Hiking the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Hot and Heavy in the Grand Canyon

Some of the most historic and well-known trails have been forged to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Every summer, thousands of tourists trek to the basement of the earth via the Bright Angel Trail or the North and South Kaibab Trails.

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Traversing above the Tonto and Red
Wall layers over to Phantom Canyon.

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Standing on the saddle that divides
Phantom Canyon and 91 Mile Canyon.

While these certainly provide a quality adventure, there are remote and less-traveled routes through narrow slot canyons and up high vistas, venturing far from any beaten path. Temperatures in early June can be extreme and most trekkers opt to hike such routes in March or April. If you are going in late spring/early summer, it may be wise to begin hiking the longer, exposed and waterless stretches by 3 a.m. to avoid getting caught in 110-120 degree heat. (There will be little to no shade by high noon.) Our trail descended from Tiyo Point on the North Rim to Shiva Saddle. From there we went down into Dragon Spring, out to the Colorado, traversed for two days back east to Phantom Canyon and then out the North Kaibab Trail to complete the loop.

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Down-climbing 100 ft. through the Tonto Layer to
short-cut an extra three hours of hiking in extreme heat.

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Descending a steep passage through the Great Unconformity layer. The confluence of Dragon Spring and the Crystal Rapids can be seen below.

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Descending through the slot of phantom creek.

There was also an option of ascending a headwall out of Phantom and back to Shiva Saddle. A total of seven days were spent trekking plus a layover day. Except for the Kaibab on the last day, there were no established trails and skills in navigation were essential.

Feature written and photographed by Derek Franz June 2003.  All information regarding the Grand Canyon and distances, altitude climbs and trailhead information was experienced and documented first hand by Franz and can also be referenced in George Steck's book: Loop Hikes I in the Grand Canyon.




To reach the starting point, turn right on Tiyo Point Road, which is seen five miles before arriving at the bustling trailhead of the North Kaibab. The last bit of the dirt road is closed, so now a person must hike an extra four miles through the woods to gain Tiyo Point and drop into the mighty gorge. For any over night trip, a permit must be obtained from the Grand Canyon Backcountry Office for Twenty dollars, plus four dollars per person. The only existing guidebook for this route is Grand Canyon Loop Hikes I, by George Steck.

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Globetrotter Adventures
Carbondale, CO 81623