Eileen and I just got back from a brief hiking vacation at the Grand Canyon.
We wanted to have the chance to hike into the canyon and overnight there without having to go all the way down to Phantom Ranch or Bright Angel Campground. We’d done that before. This itinerary would take us onto the less traveled Tonto Trail, and offer up a different perspective of the Canyon. It would also be substantially easier on our knees.
Here’s a video of the trip:
We spent the first day there acclimatizing and walking along the South Rim. We hiked From the South Kaibab Trailhead to Mather Point and then later that same day from Hermit’s Rest to Pima Point. It was pretty chilly in the mornings along the Rim. The weather was crisp and refreshing, though and the season meant there were very few people in the Park, which was also nice.
The next morning, we took the first bus at sunrise–the Hiker’s Express–to the South Kaibab Trailhead. Here, we began our 4.5 mile hike down the trail to “The Tipoff” and the intersection with the Tonto Trail.
Along the Tonto Trail, it’s an additional 4.4 miles to the Indian Garden campground. The trail offered up great views with canyon both above and below us. We encountered no one along our entire course on the Tonto.
The weather at the campground was very comfortable. It didn’t get below 45 degrees all night.
It was very buggy most of the way up Bright Angel. Eileen was the only person on the entire trail fortunate enough to have a husband who thought to outfit her with mosquito netting. The other hiker’s misery was only compounded when seeing Eileen in her bug-free Nirvana.
From Indian Garden, it was 4.6 miles up Bright Angel to the South Rim. And even though it was chilly near the top, the effort of gaining 3,060 feet with a full backpack allowed me to do this comfortably in short sleeves and shorts.