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Grand Canyon Hiking Grandview Trail



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The Grandview Trail is a monument to one man : Peter Berry. He discovered a rich Copper vein on Horseshoe Mesa. Because he had been prospecting for two years and his money was about to run out, he named it Last Chance Mine. It was the highest grade Copper ever found in North America but it was three miles down in the Canyon and there was no direct trail to the top. So Berry built one. In 1890 he and a crew of men blasted the trail down through the Toroweap, Hermit and Cocinino Layers. In places, they riprapped the cliffs with iron rods and logs and then filled in the riprap with rocks and mud. When they were done, they brought the Copper to the Rim with trains of ten mules, each carrying 200 pounds. Berry became a very wealthy man. He used some of his fortune to build the Grandview Hotel in 1895 at Grandview Point. It was the leading tourist hotel at the Canyon until the Santa Fe built the railroad from Williams in to the South Rim Village. In 1907, Berry realized the bottom was about to drop out of the Copper market, so he sold his mine and hotel to William Randolph Hearst and escaped with his fortune intact just before the crash. Grand Canyon Hiking Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Hiking Grandview Trail Horseshoe Mesa is one of the most spectacular landforms in the Grand Canyon. Take a look at the photo above right. Ignore the reddish butte sticking up from the mesa. That's where the Copper was contained. But notice the perfect horseshoe shape of the greenish - gray mesa arcing around the butte. The photo is taken from the Rim. Once you're down on the mesa, you'll realize it's a pretty big place. You can spend a day hiking around and exploring its various nooks and crannies. The views from the mesa in every direction are also spectacular. In the photo above, you can see Vishnu, Krishna, Solomon and Sheba "temples" jutting skyward across the Colorado River. In some places, the trail going down is quite easy, as shown in the photo here at left.
This is an example of the riprapping Peter Berry's crew built along the cliffs. Much of their work remains intact but the National Park Service in 1989 performed a major refurbishing of the Grandview Trail and repaired much of the decaying riprap. Grand Canyon Hiking Grandview Trail
Grand Canyon Hiking Grandview Trail As you can see, at times the descending trail is quite steep, and you have to be careful to maintain your footing. Coming back up, these sections will strain your thighs. Fortunately, most of the Grandview Trail is not this steep. It is, however, almost all spectacular, and you'll find yourself stopping often for photos.
The format of a day hike down Grandview Trail is different from the others. The actual trail down is only three miles, meaning a six mile round round trip. But the high point of the day is the exploration of Horseshoe Mesa. There are two ways to do this. You can just hike around on top of the mesa itself, as seen in the photo at right. Or you can take the loop hike which drops down off the mesa and travels all the way around it before climbing back up to its top. There are several ways to do this. You can stay on Grandview Trail across the mesa and down the northwestern arm to the Tonto Trail. Turn right (east) and follow the Tonto Trail all the way around the open side of the horseshoe and south along its northeastern arm. You'll then turn right, pass Page Spring, and rejoin the Grandview Trail just as it climbs onto the mesa. If you want a longer circuit of the mesa, turn left onto the Cottonwood Creek Trail just as you climbs onto the mesa. Follow Cottonwood Creek along the western base of the mesa, then turn right (east) onto the Tonto Trail. You'll hike around the northwestern arm, then see the Grandview Trail coming down to join you. Stay on the Tonto Trail as described before. Grand Canyon Hiking Grandview Trail
Grand Canyon Hiking Grandview Trail

There is no water along the Grandview Trail or on Horseshoe Mesa. We mention Page Spring but it only flows after rains. We recommend at least four bottles of water and rationing so you use one bottle on the way down, one exploring the mesa, and two bottles on the way back up.

The photo at left shows the trail coming around the Esplanade Sandstone shoulder as it climbs up onto Horseshoe Mesa. There are a lot of mining relics left on the mesa. Berry mined out all the Copper (except for minor traces), but it's interesting to think about the fact this was the highest quality Copper, meaning the purest and most concentrated, that we have ever found in the United States.

This is the view looking back up from Horseshoe Mesa toward the top. The trailhead is at Grandview Point, which is that promontory jutting out from the ridge just left of center. It will take the average hiker 2-3 hours to hike back up to there from here. If you're in top shape you can do it in less, especially in Spring or Fall months. In Summer the heat will slow down even the best conditoned hiker. The day we took this photo it was 103 degrees on the Mesa at noon. Grand Canyon Hiking Boucher Trail
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