and summit Nankoweap Butte and then drop back into Nankoweap Creek where we would camp. We opted to follow a drainage and this worked well. There was some scrambling that took some effort but we made good time. We both really enjoyed this section. With much effort we topped out on the pass and we saw two backpackers that we stopped and chatted with for a while. They were heading to Phantom Ranch and reviewed their route with us. Karl gave them some beta from a previous trip.

After our break we dropped our overnight packs and headed for Nankoweap Butte. The going is steep but relatively straightforward as you head for the butte. Once up top Karl enjoyed a summit beer and we soaked in the views. You could see for miles in all directions. From there we returned to our packs and then headed down the north side of the pass. Being off trail in the Grand Canyon is so liberating. We chose the path of least resistance and enjoyed the hike down. At one point we left the wash to avoid a steep pour off. It looked difficult with a full backpack on. The route around went well and a few minutes later we arrived to Nankoweap Creek and found a solid campsite with shade and plenty of room for tents. We would set up camp and then enjoyed the afternoon under a Cottonwood Tree next to the creek. The relaxing afternoon was really nice. Before long evening set in and we enjoyed our final night in the Canyon.

March 19 – Friday
Our last day started fairly early as we packed up and filtered water. We were on trail around 8:30am and started the long hike out. The climb up the Tilted Mesa is a grind that wore us down. It’s very steep and the footing is loose in places. We took a break on top and then started the long traverse. The trail wraps around through the Supai and this goes on for a long time. We took our time as we made our return. We passed Marion Point and then topped out on the Saddle where we took another break. From there it’s fairly easy going as we returned to the trailhead. We would head over to Triple Alcove where we car camped & then headed back to the Phoenix the next day.

It was another memorable trip to the Grand Canyon! Our short stretch along the Butte Fault Route left us thirsting for more. We’d love to hike the full length of it. A return trip is a must! Thanks Karl for going with and thanks for driving!
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2 archives
Sep 01 2019
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 Guides 84
 Routes 694
 Photos 17,480
 Triplogs 1,703

49 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Saddle Mountain 8424Northwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 01 2019
chumleyTriplogs 1,703
Hiking7.00 Miles 2,851 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles   4 Hrs   58 Mns   1.57 mph
2,851 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
After camping just down the road from the trailhead, I was able to get on the trail at 7am. I've previously hiked to Nankoweap from the lower #57 trailhead, but never from the upper trailhead. I can say without question that the upper half is significantly more difficult than the lower half. I kept thinking to myself that I would hate to descend this trail with a full pack at the start of a multiday trip to the river. It would be no more fun on the way out!

So I was glad to be doing this one as a day hike, and made my way to the saddle relatively quickly. From there, I was a little bit surprised at the lack of any sign of a route up Saddle Mtn. Not even a single cairn! Maybe I should have read a triplog first? I fought through brush and tried to stay in the shade created by the towering cliffs above for as long as possible. It was steep, overgrown, scree, boulders, deadfall, and prickly. Despite the elevation, the sun was hot, and I'm out of hiking shape so it was an exhausting climb.

Eventually I prevailed, found the BobP-approved summit cairn, the benchmark, and the register. A remote off-trail peak like this doesn't usually have the names of four people I have actually met before, but this one did. Even so there was only one other group visit this year, and generally not more than 2-3 annually.

There were numerous signs of recent mountain lion activity, so I was a little surprised that I didn't spook it out of hiding at some point. I'm sure it kept an eye on me from somewhere!

Getting down to the saddle was slow going due to the steep grade, but was much less effort than the climb had been. Of course from the saddle, it's still a big climb back up to the trailhead, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pretty beat up by the time I finished. I was happy to hydrate with some cold gatorade and drive toward my lazy follow-up hike.
Culture
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1 archive
Apr 28 2018
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 Guides 29
 Routes 329
 Photos 9,686
 Triplogs 920

40 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 28 2018
FOTGTriplogs 920
Backpack43.50 Miles 13,700 AEG
Backpack43.50 Miles3 Days         
13,700 ft AEG
 
1st trip
I have been wanting to do this one for a long time and it did not disappoint! Not only did it exceed my expectations, but it proved to be a perfect backpack to signal an end to the Grand Canyon backpacking season as well as a great way to honor my father’s birthday with something a little more special, which has been a tradition of mine for several years now.

The rough itinerary for this one included two days at Nankoweap Creek, the Granaries, a semi ambitious off trail loop incorporating Kwagunt Creek and a summit of Nankoweap Butte. We arrived late to the trailhead on Friday night, so we were not able to drag ourselves away from the air mattresses as early as we wanted and started around 7 a.m.

