For the first 30 miles, I would be running through the “Gems” of the Grand Canyon. We woke up to a delicious home cooked breakfast of potatoes, black beans, corn, cheese, eggs, toast, yogurt, fruit … Taking any short-cuts always takes much longer than staying on the trail. I limped on for another 100 feet trying to figure it out. I drank a lot last night and again in morning before I headed out along the Tonto Trail with a gallon of water on my back (the limit of my bladders’ capacity). Congratulations on your thrilling adventure. The lights of the lodges up on the South Rim came into view. I came upon an unexpected sight, a car parked on the side of the road. With long pants, you don’t have to worry and can keep your lines straighter, brushing by the bushes without problems. I would run from Grand Canyon Village to South Bass Trailhead (20 miles) and then descend down to the Tonto Trail and camp for the first night. Quiet hike as we saw only a couple other hikers on this section of our hike. Thankfully there was a breeze. All this takes time and you just can’t do it very fast. After a few miles, I heard buzzing that got louder and louder — helicopters. The campers all watched me do the steep climb out of Hermit. Foolishly, I decided to just bushwhack to the next GPS waypoint. I worried that back at my camp, rodents would carry off my food. Hiking along the Tonto Trail under these conditions was quite magical. I could not find the continuation trail on the other side. I think at night it is even easier to run this trail fast because the lights do a better job casting shadows on the rocks, making it easier for you to see and avoid them. But I’ve had a dream to run the length of the Grand Canyon rather than across it. The trail will take you on a series of switchbacks. I could always beg food off backpackers in the morning although I really wanted this to be a self-supported run. I know I still had a long way to go. Steve, Your email address will not be published. Jillian has completed thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail (a 2,200 mile trail from Georgia to Maine), Pacific Crest Trail (a 2,650 mile trail from Mexico to Canada), Camino de Santiago, a thru-hike of the Tonto Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, New Zealand’s Te Araroa Trail, hiked 450 miles of the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Northwest Trail. Next up was Emerald Canyon (mile 5.3) and Quartz Canyon (mile 7.3) at 7:38 a.m. Before Quartz, as the trail extended back toward the Colorado River, the terrain was covered with prickly pear cactus. (Turns out that Scott Jurek and Joe Grant did it last year!) I hoped for a 16:30-mile pace for the first 30 miles, but it just wasn’t going to happen. If I busted an ankle on the trail, it would be many hours or maybe a day or two before help would arrive. Before turning into Hermit, I took another look up the canyon and took in the beautiful sight of the canyon late in the day. Posts about Thru hiking written by endlesspsummer. It was great to see all the cliffs even at night. I just explained that I was going a very long way and would be running all night. This is the other realistic danger. That still is slow, but would put me at Grapevine Creek at dawn. As the Tonto Platform begins to climb away from the river the trail must climb along with it. I rested for quite awhile to bring my heart rate and respiration down. (Looking at pictures I took of myself, I could see it working its way out. Another new thing was the amazing sounds. I took my foot out and spied a point sticking up from the insole. Without careful attention and experience with the trail it is very easy to lose the trail and end up in a cactus patch. Aww, man, that is some awesome trail out there! Two 60 something retirees searching for adventure. If you choose to start your thru-hike in Yosemite, you’ll just need a wilderness permit and you’re ready to undertake the journey. Running into a side canyon was always hotter because the sun was in my face and the breeze at my back. It had been 12 hours since I had seen anyone. It isn’t directly across, you have to go up or down the creek a ways to pick it up. I discovered that I had more food than I thought, but I only had a few S-caps left, not enough to face another hot afternoon down here. At 8:15 a.m. The afternoon temperatures were in the 70s. But still, every few minutes, I would have to stop. I soon found some level and soft ground and was ready for a rest. I would try to run fast and then come to a screeching halt, realizing I wasn’t on the trail any more. With a couple miles to go, I had another period of high energy. I approached him and called out a greeting. Good luck with your future plans!! This section of the Tonto Trail is probably the worst that you will encounter in its 70-odd mile length. Day hikers from the rim above started to appear. The sun was setting now. I have climbed that trail twice before so knew what to expect. But I couldn’t help but keep thinking about how this portion of the trail seemed like a super highway compared to the faint trail I had been on for the first 30 miles. There is less exposure on the Tonto than on the corridor trails used by R2R2R runners. I had no idea how far up it was. Continue switchbacking through Coconino Sandstone and head north along Cedar Ridge (2) through the Supai Group’s blood-red shale. Avid hiker, completed the JMT solo in 2016 and spent a total of 32 days (the longest consecutive section being 18 days) on the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand in 2018. Picky my way through the cactus was a terrible obstacle course. I turned on two GPSs to track the miles and keep my pace up. Washouts and rockslides require some route-finding skill. For more information, visit, © Copyright 2020 Grand Canyon Conservancy. Only one section of the canyon is open for fly-overs, the section near Hermit and Boucher canyons. 