Explore the most popular beach trails near Grand Canyon with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
2 months ago

hardest trail i ever worked on.

on South Bass Trail

backpacking
2 months ago

This is a breathtaking way to experience the Canyon and miss all the crowds, but you're going to have to work for it. A wisely operated high-clearance, two-wheel drive vehicle can make access to the trailhead. Plan on spending two hours + or - 30 minutes on the dirt road heading out and back. Six hours down and seven to eight coming out are reasonable time estimates for fit, experienced backpackers with base pack weights of less than 20 lbs without water. As noted elsewhere, cache water on the Esplenade, (Immediately before dropping down toward Bass Canyon is a great place.) One gallon per person will get you back to the trailhead in hot conditions. We did this hike with daytime highs on the river of 100 degrees and are Phoenix heat-acclimated. I would NOT recommend doing this hike in 80+ degree river temps if you are not used to hiking all day in the heat, as you will find no shade during most of the day. When you get first sight of the river on the way down, start looking for an old fireplace ruin on the left side of the trail. When you reach it, turn right and drop steeply down to the river. There are several beach sites to choose from for camping. Mind the ants and the cold water, and guy out your tent to keep it from blowing into the river. 5 AM is a fine time to start heading back out if you're expecting heat. The last two hours of the hike in are the hardest of this trip. If you can make it down, you can make it out. The load on your feet and legs will feel different going uphill compared to down. Trekking poles and a light-as-you-can make it pack are a must. A practical trip plan might be to drive in and hike down to the Esplanade on the first day, hike to and camp at the river on the second day, then hike out and drive home or camp at the trailhead on the third day. Breaking up the descent would take a lot of stress off of your knees and eliminate any question of ability to make it to the river in one day. For reference: We're in our mid-40's, are reasonably fit and have a lot of backcountry experience. This hike is not for unguided beginners.

backpacking
3 months ago

Completed the Escalante route in late April 2018 with my son. What a wonderful trail! Regarding safety, it was quite comfortable for us in every aspect (though the Papago Wall gave me pause - more of a steep pitch than I expected). Our biggest near miss was with a rattlesnake about 18 inches away as I walked past with it unseen, sleeping under a low ledge next to the trail between Papago and Hance rapids. Hearing its loud rattle and turning to see it coiled and raised to strike was quite scary, particularly considering the rescue implications if I had been bit. We did not find the stretch from Cardenas to Papago intimidating, in spite of other trip reports. It really was quite comfortable walking. Poles are a must, but I never backpack without them on any trail. The most challenging part of the trip for me was hiking down Tanner midday in the heat – we weren’t able to get started until 9 AM and hiked until 4:00 arrival at Tanner beach with few shade opportunities. The hardest part for my son was hiking up from Horshoe Mesa the last day to the rim with a terrible sore throat. I started the trip with a terrible cold - he ended with it. So it goes! Temperatures down by the river were in the upper 80s during midday, and we carried 4-5 litres of water each, particularly important heading down the Tanner trail. Better to carry more than you need than less, as I learned last time I backpacked in the canyon! We adopted a successful strategy for beating the heat: started hiking by 5:45 AM, hiked until about 10:30, stopped to nap, read, sketch in the shade until about 4:30pm, and then hiked until dusk. Wouldn’t do it any other way - that midday heat is so depleting. We left at 9:00am on a Monday morning, and camped at Tanner Beach night 1. We hiked Tanner-Escalante Creek and rested in shade till 4:30, then hiked to Hance Rapids to camp for night 2 (thus doing the entire Escalante portion in a day). Day 3 hiked to Hance Creek, rested, then up to Horseshoe Mesa for night 3. Topped out on the rim at Grandview about 10:30 AM on day 4, Wednesday. A kind tourist couple gave us a ride back to our car at Lipan Point. My son and I both wore Altra Lone Peak trail shoes, and we’re so glad we did. They kept our feet comfortable, not too hot, handled the terrain really well, and were far preferable for us than hiking boots. The Escalante Route is definitely an expert trail, but if you are an experienced backpacker, it’s comfortable and really wonderful. Route finding skills (cairns are primary guides on this trail) and map + good trail beta printed out are a must. I’ve done a number of trails in the canyon, and this was my favorite.