The hike down to Nankoweap Creek was the best of times and the worst of times. We both noted being a little fatigued and groggy for the 3 ish mile section to the saddle and point where you drop off the rim. From there, we both agreed the trail was not nearly as aggressive as we had thought it might be, but nevertheless we were both very happy the never ending traverse through the Supai was over. Then it was the steep hot descent to the creek. I am sure it could not have been more than 80 degrees, but that descent felt warm. In fact, it hit C.J. pretty hard at times and she experienced a little lightheadedness on the way down, which reaffirmed my decision that this was most likely our last major hike into the Canyon until fall. As one would expect, it was a great sense of relief for us when we finally hit Nankoweap Creek. However, instead of setting up camp, we took an extended break and decided to head for the much cooler water of the Colorado River, as neither one of us were much for the thought of sitting around at camp for six hours, while waiting for the sun to go down.

The hike down Nankoweap Creek was excellent and although fatigued, we both appreciated the pleasant creek and canyon. There are definitely more scenic creeks in the Grand Canyon, but Nankoweap certainly holds it own in my opinion. Once at the Colorado, it was a quick trip up to the granaries and then a dash to the river for cold water to filter and a quick dip. We found a decent little campsite near the beaches, but away from the blowing sand, made camp, ate dinner and got to bed pretty early. Speaking of dinner, there is nothing you can do this time of year in the Canyon to prevent a Reese from melting.

Day two was the big day for us. The plan was to hike along the Colorado River to Kwagunt Creek, where we would then hike up stream to the general area of the beginning of Butte Fault Route, which we would then take up to Nankoweap Butte and down the other side to Nankoweap Creek and back down stream to the Colorado and our campsite. The Colorado River portion of the hike was simply stunning, cool temperatures and some great morning light. Likewise, the route resembles a well defined trail more than an off trail canyon route, so the pace was relatively quick and the hiking pretty easy. This section of the Colorado may be one of my new favorite sections of river in the park. Kwagunt Creek was a gem in its own right, with tons of quaint cascades, fun geology and generally easy travel. But soon it was time for the climb to Nankoweap Butte and the toughest part of our day. I ended up opting for a route straight up the most predominant ridgeline in the area vs the drainage I had originally drawn a route to the summit from. I think the ridgeline we took may have been the actual geological feature described as the Fault Butte, but I am honestly not sure and need to do some additional research to find out. Either way, it was a very cool geological journey along that ridgeline to the saddle below Nankoweap Butte. Although, I am not sure if the ridgeline is the traditional Butte Fault Route. Despite seeming very close, the final climb tested us a little and gave our calves a wake up call. The summit was terrific and although probably not on par with some of the other ones I have done. However, I still found it rewarding and worth the effort. From the summit, it was the moon dust shuffle down to Nankoweap Creek, where we ran into some guys backpacking the Hayduke Tail, we chatted for a moment and then continued on our way back to camp. Once back at camp, we hopped in the Colorado to cool off and filter some water. Then it was breaking camp and heading back up Nankoweap Creek to the nice campsite we had taken a break at on the way in.

It was extremely windy all night, which prompted a tent relocation due to an arguably irrational fear that a suspect cottonwood in the area might come down on us. The wind made it tough to sleep, which made our early morning start on Monday a little tougher, but alas this is the backpacking life.

We left camp at six on the dot and although it was a slog at times and our muscles ached a little, we were back at the trailhead by noon.

Final Notes

This was a very satisfying little backpack. I remember reading triplogs about the granaries with a lot of envy years ago on HAZ, but at the time it was probably a little out of my league, but it remained in the back of my mind for a long time and I am glad I was able to finally knock it out, along with some additional off trail travel and a new summit, without using someone else's downloaded route. Speaking of route, one of the goals of this trip was to get a little taste of the Butte Fault Route for a perhaps a big trek towards Phantom Ranch from Nankoweap one day. I would by no means say I have it nailed down now, but I do believe I spotted the route to Melgosa Pass, which would be the next step in progressing along the rugged off trail route, so its a start. Also the route numbers are estimated, but I feel most likely pretty accurate. Its tough to get decent GPS routes in those canyons and there was too much spaghetti to clean up for my patience and I still kind of suck at route manager, so no posted route. However, I think I may be able to clean up the day two loop we did and will probably post that and attach it to this triplog one day. Finally, April 30 is always a special date and weekend for me and it’s been important for me to do something a little more special to honor my dad and this little trek certainly satisfied that. I really would give up every ounce of success and personal belonging I own for just five more minutes with the guy.

