I asked you all for advice prior to this trip, and I got some great tips; thank you. I participated on a guided hike recently on the Grandview Trail in Grand Canyon. We were scheduled to go South Rim to North Rim on the Kaibab, but NPS kept the North Rim closed due to snow and trail damage, so the organizers made a last minute switch. I would likely have never signed up for a hike on the Grandview, but I’m grateful that the fates came together and 1. we did the Grandview instead of the Kaibab, and 2. I didn’t bail on this amazing adventure.
The Grandview is more challenging than the main corridor trails (I am told), because it is only minimally maintained; it’s for foot traffic not mules, and much of it is not switchbacked. It is challengingly steep in a number of spots; no mistakes allowed. There are also quite a few stretches with pretty decent exposure, so for someone like me with a bit of panic at heights, it was very much a mental challenge. Although I’ll still be nervous around heights, I feel like I slayed a dragon on this hike! The guides’ calm confidence and planning made it possible. And so did I! No one carried me or my pack anywhere! I did it.
The guides were excellent and I’m grateful to have had a really nice group. One person was injured and had to be evacuated (she’ll be ok) and the group was cooperative and helpful; you never know how people will behave under stress.
The flowers on the Tonto trail were phenomenal. We got to see a GC pink rattlesnake, an endemic species. The birds were wonderful also, but i had less time than I would have liked to watch birds – has to be another trip! I had to watch my footing. Campsites were quiet except for the frogs, crickets, birds and gentle breezes rustling in the cottonwoods; what great sleep. We saw about 6 other people total in 4 days time, once below the trailhead 1/4 mile or so. Just a lovely peaceful experience that has gotten me hooked on GC! How different it must be compared to the Kaibab. Certainly nothing like the rim circus.
I wouldn’t recommend this trail without truly knowing what you’re getting into, if you’re not with guides or experienced people. It is in no way a beginner trail. I’ll note too that it took quite a while to get an emergency signal out, due to the steep walls in our location but the chopper was quick. Might not always be that way. Water can be an issue, and the heat is no joke, even in May. Be forewarned.
Our route was: Grandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa, then the steep slippery trail down to Cottonwood Creek (not Cottonwood CG on the Kaibab). First night there, then across the Tonto trail to the other side of the Horseshoe. Second night Hance Creek – wow!!! Then up the trail past Page Springs to the Mesa for night three. Day four up and out at dawn. The mileage is deceptive! It’s hard going, up or down. One week felt like a month; I didn’t even think about work, or anything else. Can’t wait to return.