3 months ago

The bomb!!

Did this hike at the end of April. Road getting out was pretty serious. Definitely need some ground clearance. We were expecting to pay $25 bucks to on the Havasupai reservation but nobody was at the gate so we just went through. Great views at the trailhead. As should be expected, the trail is steep with lots of loose rock. Very easy to slip. Took 4 liters going down and cached 2 at the edge of the esplanade. Also had a filter to refill at the river. We camped at the river on a nice little beach. Had packed an inflatable raft to cross to the north side which we did (had to put in about a 1/4 mile down river to avoid some rapids). Explored the north side a bit before heading up river and crossing back to the south. My garmin recorded almost 8 miles to the river. Left at 4am to hike out and caught sun on the first climb and the esplanade. Lots of good shade on the second climb. It was a good hike with great views. I think it took us 3-4 hr going down and 6-7 going up (with an hour break at the esplanade).

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked down a week ago in 4 in of snow. Take your time. Gorgeous hike!!

this was one of the hardest trails I've done but so worth it!

this was an amazing hike!

hiking
6 months ago

backpacking
7 months ago

I completed this trail with my wife in November of 2015 and found it challenging but very rewarding. We chose to hike out through New Hance trail. Portions of this are much more route than trail with a lot of exposure but if you keep your wits about you it is a very rewarding hike.

hiking
8 months ago

Our last hike in Grand Canyon. We did it as a day hike, but it was november so probably easier. We were a bit tired from two previous day hikes down the river but it was very manageable. Unlike South-Kaibab-to-bright-angel and Hermit-trail, we were exposed to the sun for most of the hike. Still, being november and having planned accordingly, that was not a big problem. You see the tower for almost all the hike which is funny. The view on the river is very different than closer to the village - it's worth going. Also, I suggest you try to find some vintage point as you go back up - the best views were actually not from down at the beach but before (close to the end on a butte, and also about halfway - sorry it's hard to describe where exactly). At the trailhead, it said you need to do some pathfinding, that the trail is not well marked and not well maintained. I have no clue why they say that - sure it's not a "highway" like bright angel, but it is very easy to follow.
Despite doing these other hikes that I mentionned, I felt this was still worth it!

backpacking
9 months ago

I'm an intermediate hiker, so this is the most intense hike I've done. The views are insanely gorgeous. Going downhill really took a toll on my knees because I thought I was too cool to pull them out. Cold at the top, much warmer at the bottom. First steep section is very shady, once it flattens out is pretty much continual exposure nearly all the way to the end. One really cool thing is that you're able to see the desert tower for the majority of the hike, it's a great land mark to see how far you have gotten.

The second day we went up on the escalante trail in search for the "Indian fort ruins" we had heard about from passerbys. I believe we missed it we went too far into the hills when the trail to it splits off early into the hills. I've tried my best googling pictures of it and now I know it might just be the most ruined ruin I've ever seen. If you look at it you can be forgiven for thinking it's just a pile of rocks.

Heading back up was a strong lesson teaching me about my in experience. With just 1 day of rest my body had not fully recovered from the trek down. (You'll want to get more than a days rest while down there). We got an incredibly late start. 10am at the entrance to the trailhead at the river. Like I said there's no shade anywhere in the lower parts which is why you want to get this done really early if you're going up. At noon we crawled under a rock for lunch. Any shade you do see you'll probably find someone else resting there because they are so few and far in-between.

We reached the final flat area before the final steep segment at the top at 5pm. I unfortunately was the one slowing our group down with my breaks. If you are going up you should reach this area much much earlier. It was getting dark (sun gets blocked from our position much earlier than dusk due to being the canyon ) so we decided (against park rules) to camp a little ways off trail.