100-mile race fitness can teach you what to do. There was nothing else to do, so I went to bed. During the summer of 2020, the Bush Fire burned 193,455 acres and forced a closure of the Arizona National Scenic Trail that will likely last until Spring of 2021. Running through the forest was so peaceful and amazing. So this time I concentrated more. Another thing that really slowed me down is the beauty of the canyon. On the way to Hermit Creek, the trail extends very close to the Colorado River gorge, very exposed in places. They all wished me luck and were so friendly. My GPS didn’t help much. The Tonto Trail generally follows the path of least resistance as it meanders, sometimes very deeply, back into drainages. (Turns out that those two guys were Scott Jurek and Joe Grant. It was getting hot. Walked the El Camino in Spain in 38 days. As I ran on, I tried to figure out how I was going make it to the end on so little food. When you had blisters at the beginning I knew you were in for it. I told him that I had planned to find snow below the rim and melt it for water. But the Tonto Trail travels nearly three times that distance to reach the same point. As dawn approached, I packed up my things, and cleared up my campsite making it look like no one had ever been there. Stash water on way in for use on way out. I could actually run up the steep trail. The Tonto trail begins (or ends - depending on which way you're heading) at the west end of the beach that has formed at the mouth of Red Canyon. I have also accomplished feat that many times. In order to camp down in the canyon, or even hike/run at night in the canyon, you are required to obtain a permit and pay a fee. Permits were available because South Bass is so rarely used. Help us raise $150,000 by 12/31 to hit the ground running in 2021. She had seen R2R2R runners before, but never a through-runner on the remote Tonto Trail. Best Wishes for many fun and rewarding “runs”. 11/8/19…..Hayduke Day 43…..20 miles. 2012-09-23: chumley: 6.31 mi 1,628 ft | load nearby guides. The nearest person was camping the night in Ruby Canyon about nine miles away. I had early heat stroke symptoms, clammy skin, chills, dizzy, fast respiration, and my left ear was clogged (always does that as I get dehydrated.) My feet were it bad shape, but they did much better going uphill than down. She quickly understood that I had good experience in the Canyon. Instead, I could climb out before it got too hot and finish around 1 p.m. With that new plan, my spirits improved. This was the guy who I had been told camped at Ruby Canyon last night. One guy caught on fast and said he was very impressed with my pace, all the way from South Bass. The climb was hot and tough. I had turned my lights on and the campers at Monument of course noticed my amazing green light. The problem with these sections is that because of the vegetation and wind, signs of the trail can became much fainter. They took my all the way to South Kaibab where I caught a shuttle into town. Most thru-hikers stay at the Mather Campground on the South Rim. For my run I would be passing by five exit point opportunities to climb out of the canyon. I probably lost it going through the rough boulder area). I have only kayaked through the Canyon and hiked some of the popular side canyons. I had run out of water a few miles earlier and noticed a gallon of water on a picnic table. I even got all turned around once, thought I found the trail, but ended going up the trail I had just come down. Half of it is rugged and rocky, the other half is smooth but very crooked, widing around all the bushes and cactus. It was an amazing experience and I am so very thankful for being able to experience this dream run. The Tonto Trail will also act as a shakedown hike and training hike for my 2019 Pacific Crest Trail thru -hike attempt. Great write-up. I then just needed to be patient and careful. Image via Peretz Partensky. During the summer of 2020, the Bush Fire burned 193,455 acres and forced a closure of the Arizona National Scenic Trail that will likely last until Spring of 2021. She noticed my Hokas and I explained all about them. The evening before, there had been 50-mph winds at the South Rim and the Canyon below was very hazy with dust. Facing a chilly night in the 40s without it, didn’t sound fun. The further I went, the better my navigational skills developed. I bid goodbye and continued my run, now steep downhill into the Grand Canyon on the South Bass Trail. During the autumn, I would never hear these frogs in the canyon. For the last three miles to South Bass, I ran on the main dirt road. He had hiked down and up the South Bass Trail to the river and back today. I suspect Scott Jurek and Joe Grant covered this segment a couple hours faster in 2010, I’ll try to find out. Getting Lost. Those areas are also calling for me to run there. After dropping out for my senior fall semester of school at UNH. How great was this! Wow, I had a signal. For most of the hike you will be in the back of the Bright Angel Fault, surrounded closely by the canyon walls. At times it was very slow, but I kept catching and passing hikers going up. It just doesn’t receive much boot traffic. So I cut my late afternoon run short and returned, finding my camp undisturbed. After