November 30, 2012

Hike Review: Grand Canyon Tonto Trail

Tonto Trail Sign
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Title: Grand Canyon - Tonto Trail (portion Hermit Trail to Bright Angel)
Distance: 11.5 miles
Difficulty: 6 out of 10 (10 being the most difficult)
Elevation change: net change is zero, but there is a lot of up and down; in and out of side canyons
Best Time of Year: All year (very hot in the summer)
Recommended Map: Trails Illustrated Grand Canyon East #262

Summary: The Tonto Trail follows the mighty Colorado for more than 70 miles.  The section hiked here was a mere portion of that.  The trail is approximately a thousand feet above the river (tattooed into the Tonto Plateau) and offers many viewing opportunities of the churning waters.  Feeding the Colorado are numerous drainages, washes, creeks, and rivers.  The 11.5 mile section that connects the Hermit Trail and the Bright Angel Trail crosses at least four of these obstacles: Monument Creek, Cedar Spring, Salt Creek, and Horn Creek.  Each provides unique beauty and adventure and a back-country campground.  Monument Creek is the deepest and largest.  Overall the trail is well marked as it has consistent albeit light use.  Other than the climb out of Monument Creek, the trail is fairly easy.  The catch is that you have to hike 3,000 feet down and back out of the canyon to get here.

For a detailed trip report on the entirety of the Tonto Trail: Read Here.

Other Grand Canyon Reports
Previous Grand Canyon Backpack Trip