The next day we up and ready at 6am to finish off the last leg of the trail but my exhaustion was really getting to me. The climb up was so slow that I really feel it was the correct decision to camp midway. We had 3/4th of a mile left on the trail when a park ranger caught up to us was able to immediately deduce that we camped on the trail. We were chastised for our overly aggressive hiking plan (listed as against recommendation in our file) and then properly fined for the extra day camping.

Reaching the top felt really great. You see tourists all over by the desert tower but they'll never to get the views that you get on the tanner trail. There's nothing like that first time we climbed around one the cliffs and then suddenly the Colorado river comes into view in its full glory. So stunning. Stop by the binoculars on the desert tower and take a look at trail you just finished and check out where the hikers who are going down hill while you are ascending are now.

hiking
Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Challenging trail with the steepness and loose gravel. Footing can be a dodgy so the descent requires some extra time planning and strategizing for safety. The descent is a bit quad-jellying and some scrambling is required. Trekking poles were helpful for balance. Trail can be difficult to follow, but pretty well marked with cairns if you pay close attention. Switchbacks are narrow. The ascent was actually easier than the way down (not as much issue with loose gravel/rocks and not as technical) and took the same amount of time for us (over 2 days). Some additional squat/lunge training probably would have made my hike more enjoyable/ recovery easier but as a first time Canyon hiker and backpacker, I'd say the trail was difficult and physically challenging, but doable. Definitely not as bad as my google searching led me to believe prior to the trip- hence this review!

hiking
Tuesday, May 02, 2017

I must say, comparing this trail to all other trails I have done, in GC it is the most difficult. I slid on the loose dirt/scree 8 times in the descent, which is unheard of since my shoes are made for trails and have great traction AND I was using poles. There was alot of boulder climbing, and a few areas with obscure perception re: how to stay on the trail. The climb is a 5180 foot elevation ascent, which I would not consider "moderate". There was ample shade on descent and ascent, gorgeous reward at the river, and beautiful and different views of the canyon. I would do it again but would advise other's to consider it a most difficult trail. For more details on this trail check out: http:home.znet.com/schester/grand_canyon/trails/
hance.html

hiking
Tuesday, May 02, 2017

This trail shouldn't be rated as Moderate, it's the most difficult trail in terms of steepness and loose rocks/scree I've been on yet in the GC. For a comparison, hiked Grandview 3 weeks earlier out and back. This hike is listed as steep and more difficult. In my opinion it's accurate, but not as difficult as New Hance. DO NOT underestimate this rating! We did this hike to the CO River and back the same day 4/29/17 in 11 total hours counting the time spent at the CO River. Four hours down, one hour at the river and six back up the ascent. It's worth every bit of sweat as the views are spectacular. The stillness and solitude are breathtaking, gives you the concept how very small we truly are compared to the natural surroundings. Preparation, fitness and hiking experience can't be stressed enough to truly enjoy this beautiful hike......

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Really steep in places but I loved the trail! I would do it again. Just make sure that one of the group members knows how to backpack and you should be fine!

My favorite hike on the planet. This was our 2nd time in the Canyon and worth every mile and hour to get there and get it done. We stretched it to 4 days staying at Bright Angel the 1st and 3rd nights and Cotton wood the 3rd. 1st day late start to Bright Angel, 2nd to Cottonwood, 3rd Cottonwood to north rim and back to Cottonwood and unfortunately on the 4th from Bright Angle back to the truck. By far, the most difficult and most enjoyable hike to date. Around every corner there is something else beautiful to enjoy and take a pic of. By far the 3rd day was longer and most difficult climbing out of the north rim and dropping back in to and from Cottonwood. We paused to have a pizza and a cold one on the North Rim. The permits for the canyon are definitely a hassle but don't let it stop you. I would definitely like to go back and spend 7-10 days on a longer hike.

