Grand Canyon – Day 2

After very basic self-grooming we started out on Tonto Trail.  If you thought South Kaibab trail was steep, you will love this trail:  it’s composed of very gently rolling hills.  The whole trail goes across Grand Canyon at approximately 4 miles into the gorge, but we only traveled a section of it from Soth Kaibab to Bright Angel Trail.

As much as dusty South Kaibab Trail is, Tonto trail is very green.  It’s mostly comprised of little shrubs that could be pretty scratchy at times.  I’d recommend wearing long pants or gaiters to avoid discomfort.  The trail goes for 4.6 miles from one main trail to another.  It’s not as well marked and not as wide as the other two, but distinct enough that it’s hard to get lost.  Mules and rangers don’t traverse this trail too much so I wouldn’t count on too much help in case of emergency…  There is also no water available so again, make sure you fill up by the river or at the South Kaibab trailhead.

We started hiking early in the morning so we had a luxury of a shade given by the canyon above us.  Although this trail is not as dramatic as the other two, one can really appreciate how big Grand Canyon really is.  You walk and walk, and walk, and there are constantly new formations and gorges around you, with no end in sight.  Occasionally you also get a glimpse of Colorado River.

You will know you are nearing Indian Gardens (the junction of Tonto Trail with Bright Angel Trail) when you start hitting “real” trees and greenery around you.  Indian Gardens usually has a lot of hikers taking a rest stop, as well as the mules with the less ambitious travelers=)  There are many benches available for rest (be careful with your lunch though as the squirrels are just waiting for you to turn the other way!!), water, shade, and toilets.

Plateau Point
Plateau Point is a very nice short hike that originates at Indian Garden.  It’s 1.5 miles each way but it’s completely flat (no shade though).  It leads to the ridge of the canyon with a great view of Colorado River below.  If you have any energy left (save enough for the hike-out!) this trail is a must!.Once we got our well deserved rest we headed up towards the rim of the Canyon (another 4.6 miles to go).  Even though the rest of the trail leads upward, it’s actually not as bad as the temperature drops with the altitude increase.  It’s also psychologically easier than the South Kaibab Trail since there are 2 more stops with water, shade and toilets on the way to the top.  First stop is the 3-mile resthouse, followed by the 1.5 mile resthouse. Those of you who know me probably remember that I prefer hiking up than down, but the climb out is really not bad.  We just took our time and had snacks and water at every resthouse.  Also, the fact that there are 2 restaurants right by the trailhead with delicious burgers helps as well…

I rated this trip a 9 because of the grandiosity of Grand Canyon.  By hiking it you can really see how truly huge it is, and how small and insignificant we are.  Also, there is something truly amazing about the different layers of rock, you can really appreciate how old the canyon really is.  Why not a 10?  I’m not too big on dessert and high temperatures, so in the winter time it would definitely be a 10!

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