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3 archives
Apr 15 2018
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 Guides 29
 Routes 329
 Photos 9,686
 Triplogs 920

40 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Saddle Mountain 8424Northwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 15 2018
FOTGTriplogs 920
Hiking9.10 Miles 2,944 AEG
Hiking9.10 Miles   4 Hrs   57 Mns   1.96 mph
2,944 ft AEG      19 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
After South Canyon, it was a great night of car camping on the Kaibab Plateau and then Nankoweap Trail and a summit of Saddle Mountain on Sunday.

We both enjoyed the short but sweet section of Nankoweap Trail. We found it to be scenic and a unique way to reach the Grand Canyon from our prior experiences and were pleased with a pretty modest glyph find along the way. Once at the saddle, we began the off trail portion to the summit of Saddle Mountain. We took what most off trail hikers with any route finding sense would consider a pretty obvious route to a pretty obvious little break on Saddle Mountain's western slope. There was a little bushwhacking along the way and it was pretty steep, however, overall we both agreed it was not that bad and it looked far worse from a distance. Once on top, we were greeted to some amazing views into the canyon and some dramatic drops. The snow capped peaks were visible in the distance and Tilted Mesa was easily identifiable, along with a few other landmarks that we will be getting a much closer look at when we backpack to the Colorado River from Nankoweap Trail in a couple of weeks. The route to the summit went smoothly and was pretty nice by most off trail standards. The summit had a very large cairn marking it and a pretty busy log in for a peak that did not have that well worn of a use trail going to it. We found a nice spot for lunch overlooking Marble Canyon and the Vermillion Cliffs in the distance and then headed back the way we came.

Final Notes

Route Scout was having a bad weekend and straight lined a portion of our trail, so I estimated the minor SNAFU, however, the route to and from the summit are the actual tracks and would be a good reference for anyone completing a summit from Nankoweap Saddle. This was my tenth Grand Canyon high point and although it did not have the same feel as some of the others, it feels nice to finally get in the double digits!
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4 archives
Sep 29 2014
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 Photos 159
 Triplogs 6

66 male
 Joined Oct 04 2011
 scottsdale,az
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 29 2014
quadmanTriplogs 6
Hiking14.00 Miles 3,757 AEG
Hiking14.00 Miles
3,757 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This was our first hike out on the Nankoweap trail. Started at the Point Imperial trailhead in the snow and 34 degrees! Almost 3 miles later with the snow gone picked up trail Nankoweap #57. I thought this trail would just drop down into the Nankoweap trail, which it did, but to my surprise the was much elevation gain and loss. Once on the Nankoweap trail we hiked down the 'shute" and began our traverse across the narrow and exposed trail. Ran into a Ranger about halfway out to Marion point who had camped the previous night at Marion Point. About 5 minutes later ran into 2 guys who spent 4 days on the trail and 2 of those days down by the river. Our goal was to hike out to Tilted Mesa, but when we got to the Marion Point camp area took a short break and headed back. Would have love to have made it out to Tilted Mesa but just ran out time. This was great hike and would do it again.

I was concerned about the exposure (previous trip logs and pics) on the Nankoweap trail, but was really ok with it. I had to just remain focused on the trail going across the traverse. I guess the real pressure was meeting Chumley and 9L at the rough rider saloon(North Rim)and promising to post my 1st triplog at 9L's request!
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Sep 28 2014
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 Routes 29
 Photos 1,548
 Triplogs 1,802

46 male
 Joined Jan 25 2009
 Phoenix, AZ
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 28 2014
Dave1Triplogs 1,802
Hiking31.00 Miles 8,500 AEG
Hiking31.00 Miles   13 Hrs   25 Mns   2.55 mph
8,500 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Started from Point Imperial. Cold and windy at the top. The first section of trail was wet from the previous day's rain. Walking through the tall grass and vegetation made my pants and sneakers wet. No bueno.
The trail is interesting and easy to follow but I didn't find anything scary. Once I got down to Nank Creek, there was no trail and I had to boulder hop and jump the creek many times to get to the bottom. Checked out the granaries and then headed back up. Ran into Ranger Foss, the same ranger Joe and I met out near Pasture Wash a few weeks ago. He started on Tuesday and was to come out on Monday. That's a long time down there!
Got sprinkled on a few times on the way out. Luckily the predicted t-storms never happened. Finished in the dark. Cold and windy again on top. Brought 6 liters, cached 3 on the way down, drank 4 total.
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Sep 21 2013
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 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,442
 Triplogs 1,640