backpacking
Thursday, June 02, 2016

Can't believe this trail wasn't already on alltrails.com. We started at Lipan point and hiked Tanner Tail to Tanner Rapids where we had our first camp. From there we had a very short day to our second camp at Cardenas Creek. If I were to do it again I would have camped at Escalante Creek on day two. From Cardenas Creek we made the route to Hance Rapids for camp three. This day was awesome and is what the Escalante Route is all about. The area before Escalante Creek is described as being a 4'-6' trail with an extreme exposure. Many make a great deal about this section. While the exposure is there the trail is comfortable hiking. One would have to make a stupid mistake to fall, however a fall would be fatal. I lost sleep the night prior thinking about it and once hiking this section was mad at myself for worrying. 75 mile Creek is a real treat and may be one of the top highlights of the trek. At the mouth of 75 mail Creek we took the high route to Papago Creek. The first cairn is at the mouth of the canyon. The high route is well marked and easy to follow to Papago. The Papago Wall was a treat and was a pleasant scramble from ledge to ledge. The Papago Slide was what i would consider the most technical portion of the hike but was not difficult. After the slide the relatively flat trail along the river to Hance Rapids was a nice way to cap the day before hiking at one of the excellent camps at Hance Rapids. On day four we followed the Tonto trail to Hance Creek. The campsite at Hance Creek was beautiful and was shaded by a very large tree. On the final day we made the trek up Tonto to its intersection with Grandview. Then followed Grandview to the top and our vehicle. The entire trail was easy to follow and well cairned but definitely difficult. I do not hike many trails more than once but would spring at the opportunity to enjoy this trek again.

backpacking
Thursday, June 02, 2016

Hiked on our way in before continuing on the Escalante Route and finally up Grandview Trail. The Tanner is an excellent trail and very easy to follow. I would still bring a map and pay attention to the topography as other unnamed trails spur off at points however it is clear which is the main trail. Great views the entire was to the Colorado.

hiking
Wednesday, December 30, 2015

amazing hike.

hiking
Thursday, May 22, 2014

Excellent trail. Do not attempt if unprepared. Many parts of the trail are difficult to follow to the inexperienced. Weather can change drastically because of the elevation changes and the topography. You go approximately half a mile down into the hot canyon (desert) from a snowy rim. The vistas are bewitching, the evenings and sunsets are spectacular and exotic. A full moon from inside the Canyon, setting over the buttes or the rim will leave an indelible mark in your memory and your heart. Plan carefully and make sure that you are light enough on the way out, you will have to climb that same route back without running out of water. Therefore strongly consider caching (hiding) water on the way out. If you needed me to clarify caching, you probably will need help someone to help you on this one. Do not attempt alone, unless you are very experienced AND prepared. You will traverse portions of the trail fully exposed to cliffs that may land you on the river, with a narrow trail slanting outwards. You will exert yourself physically on the way out and look at the beauty around you to incessantly remind you: that's why I chose to do this, isn't it?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

This us NOT an easy trail by any means!

hiking
Monday, April 29, 2013

Tough but excellent backpacking trip. Camping by the Colorado river is beautiful and the scenery on the entire trip was amazing! We spent one night on the trail on the way down to the river, two nights at the river, and one night on the trail on the way back to the rim. There is no water anywhere on the trail other than the river, and it is very silty. A good filtration system is a must.

hiking
Monday, January 11, 2010

This is, so far, my favorite hike in Grand Canyon. The tricky part is getting to (and from) the trailhead, which involves a long drive on unpaved Forest Service, Reservation, and National Park roads (with a $25 fee required at the gate to the 1.8 miles of road through the Rez), which can be impassable in winter and wet weather. The hike, though, is just amazing, with great camping at the trailhead (no water or bathrooms), on the Esplanade--a good place to cache water for the return hike--and along the Colorado River. The descent through the Redwall is spectacular, and Bass Canyon offers lifesaving shade during the intense heat of summer.

Be sure to obtain a backcountry permit before doing this hike. I'd recommend carrying at least two gallons of water per person for the descent and caching one (or more) of those--again, per person--on the Esplanade. I'd also take a filter to obtain water from the Colorado River for the hike out, and bring a bandanna or some other method of pre-straining the water to remove silt.

You can see my full trip report, along with photos and information about accessing the trail, at http://www.squidoo.com/grand-canyon-south-bass-trail

backpacking
1 month ago

hiking
3 months ago

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