Wow, what a tough hike. Marufo Vega is a less popular hike probably because it’s long and challenging. It can be done as an out and back to shorten it a couple miles, but we wanted to do a loop and see both forks of the canyon. We read reviews that made it sound like this was the most difficult hike in the world but though it was tough, it was awesome. Our hike was 12.9 miles with 2454’ of climbing.
Normally we get an earlier start, but this day we didn’t start hiking until a bit after 11. It was fairly windy for the first mile as we hiked along the flat gravely wash to the start of the first climb. This climb was really rocky and steep and the wind continued but we pushed on. The next part undulated but generally headed up until we got to the split between South Rim and North Rim. We headed left and took North Rim.
Holy hell, this section was steeeeeeeep. After we wound along the tiny path further and further into the canyon, we started to descend. The trail is a series of rocks that step down, steep switchbacks into scary dark treed pockets where I was certain mountain lions and bears were waiting to eat us. The surrounding multilayered cliffs and benches provided constant stunning views. Finally we came out at the Rio Grande. Lunch sitting on the Rio Grande by ourselves did not suck. It’s remote out there, just Mexico on the other side.
After hiking along the river for a few miles we met the South Rim Trail. South Rim Trail was a climb up a steep slope. It definitely isn’t as interesting as North Rim and I was happy we chose to do the loop as opposed to an out and back. Back at the junction of the loop we headed back the way we came earlier in the day. A couple climbs and descents later we were back in the gravely wash, finishing a tough days hike. Very worth it!