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 21 2013
John9LTriplogs 1,640
Backpack28.75 Miles 8,888 AEG
Backpack28.75 Miles3 Days         
8,888 ft AEG
 
Partners partners
BiFrost
BobP
chumley
squatpuke
Tough_Boots
Our Nankoweap trip started on Saturday morning. The six of us drove up the day before and car camped at the trailhead. The road in is a little rough especially the last few miles. Anyways we all staggered off at separate times and made the hike up to the Saddle Mountain overlook. This part of the hike is 3 miles and you gain a solid 1,500 feet. Along the way we passed at least six backpackers on their way out. We didn’t see any other backpackers until our exit two days later.

From the saddle you drop down through the Esplanade and start the long traverse through the Supai. The going is relatively easy with minimal gain and descent. We passed Marion Point and dropped some water. We continued and started the descent toward Tilted Mesa. The views are just spectacular! The descent from Tilted Mesa really gets the heart rate up. It’s steep and loose. I kept thinking no way there is a trail down this. There was and I was careful every step of the way. Eventually things level off and we made the final push to Nankoweap Creek.

Once at the creek we selected a campsite that was nestled in some Cottonwood Trees. This will be our home for the next two days. After getting set up I was hit with exhaustion and took a very enjoyable nap. Evening set in and we had some fun conversation and then turned in for the night. It was a warm evening and I don’t think anyone slept inside their sleeping bag. I was comfy in my Bivy.

On day two we all made the three mile hike to the river. The going is very easy and very scenic. Nankoweap Creek is beautiful! After an hour we reached the river delta and we all split up as we explored the general area which is huge! Eventually we saw the first set of rafters and made our way to their landing point. We successfully begged for beers and hung out with them for a few. Afterward a group of five of us, excluding Larry, made the hike up to the granaries. I was surprised at how high up they are. The granaries are spectacular! We took lots of pics and enjoyed a long break there. I could spend hours enjoying the views and the camaraderie. During our break another group of rafters landed and a third passed down the mighty Colorado. After successfully begging for more beers we returned to camp and settled in for the evening. The temps were cool and pleasant on day two.

We woke very early on day three and wanted to get a jump on the sun. I was the last to leave camp and carried five liters of water with me. I wasn’t taking any chances on the dry hike out. I would only drink 3+ liters. The hike up Tilted Mesa had me a little on edge after our descent down two days earlier. I felt great and cruised up. It was much easier and I felt way more comfortable on the ascent. We regrouped on the saddle and then Chumley and I started the traverse out the Supai. The going was fairly easy but there are a few spots that are a little unnerving. There are no “OH MY GOSH” obstacles along this hike. However cumulative they all add up to make for an anxiety filled day. We debated on if Nankoweap is more difficult than Boucher. I personally think it is however the others had a different opinion. We’ll need to continue the debate another time.

We reached the saddle and then Chumley and I made the final descent back to the vehicles at the trailhead. We had some celebratory beers as the others stumbled in. From there we returned to Flag for NiMarco’s and then back to Phoenix. This was such a memorable trip! I will definitely hike it again and could not recommend it enough!
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Sep 21 2013
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 Guides 2
 Routes 189
 Photos 4,214
 Triplogs 2,615

60 male
 Joined Feb 26 2008
 Scottsdale, AZ
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 21 2013
BobPTriplogs 2,615
Backpack30.49 Miles 8,963 AEG
Backpack30.49 Miles3 Days         
8,963 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
chumley
John9L
squatpuke
Tough_Boots
I wear my sunglasses at night and in the early morning moonlight. Its 2am and the beer isn’t gone but I am. When I wake up, its time to go, my bag was packed but I forgot the bacon from the cooler. :cry: Luckily, I remembered the beer. The hike over to the Nankoweap TH was an adventure with sunglasses and it being dark out. It took me about 2 hours and then I decided to take an hour and 45 minutes to have breakfast and explore before the trip into the abyss.

It was still a little dark as I was descending and I found myself off trail and in a decision making position. Do I climb back up or forge ahead? I forged and then headed back up.
From that point on, I pretty much stayed on trail. Right after Marion point, I ran into a big group of Ciara fans. They were such big fans they even formed a club. We spoke for a little while and they made generous offers for my beer but none good enough. The copter noise started between 8 and 830 am and was intermittent for the remaining miles. The last two miles dragged and I just wanted my chicken breast and Kiltlifters. Finally, Nanko creek was within reach. Cooled off in the creek and 45 minutes later, I was heading for Nanko Butte (separate triplog).

