We found an outstanding free camping spot outside the South entrance of the Grand Canyon for our next home. It looks EXACTLY like the forest around Bend! We can wake up and enjoy morning coffee among the trees.
Skeleton Point Hike
On our second day here we hiked to Skeleton Point. Our hike was 6 miles and 2400′ climbing. 3 miles down, 3 miles back up. This involved driving to the Visitor’s Center and taking the free park shuttle to South Kaibib Trailhead. The story I heard is it’s called Skeleton Point because pack mules occasionally fall and their skeletons can be seen from time to time. Oh, great.
Hiking down we reached Cedar Ridge after a couple miles and beyond that, the traffic thinned considerably. Fine by me! A ranger was sitting in a shady spot inquiring about hike plans in order to make sure people who continued on knew what they were getting themselves into. We knew.
Somewhere around a mile later we reached our turn around spot.
From Skeleton Point we got our first glimpse of the Colorado River below. I was reminded of the book The Emerald Mile about the fastest boat ride ever down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon during the 1983 flood. GREAT book. As I sat on the cliff overlooking the river I thought about how awesome it must have been for the first peoples to see it. I mean, I’ve seen it in movies and pictures but to wander across it for the first time? Whoa.
Grandview to Horseshoe Mesa Trail
In 1893 Pete Berry, a miner turned hotel manager offered crude lodging in a cabin at Grandview, 11 miles west of Grand Canyon Village. He began guiding tourists on mules down into the canyon and later built a two story log hotel. Until 1901 Grandview was the Grand Canyon’s most popular tourist destination. However, when the Santa Fe Railroad reached Grand Canyon Village, that changed and few tourists opted for the stagecoach ride all the way to Grandview. Too bad. There didn’t seem to be any real remains of Pete’s lodge that I could see.
Our hike to Grandview/Horseshoe Mesa was tough. Whether it was because of our accumulated mileage and the heat, or just because it’s tough, I don’t know. It clocked in at 5.5 miles with 2,385′ of climbing. Right from the start the trail snakes steeply down switchbacks of rocks. It’s relentless and somewhat less maintained than our other two hikes. This trail is brutal and not as heavily trafficked, we saw maybe a dozen people during our hike. We turned around at the bottom by the old ruins and up up up we went.
This was our last hike here, we’ll be back on our bikes the next couple days. Enjoy the pictures!