Backpacking the Arizona Trail, Day 15: Passage 37, Grand Canyon South Rim

In the land of Arizona
Through desert heat or snow
Winds a trail for folks to follow
From Utah to Old Mexico

It’s the Arizona Trail
A pathway through the great Southwest
A diverse track through wood and stone
Your spirit it will test

Oh, sure you’ll sweat and blister
You’ll feel the miles every day
You’ll shiver at the loneliness
Your feet and seat will pay

But you’ll see moonlight on the borderlands
You’ll see stars on the Mogollon
You’ll feel the warmth of winter sun
And be thrilled straight through to bone

The aches and pains will fade away
You’ll feel renewed and whole
You’ll never be the same again
With Arizona in your soul

Along the Arizona Trail
A reverence and peace you’ll know
Through deserts, canyons, and mountains
From Utah to Old Mexico

“The Arizona Trail,” Dale R Shewalter

Unfortunately, I feel like the past few days off have broken my rhythm in terms of mileage. I spent last night with some friends on the South Rim before returning to camp for the night. Unfortunately, it seems I left my wallet at Maswik when I stopped there for dinner. So I’m up early, and head back to pick up my wallet at Maswick. I also grab some more cold weather gear at the Market before returning to the trail. I push through about 6 miles on the day across the Coconino Plateau, hiking across more limestone ridges, rice grass meadows, scrub, and pines with gambel oaks. The trail ultimately passes through an area that seems the subject of a recent prescribed burn shortly before I call it for the night. The oaks aren’t quite the aspens but they are putting on a good show as well. Tonight is going to be a cold one; I set up the tent for the frst time on the trip to combat that. All clothes and electronics are in my sleeping bag tonight. The forecast is for the temperature to go down to 16ºF tonight, but unlike the Kaibab there’s no wind, so here’s hoping it’s a bit more manageable. Fingers crossed.

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AZT sign, showing 113 miles to Utah, 688 to Mexico
Arizona Trail, Passage 37 (Grand Canyon South Rim)
Kaibab National Forest
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Reentering the ponderosas hiking on the AZT
Arizona Trail, Passage 37 (Grand Canyon South Rim)
Kaibab National Forest
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Backpacking past gambel oaks amid ponderosa pines
Arizona Trail, Passage 37 (Grand Canyon South Rim)
Kaibab National Forest
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Hiking past Gambel oaks in fall foliage amid ponderosa pines & rice grass
Arizona Trail, Passage 37 (Grand Canyon South Rim)
Kaibab National Forest
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Backpacking past Gambel oaks in fall foliage amid ponderosa pines & rice grass
Arizona Trail, Passage 37 (Grand Canyon South Rim)
Kaibab National Forest
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Hiking past Gambel oaks in fall foliage amid ponderosa pines & rice grass
Arizona Trail, Passage 37 (Grand Canyon South Rim)
Kaibab National Forest
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Backpacking past Gambel oaks in fall foliage amid ponderosa pines & rice grass
Arizona Trail, Passage 37 (Grand Canyon South Rim)
Kaibab National Forest

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National Park Quest: Tonto National Monument

Backpacking the Arizona Trail’s Saddle Mountain Passage from near Saddle Mountain to Sycamore Creek at the start of the Pine Mountain passage. More magnificent Arizona mountain views of the central Mazatzal peaks and ridgelines, and a gorgeous Arizona sunset.

Logistics, trail journal, and magnificent mountain scenery.

Backpacking the Amazing Arizona Trail – Inspiration Point to Roosevelt Cemetery (Passages 20 & 19, Four Peaks to Superstition Mountains)

Backpacking the Arizona Trail’s Saddle Mountain Passage from near Saddle Mountain to Sycamore Creek at the start of the Pine Mountain passage. More magnificent Arizona mountain views of the central Mazatzal peaks and ridgelines, and a gorgeous Arizona sunset.

Logistics, trail journal, and magnificent mountain scenery.

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Passage 37 (Grand Canyon South Rim)
Trail SurfacePaved
Dirt singletrack
Forest road
Length (Mi)23.5
SeasonApril-November
Potential Water SourcesGrand Canyon Village (99.9 SOBO, 688.8 NOBO)
Tusayan (105.1 SOBO, 683.6 NOBO)
Upper TenX Tank (113.4 SOBO, 675.3 NOBO)
Watson Tank (116.3 SOBO, 672.4 NOBO)
TrailheadsNorth: South Kaibab Trailhead (Yaki Point)
South: Grandview Lookout
Trailhead AccessNorth: Shuttle & foot access
South: Vehicular access (graded dirt road)
WildernessNo
Possible resupply pointsGrand Canyon Village
Tusayan
ATA-Rated DifficultyEasy
Potential campsites (mileages S to N)FR 328 south of Grand Canyon National Park boundary
Area east of Tusayan has numerous options
HazardsHeat – wear a cotton shirt so you can soak it. Synthetics aren’t great in the desert.

Hyponatremia – “drunk on water.” To avoid, ensure adequate salt & electrolyte intake and ensure you eat as well as drink water. Symptoms are almost identical to dehydration, but drinking more makes it worse. Prevention is by far the best solution.

Dehydration
Ecosystems TraversedGreat Basin Conifer Woodland (edge of Grand Canyon)
Rocky Mountain Montane Conifer Woodland (remainder of passage)
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Rocky Mountain Montane Conifer Woodland Canyon Edge (Great Basin Conifer Woodland)
Common Trees/Shrubs* Ponderosa Pine
* Southwestern white pine
* Subalpine fir
* White fir
* Rocky Mountain maple
* Bigtooth maple
* Grey alder
* Red birch
* Red osier dogwood
* Cliffbush
* Mallow ninebark
* New Mexican locust
* huckleberry
* bilberries
* Gambel oaks



Pinyon Pine
Juniper
Gambel oaks
Common herbaceous plants* fringed brome
* Geyer’s sedge/elk sedge
* Ross’ sedge
* Bronze sedge/dry land sedge/hillside sedge/hay sedge/Fernald’s hay sedge
* screwleaf muhly
* bluebunch wheatgrass
* Spruce-fir fleabane
* wild strawberry/Virginia strawberry
* Small-flowered woodrush
* mountain sweet Cicely
* bittercress ragwort
* western meadow-rue
* Fendler’s meadow-rue
Rabbitbrush
Stansbury cliffrose
Common succulentsBanana yucca
Claret cup hedgehog cacti
Passage 31 & 33 Ecology (source: Arizona Trail Association AZT Guide & NatureServe). Only California and Texas are more diverse ecologically than Arizona.
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