After the Butte, some guy yells at me and succeeded at scaring me but I played it cool. Picked up the pack and setup camp. My comrades were awesome and conversation flowed all over the place that night.

I was concerned about the river hike because I kept missing all the safety meetings. But we stayed together for most of the hike and then I peeled off and checked out a granary that Harvey had photographed (forgot all my pic mimic material) :x . The climb was the hardest bouldering problem ever for me and when I solved it was satisfying. :DANCE: The down climb was wicked scary and I started/stopped and took twice as long to down climb. But I figured it out and decided I’d never do it again although it was wicked cool.

The group was route finding thru the willow awesomeness :lol: and I was waiting on the beach as the rafters pulled in. The rafters updated me on the guys up river and eventually we were united as a group except for Sir Lawrence who was checking out the granaries before us.

Before leaving the area, I pictured what a lake here would have been like. Rumor has it that a land avalanche or rockslide dammed up the river and created a lake. They (the experts) think that this lake is what flooded Stanton’s Cave which is twenty miles upstream. The hike back was fine until I fell. If I had only gone to the safety meetings I thought to myself. 3 Days later there is still a dull pain. After dinner, I had a good beer (Thanks Karl) and then my first PBR in forever. Party lights rock :y:

The hike out was incredible. This time I put my contacts in and enjoyed the moonlight... the serious moonlight. Redwall on fire ….Coco glowing….Mauv was sparkling. Hit the cache and snacked up. Saddle Mountain mocked me as I slithered by. Lunch and beer and a shower were dominating my thoughts. A black tailed Jack hopped in front of me and then a cotton tail motored by.

Great trip…great group dynamic…Enjoyed meeting Kyle and getting to know the others a little better… no :pk: . Bill Murray has been in way more movies than we named and I want to know why no one told me Paul Newman died.
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Sep 21 2013
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 Guides 84
 Routes 694
 Photos 17,480
 Triplogs 1,703

49 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 21 2013
chumleyTriplogs 1,703
Backpack30.49 Miles 8,963 AEG
Backpack30.49 Miles3 Days         
8,963 ft AEG39 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
BobP
John9L
squatpuke
Tough_Boots
Wow. Sweet trip! I hurt a little bit! :)

Hike Info: The first 3 miles up FS Nankoweap Trail 57 to the NPS boundary is a killer grind. With a full pack, carrying water, etc. it'll get to you!
The rest of the hike is long but not terrible. The previously reported "scary spot" has been improved and is not particularly scary. Not to say that just anybody should be out here. Plenty of people would not be comfortable on any of this trail. It is exposed, angled, and there's lots of scree. It is definitely not for the inexperienced canyon hiker.

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of shade. Don't get me wrong. It is a south and west facing hike almost the entire way. But I was happy that there are some occasional junipers and little overhangs or drainages that provide a brief respite from the blazing sun. But there are not many.

The traverse seems to go on forever, and when the trail finally drops off Tilted Mesa, the footing becomes spectacularly loose. I was happy to have trekking poles to help with stability (a heavy pack on your back certainly doesn't help), but still managed to fall twice.

Once at the creek, we found a suitable camp site in some cottonwoods just across the creek and slightly downstream of where the trail enters. There is a good flat area for camping several hundred yards upstream as well, but there is very little shade there. A bit over a mile upstream there is another good camping area, this one shaded and flat, but unless your route is taking you upstream, I wouldn't consider going that far to camp.

The hike downstream to the river was pleasant and relatively easy. Once near the river, stick to the use paths and head south to the beaches and the Granaries trail. Following the creek into the delta to the river will get you tangled in a mess of tamarisk and other scrub brush.

On the hike out, we left at sunrise, and in the 2+ hours it took to reach Tilted Mesa we were pleasantly surprised that about half the hike was shaded. This will be less true later into the fall as the sun rises farther south than in late September. Once on the traverse, the only shade was found in the occasional drainage, overhang, or small treel.

Don't underestimate the last 3-miles once you reach the saddle. It lasts forever, and the 400-foot climb about a mile from the car is the last thing you want to deal with after 5-6 hours of hiking already!

