Arizona State Line to South Rim Grand Canyon
A hike through the high level forested Kaibab plateau then a drop down into the Grand Canyon and a superb journey along the Colorado River to our resupply by climbing to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
Kaibab Plateau- This is quite forested with limited views but does allow quick miles. We enjoyed Jacob’s Lake with its bakery though and met some other hikers on the Arizona Trail heading northward which was nice as you are out on your own for much of the Hayduke!
Section 10|57.7 You can reach the North Rim lookout tower that Edward Abbey worked at for four seasons by following the AZT south from here just before the park boundary at mile 57.9. Its probably about half an hour hike one way to the tower. You can climb up but we couldn’t see a way into the lookout hut at the top.
Section 11|1.0 We camped here on the small plateau between the two Nankoweap Trailheads. It is dry but with great views and makes for a quick start down to the Colorado River in the morning.
Section 11|2.0 The Nankoweap Trail was easier than we had read about (at least when descending early in the morning as we did). I wonder whether the trail has been improved recently as it was pretty straightforward rough narrow trail all the way down- and of course very spectacular! The increase in temperature for us on the last of the descent to Nankoweap Canyon was formidable! We arrived at the canyon and its stream around mid-day on 20th May and measured a temperature in the high 30’s Celcius.
Section 11|7.8 Nankoweap Canyon had good flowing water and shady cottonwoods- lovely!
Section 11|10.6 Nankoweap Graneries are wonderful- it takes about half an hour to hike from the river. There are probably a few more use trails around here now than mapped as the rafting companies seem to stop here and climb up.
Section 11|19.2 Colorado River crossing. We waited a couple of hours before spotting a rafting company and they kindly gave us a lift across. There is a perfect little shady cave under the tapeats rock layers here to wait out for rafts just back from the beach and you can dip in the river here too. To be honest we could happily have sat in the shade all afternoon chilling out!
Section 11|21.0 As reported by Dave and Michelle in 2009 , there is a camp spot by the river about a mile on from the Little Colorado crossing. It is just at the ‘Y’ of Grand Canyon on the Skurka and Li maps and there is a small use trail down from the Beamer Trail to the river.
We too found the going tough in the Grand Canyon compared with the mapped mileages!
Section 11|37.5 The Escalante Trail is one wild trip and a highlight of the Grand Canyon for us! There is a good campsite at the mouth of Escalante Canyon with easy access to the Colorado and water.
The water sources are rather critical between Section 11|39.7, Red Canyon, and climbing up to the South Rim (or crossing the Colorado at Ghost Ranch). The trail heads up away from the river onto the Tonto benches which are arid, dry and super exposed to the sun.
Section 11|45.4 Hance Creek was flowing well (23rd May).
Section 12|1.0 Cottonwood Creek south was flowing – at least with a trickle. But enough for us to stop, camp nearby and fill up on water. Cottonwoods around here for shade too (as per the name!). We didn’t check the northern source as we passed by in the dark.
Section 12|6.6 Grapevine Creek. There was no water at the trail crossing but we split and searched for a while. Martina found a spring upstream and I found some dirty water in potholes in slickrock downstream.
Section 12|12.0 Boulder Creek. Dry, but we didn’t search upstream from the trail.
Section 12|14.9 Lonetree Creek. Yes- water in a ‘strong trickle’ and small pools. This was an important one for us (24th May)!
Section 12|17.7 Cremation Creek. No water here, not even close, it looked bone dry.
Next Hayduke notes – South Rim to Zion