Thursday, July 4, 2013

Shorten backcountry trips into day hikes at Grand Canyon National Park’s Widforss area

View of the Transept from Widforss Trail.
Photo courtesy Grand Canyon NPS.
Getting away from the Grand Canyon National Park’s crowds doesn’t mean require a backcountry hike far off the beaten path. Two long trails leaving from the North Rim’s Widforss parking area can be shortened into day hikes yet are within a few miles of the visitor’s center.

To reach the parking area, enter the park on Hwy. 67. About a quarter mile past the Cape Royal Road junction, turn right onto the dirt road. That first road ends at a parking lot in about a mile.

From the lot, two trails head into the backcountry.
• Widforss Trail – Walk about a half-mile through aspen groves to the canyon rim for a one-mile round trip. You’ll find that this trail is much less crowded than those in the lodge area or those at the end of Cape Royal Road. The walk can be extended for several miles; if going the full length, the Widforss runs up to five miles one way with a 350 feet in elevation change.
• South Kaibab Trail – For a real escape from the crowds, consider walking a little of this jeep trail, which heads north of the parking lot. In about 0.4 miles, you’ll reach the trail junction with the Point Sublime Trail; turnaround here for a 0.8-mile round trip. As both the South Kaibab and Point Sublime trails head into the backcountry, don’t go too far on either one.

Read more about day hiking the Grand Canyon in my Hittin’ the Trail: Day Hiking Grand Canyon National Park guidebook.