Fun Stuff:
Great group of people. Good to meet Karl for the first time. I think BobP was there, but he likes to hike when normal people are asleep, so I'm not really sure. I think he did about 40 miles the rest of us skipped. It was a very safe trip, with some taking safety more seriously than others, for which I was supremely thankful. Not sure why rafters carry PBR on the river, and I might have complained, but that's not like me, so I just shut up and enjoyed a Modela instead. Also had a pretty G'Knight. Or 4. Slept great! :)

First night was warm for sleeping, but a cold front pushed through with crazy winds late Saturday night and Sunday. Got sand blasted on the beach by the river a little bit. Went for a swim in 47-degree cold Colorado river. Very refreshing. :o Sunday night was much cooler and very pleasant for sleeping. The Mountain House dinners were good I suppose. I was disappointed nobody brought bacon, but somehow survived anyway.

Of course this all ended at NiMarcos where everybody (not just 9L) consumed more calories than we could have possibly burned hiking out earlier in the day. Pizza and wings make for a pretty good post-hike snack.

Fun trip. Thanks for getting the permit Larry!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Lower Nankoweap Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
An entire wall of springs, with one flowing like a faucet. Water pouring out of the rocks! Clean and pure!

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Middle Nankoweap Spring Dripping Dripping
Signs of water from the dirt wall along the creek. Moisture and lots of thick vegetation. Creek was flowing so I didn't feel the need to look for collectible source directly from the seep.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Nankoweap Creek Light flow Light flow
Plenty of water for filtering, but rarely more than ankle deep.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Nankoweap Creek Trail Junction Light flow Light flow
Small stream at the junction. Occasional ankle-deep pools make filtering easy. I built a small dam for a deeper pool. Clear and good tasting water. Probably around 60-65 degrees.
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two scoops!
Sep 21 2013
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 Guides 4
 Routes 395
 Photos 9,008
 Triplogs 1,068

52 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 21 2013
BiFrostTriplogs 1,068
Backpack33.28 Miles 10,749 AEG
Backpack33.28 Miles3 Days         
10,749 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners partners
BobP
chumley
John9L
squatpuke
Tough_Boots
Was able to get on this trip last minute with an invite from Bob and of course you can't turn down the GC. Larry had the permit and Chumley did most of the planning (thanks for setting it up :) ). After our warm-up hike on the Spencer Trail we car camped at the Nankoweap TH sharing some brews and laughs before our early morning departure.

Next morning we got started early as expected and Larry and I left ahead of the rest to get a jump on the hike. Unfortunately about 2 miles into the hike John caught up and informed me that I left the window to my truck all the way down :doh: Since I didn't want it to bug me all weekend I dropped my pack and went back to the truck.

After the delay got back to my pack and started back down the trail which can be best described as very steep in conjunction with a long traverse out to Tilted Mesa. The traverse is a really cool section with long stretches that intermittently provides awesome views and narrow cliff edges. This is also the section that is referred to as sketchy but none of us really thought it was that bad. After the trail drops off the end of Tilted Mesa it gets very steep and is relentless all way down to Nankoweap Creek.

Water in the creek was nice and clear and everyone was really happy to be in camp after the long descent. There was a chance of rain but that never really got started except for a few sprinkles. Temps were a bit warm and didn't need a sleeping bag most of the night.

Next morning after relaxing in camp we headed out to the Colorado River about 3 miles down Nankoweap Creek. The goal was to do a side hike up to the Nankoweap Granaries and talk to some of the rafters. We meet one group of rafters before the side hike and managed to score some brews. After talking with them for a bit we climbed up the very steep trail to the granaries. Besides the interesting site of the granaries the views up there are simply awesome. We sat there for quite awhile taking in the views and watched some more rafters hit the beach below. We descended back down and decided to talk with the second group of rafters who were also very friendly and to our delight offered more beers and good conversation. After a very relaxing afternoon at the Colorado we headed back to camp.

That night in camp we all decided to get an early start the next morning out of the canyon to beat the heat and were rewarded with pleasant temps. Unfortunately it didn't make the trail any less steep but happy for the early start. Kyle and I hiked out most the way behind the rest but we all made it back to the vehicles early afternoon and then headed for NiMarcos for pizza and wings....nice :D
Geology
Geology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Supai Group
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Sep 21 2013
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 Routes 67
 Photos 2,708
 Triplogs 755

17 male
 Joined Mar 28 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 21 2013
Tough_BootsTriplogs 755
Backpack30.60 Miles 9,608 AEG
Backpack30.60 Miles
9,608 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
BobP
chumley
John9L
squatpuke
That is one steep trail.