slow going for awhile, I continued cross-country back to the road. Hiking the PCT has been a long-gestating goal. My Hokas just were not keeping the blisters away. Soon I finally found the trail again and was on my way. Wow- of all your runs, I found this one most intriguing and unique, with good descriptions and lots of photos. However, I did it solo. (However, it turns out there were snow patches just below the rim in the trees that I could have used, so my plans were valid.). I had to stop many times along the way just to gasp and the beauty and take pictures. I now hoped to get in 40 miles before dark and do 30 miles before dawn. One was very big and would work nicely. I got a surprise about 2/3 of the way as the desert area suddenly had a grov eof trees and a muddy stream to cross. There were several cars parked there. (The day is two hours longer than the night). Drinking water, privies, picnic tables and shade make this a … Dave, If I went all the way, that would be only 100 per hour. He jumped, really startled. Temperatures can reach 120 degrees in places and there is very little shade. A permit is also required to spend a night below the rim, which is typically difficult to obtain. Your email address will not be published. Super Connector by HAZ_Hikebot. Hot and dry in summer. I knew that I was way behind my planned schedule, now two hours behind. I parked my car at the Bright Angel Trailhead and caught the Hermit Rest shuttle. So my starting point would be at South Bass. This trip report actually begins at the confluence of Tonto Creek and Haigler Creek and follows Tonto Creek 17 miles* to Gisela with an elevation loss of 1000 ft. For instructions to the confluence please see the Hellsgate trip description. I also warned them about my stinky state. TONTO TRAIL EAST DISTANCES April 2018 use area code >>> BA9 BB9 BB9 BC9 BC9 BD9 BD9 BE9 BF5 Horseshoe Mesa - BG9 BH9 Grapevine Creek BJ9 n BJ9 - Little Colorado CBG - CIG ea <<< use ar code TONTO TRAIL EAST DISTANCES (miles) Tanner Beach Tannner Trailhead Cardenas Creek Nevills Rapids Hance Rapids New Hance Trailhead Hance Creek Grandview Trailhead Cottonwood … It is generally not cairned, but if you lose the trail, as is inevitable, youll find it again if you know your overall direction, grateful to be back after having been shredded by the merciless blackbrush, which forms the dominant plant cover on the Tonto platform. There was absolutely no one else in South Bass Canyon. The Tonto Trail is like a contour line on your map. As part of that, I also spent about 55 hours running the trail at night. She was very surprised to see me running and doing so with such a light pack. I was glad to get away from that place of death where the Indians used to also take their dead. I enjoyed your report and photos. Conveniently, a park shuttle is available from the trail to Mather Campground. It was so great to be out running in the cool morning. Elevations: 3,600 feet (1,097 m): Tonto Platform (Red Canyon) 2,800 feet (853 m): Tonto Platform (Garnet) Length: 95 miles (152.9 km): Garnet Canyon to Red Canyon . This trip requires that cars be left at both ends of the trailhead (Gisela and Little Green Valley). How lucky is that? 3,600 feet (1,097 m): Tonto Platform (Red Canyon)2,800 feet (853 m): Tonto Platform (Garnet), 95 miles (152.9 km): Garnet Canyon to Red Canyon. It looks like they went from South Bass to New Hance in 32 hours. I love running at night. This combination worked great. Day Hiking the Arizona Trail It took them out. Oh well, the morning was cool, and I was sure to find patches of snow just below the rim at the South Bass trail. I’ll find out more.) They mentioned that they had also camped here last April and wondered if I was one of the guys who were also running that trail then. To make things hard, it constantly changes back and forth between smooth and rugged. I warned them that I really stunk badly. “Good luck with that,” was my thought, “I’ll stay in my shoes.”. I filled up and treated the water with iodine and was on my way again. I crossed Serpentine canyon (mile 3.9) at 6:35 a.m. I asked them if I was going the right way. Well, I came pretty close to my goal, and probably accomplished something no one has done before. Photograph by Michael Mohr, Redux South Rim starts. Tonto Trail; Trail summary. I reached Grapevine Creek (mile 71.1) at 7:26 a.m.   A group of backpackers were starting to break their camp and they all came out to greet me with excitement. Running the Tonto Trail June-August could be a death sentence. I enjoyed your report as I always do. This trail, which you'll hike for the next 12-plus miles, yields fantastic mid-canyon views every step of the way. Start Date: Friday, August 2. That was very interesting to me, the first time that I had heard of other runners trying to run the trail end-to-end. Seeing the canyon in moonlight is a sight that fails words to describe. It mostly worked, but it sure would have been nice to have a sleeping bag. They don’t last very long. Thru-hike: 1. Viewing these from down in the canyon are even more spectacular than from the rim. This is amazing. My fastest mile was a 13:44 and I was very proud of that. Hikers seldom follow the entire Tonto Trail, normally using it to connect with rim-to-river routes. When I got your text mid-canyon I was shocked and amazed. Next morning, trace the rim of the ever-deepening canyon to the Tonto Trail, and turn west. I quickly discovered that despite some descriptions, this trail is probably the easiest of the unmaintained trails. 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