The New Hance, Tonto, and Grandview Hike
By Amanda Lane, Owner, The Hike Shack
Backpacking in the Grand Canyon is an amazing way to explore the natural wonder in our backyard … and there is ample space to explore. The canyon is around 227 miles long and averages about 10 miles across.
I was lucky enough recently to have the opportunity to journey through a small section with a few amazing friends. We began at the New Hance Trailhead just a few miles past Moran Point on the South Rim of the canyon. This trail is a steep, six-and-a-half-mile descent to Hance Rapid on the Colorado River, through the many layers of geologic features, all of which have their own beauty. We soaked our tired feet in the cold waters of the river and spent one night sleeping next to the roaring rapids.
The next morning, we headed west across the Tonto Trail, which leads you across the mesa then turns south and takes you up one of the draws along Hance Creek. After five miles, we spent our second night alongside the creek. We got up and tackled the last three miles of the Tonto Trail to Horseshoe Mesa, with a quick stop at Page Spring to filter water for the dry camp there. Mining relics sat in front of the Last Chance Mine on our steep and rocky ascent.
Once we reached the mesa, we set up camp and went for a short hike out to the point on Horseshoe Mesa to take in the sunset before playing a spirited game of Ship Captain Crew while the evening air-cooled.
We headed up the Grandview Trail at first light. This trail is two-and-a-half miles long and gains more than 2,200 feet in elevation. The history you travel through and can see is tremendous. The trail follows old remnants of a route formerly used by miners and mule trains to cart copper from the Last Chance Mine. The trail itself is a work of art. Old wooden beams hold up sections of the narrow trail as it climbs toward the rim. Perfectly laid cobblestone switchbacks that have withstood the test of time seem to go on forever.
The last mile takes you through the Coconino Saddle. You will have an exceptional view to the south of the Upper Valley and Hance Creek as you make your way up the old log stairs and rough sandstone slabs that mean you are near the rim. This trip is not an easy adventure to be sure, but one of my all-time favorites.
Every time I have adventured in the canyon I am taken aback by its rugged beauty. Permits for these trips are done via lottery and more information can be found at www.nps.gov.
Stop by The Hike Shack at 104 N. Montezuma Street in Prescott or call 928.443.8565 or visit www.thehikeshack.com.