We made camp at the trailhead Friday night and headed out early Saturday morning. After making your way to the edge of the rim, you make an initial steep descent. The trail quickly evens out into an extremely long traverse. As you approach Tilted Mesa everything changes. The hike quickly becomes a real toe smasher and continues that way all the way to the bottom. It's painful. Its definitely worth it-- its not the prettiest trail in the canyon but it's still the Grand Canyon so it's awesome by default. The rumored "sketchy spot" is not at all sketchy. The only areas causing concern are while hiking on the steep skree areas.

We got to the creek pretty early. I hung out and let the others scout around to pick a camp area. Bob had left at like 2am and he was still out exploring. The guys returned with a camping decision and they had picked up a Bob along the way. The creek is nice and clear and Chumley made us a nice little pool.

Sunday morning we took our time getting up and headed down the creek to the river. Its nice hike down there-- no real obstacles and you can avoid getting wet. Everyone split up by the time we hit the river and we eventually all found each other. We scammed some beers from some rafters and then headed up to see the ruins. Its a steep trail up there but the view from the granaries is awesome. We hung out for a bit and then headed down when we saw a new crew of rafters hit the beach-- we would scam more beers from these folks. We eventually headed back up creek and relaxed the rest of the day.

Monday morning we woke up early. I got up at 5am and apparently didn't get around fast enough to eat breakfast since we wanted to get the steep part done before it warmed up. I would see how 5,500 ft feels on nothing but Cliff Bar power. I was getting nervous about the hike the night before but it turned out to not be so bad even with a heavy pack on. We had cached water on the way down so no one would have to ration. Karl and I stayed near the back of the crew and we trudged our way out of the ditch.

We finally made it back to the trailhead around 2pm and enjoyed some cold beer-- well worth the effort. We headed back to Flagstaff to watch 9L suck on some wings at NiMarco's as usual and then back on home to Phoenix.

Awesome weekend! Thanks for setting this up, Larry! :)
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May 09 2013
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 Guides 1
 Routes 10
 Photos 613
 Triplogs 1,355

47 male
 Joined Dec 22 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar May 09 2013
RedwallNHopsTriplogs 1,355
Backpack30.75 Miles 14,000 AEG
Backpack30.75 Miles4 Days         
14,000 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
GrottoGirl
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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May 09 2013
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 Guides 3
 Routes 316
 Photos 11,812
 Triplogs 1,452

47 female
 Joined Sep 18 2009
 Tucson, AZ
Nankoweap TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar May 09 2013
GrottoGirlTriplogs 1,452
Backpack30.75 Miles 14,000 AEG
Backpack30.75 Miles4 Days         
14,000 ft AEG50 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
RedwallNHops
Day 1: Six of us met up in Marble Canyon. Five from Tucson and one from Connecticut.

We started the day carrying enough water for a dry camp plus extra water to cache for our third night. I had weighed my pack before leaving home and it was 45 pounds. Then I put in all the fruit I hadn't finished on the drive, some muffins, and my camera. HEAVY!

The start of this hike is unlike any other Grand Canyon trips I've done so far. We walked along a sage brush/juniper landscape and then descended into a small canyon filled with oak and other vegetation. Followed by climb up and up to the Saddle. The Saddle is a logical place to enter as you can see that you skip having to hike through the Kaibab and most of the Coconino layers.

Maybe I'm superwoman or this trail isn't as scary as people talk it up to be. We think we found the "scary" spot on trail but it really wasn't scary. We did , however, practice our supermodel walk :)

We took a break at the campsite near Marion Point. Lisa and I scrambled out to get a better view of Marion Point. It does seem likely that one might be able to actually get out on Marion Point - an idea for the next time on the Nankoweap trail.

We continued on along the very long Supai traverse to the campsite just below the first downclimb which was easily done by our party. From our campsite we could see down into Nankoweap Basin. We could see the Little Nankoweap drainage, the top of the Tilted Mesa, Nankoweap Butte, Nankoweap Mesa, and more. The view of Nankoweap Butte was stunning. It could be called a Butte of many colors!

At camp, Lisa had a surprise for my Birthday. She had hiked in a pound and a half of dry ice to keep a pint of Gelato cold to give me! HEAVEN!!! That was probably one of the best Birthday surprises in my life! I gobbled the sweat treat up amazing quickly but did share a few bites. The guys all enjoyed beers that Josh had carried down.

After dinner we had our nightly reading from the Harvey Butchart Hiking Logs (a tradition we started on our last trip in the GC). We read about how he set out by himself with a rappel down into the area. Then on his way back up he managed to get entangled in the line and had to fight to free himself as he dangled upside down. He then proceeded to have to bushwhack somewhere near the Little Nankoweap over to the trail we were currently on - IN THE DARK. Unbelievable!

The threat of rain made me miss our tent. But we tied up our tarp our spread out our sleeping bags and pads.

Day 2: We stashed some water at our camp and then we hiked down from Tilted Mesa to Nankoweap Creek. It was just a little over 3 miles but practically straight down hill. Steep!!!

We got to the creek and located a good camp area. Joel and I didn't set up since we didn't have a tent.

After lunch we headed out to the River and the Ruins. The view of the River from the Ruins is absolutely spectacular. Seeing ruins and the straightest section of the Canyon at once is pretty special. Joel, Josh, and I returned to camp without going down to the River. Whereas Lisa and Holly did - more on that in a bit.

We returned to camp and set up our sleeping area sans tarp. There wasn't a cloud in the sky by evening time.

Before dinner, I went to find the spring near by. It's not hard to locate, just look for all the green! I didn't find the spot where the water comes out of the ground due to a hillside of grapevines tripping me. But the water was clear where it ran down into the creek so we filled our bottles without treating it.

Holly and Lisa returned and I walked up to them. I could tell they were trying to hide something so I forced them to show me what they had. Six beers! They had met some rafters who made them take some beers back to camp for the whole group!

We had dinner and laughed a lot. The best part was where Lisa was in the middle of some story about herself and was stating a fact about herself, 'I'm a Jew' and Holly immediately jumped up, screaming, 'get away from me!' Come to find out there had been a bee!

In bed, I was staring at the stars and listening to the 'baaa' of the frogs and the crickets singing when all of a sudden there was a flash. It was weird because the whole sky was full of stars. Just beyond the canyon walls there must have been a storm as the flashes continued. I put away my glasses and then soon after Joel tells me to get up we need to put up the tarp. I put my glasses back and and see that half of the stars were gone! We quickly assembled the tarp with at least one false start. We were lucky we had some warning. While we're working away we hear, 'Guys, what do I do?'. Holly had given up on her tarp the night before and was left with just a bivy. Lisa offered some space in her tent and everyone got settled for the storm. The storm wasn't much except three separate rain showers. Our tarp system worked pretty well. Maybe one doesn't really need a tent...

Day 3: We planned to do an exploration near camp before heading back up to Tilted Mesa. I wanted to check out Nankoweap Butte. I didn't realize it but I headed up the wrong ridge/drainage system. We just climbed up until we hit a ridge then I could see that the ridge I had wanted to be on was off a little ways across a steep drainage system. Holly wasn't used to the off trail ascents where you head straight up without stopping and by the time we got to the top of the ridge she was beat. The desert heat was probably not helping her any since she came from the East coast. She didn't want to continue and we didn't want to split up so we decided to explore more in the area we were and not continue to the Butte. We actually were in the area of the Chuar Syncline and just seeing the geology of the area was striking. We found that a huge flat piece of rock had been uplifted probably about 45 degrees in the area and that chunks of the rock had rolled down the slope. In the saddle of the Syncline was some stromatolite fossils.

We went back to camp to finish packing up and then a few of us went off to find some more fossils in an area described by the 'Hiking the Grand Canyon Geology' book. We found some awesome stromatolites and some Chuaria fossils both of which at one time ruled Rodinia! We also found holes drilled for paleomagnetic studies.

After our explorations and lunch, we loaded our packs with extra water and headed back up to the Tilted Mesa camp for our last night. Scott had left in the morning as he hadn't been feeling totally well. It was warm and sunny, and the trail was extremely steep. The narrow parts through the Redwall and the Muav limestone was a bit more noticeable since we were not 'fresh'.

We ran into the first set up of hikers we'd see on this trip. Luckily it was during our break as there really isn't a passing lane on this trail.

We finally made it up to camp. The afternoon heat and the heavy load had exhausted us. We all just hung out reading, studying the map, and soaking in the view until dinner.

Again we didn't set up our tents, but we were pretty sure this time that it wouldn't be an issue.

Day 4 - Hiking out was pretty uneventful. We ran into one party who would be out for 12 days doing a big loop with the Bright Angel Canyon. We got back to the cars before noon and started our drive home. It was sad to leave Holly but she was on her way to Zion for more adventure before flying home. The rest of us headed back for the long drive to Tucson.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Nankoweap Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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average hiking speed 2.06 mph
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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.

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