I bid goodbye and continued my run, now steep downhill into the Grand Canyon on the South Bass Trail. It was dry when I had been there before so I started to wonder if I was going the right way. Aww, man, that is some awesome trail out there! There is water in this canyon, but it is full of minerals and can give you the runs, so I skipped this water source. Nicely done, Davy! My finishing time for this 77-mile segment of the Tonto Trail was 27:56:51. Awesome adventure. If I ever get back there, I’ll be sure to consult your past reports for more info and insight. I tried to suck on Beef Jerky and that helped for awhile, but my stomach was telling me that it wouldn’t let me run fast if I didn’t feed it. This combination worked great. Also, if you are in shorts, you really slow down as your try to dodge all the thorny bushes. To avoid doing any out-and-backs, I decided to start my run where the South Bass Trail (coming down from the rim) intersects with the Tonto Trail. Soon I finally found the trail again and was on my way. I still had two full water bottles and I hoped they would last until my first good water at Ruby Canyon, at mile 8.7. I think this was the most impressive location on my run to see the buttes, peaks, etc. It is arguably also the most scenic. I needed to go down into the canyon where it would be warmer. Both Horton Creek and Tonto Creek have trout. I reached Lonetree Canyon (mile 61.6) at 3:27 a.m. There I saw a guy setting up his tent. but never thought much about ultra-running. On the way to Hermit Creek, the trail extends very close to the Colorado River gorge, very exposed in places. Finally I just had to bag the idea of holding back food and felt much better. The Tonto Trail will also act as a shakedown hike and training hike for my 2019 Pacific Crest Trail thru -hike attempt. I now hoped to get in 40 miles before dark and do 30 miles before dawn. It was nice to see people again. The trail extended toward the river gorge and I wondered if I would see any rafting companies. Permits were available because South Bass is so rarely used. I continued down toward the east junction, looking for a nice place to camp for the night. 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. Great report. Get a taste for the Grand Canyon without doing the full descent down to the Colorado along the Tonto Trail. I had readjusted my pace goal during the day. Stash water on way in for use on way out. He had hiked down and up the South Bass Trail to the river and back today. Take Care. As I rested, I readjusted my plans. 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.) 2012-09-23: chumley: 6.31 mi 1,628 ft | load nearby guides. Hikers seldom follow the entire Tonto Trail, normally using it to connect with rim-to-river routes. I arrived at the Grand Canyon on Wednesday afternoon and went to the Backcountry office to get my permit. Superior to Payson. I wondered if they could see me above them, Travertine Canyon wasn’t that bad in this direction, mostly downhill and I made pretty good time. I quickly discovered that despite some descriptions, this trail is probably the easiest of the unmaintained trails. Hi Davy! The road ahead was straight as could be and rolls up and over low ridges. It just doesn’t receive much boot traffic. This meant that I had to stop to take pictures, take some detours to peer down to the river, etc. We slowly packed up and watched an episode of That 70’s Show until our ride came to get us. I just explained that I was going a very long way and would be running all night. Calgary, Canada 302 contributions 169 helpful votes. I reached Boucher (pronounced Bu-shay) (mile 30.1) at 3:50 p.m. But as I looked closer, I discovered the noise was coming from frogs. load nearby Flora, Fauna & Geology. These sections are out close to the Colorado River as it is going around to the next side canyon. There was a sign on the windshield that explained that they were parked there doing ecology research in the area. As dawn approached, I packed up my things, and cleared up my campsite making it look like no one had ever been there. I filled up and treated the water with iodine and was on my way again. Half of it is rugged and rocky, the other half is smooth but very crooked, widing around all the bushes and cactus. Those areas are also calling for me to run there. The nearest person was camping the night in Ruby Canyon about nine miles away. It mostly worked, but it sure would have been nice to have a sleeping bag. I knew that I could be mistaken (I was) because I didn’t take the time for a careful inventory, but I decided to cut back my intake for the night. I don’t know if sleep ever came. I also warned them about my stinky state. At about 5:15 a.m., my through-run of the Grand Canyon on the Tonto Trail began! I reached my first water source, Ruby Canyon (mile 8.7). Viewing these from down in the canyon are even more spectacular than from the rim. It was great fun as I left some hikers way behind me down the trail. I had to stop many time to make adjustments to my gear, pull out more food, and stop to fill my bottles. One day perhaps, one day! That is the problem with doing this adventure in early spring. One guy caught on fast and said he was very impressed with my pace, all the way from South Bass. Not so. Start Date: Friday, August 2. Quiet hike as we saw only a couple other hikers on this section of our hike. My climb began. I’m very excited about it, and I appreciate all of the information that you have provided in your reports. I always underestimate the difficulty of running fast on this trail. After all is said and done, it feels like I finished a tough mountain 100-miler similar to Wasatch. It is pretty rugged. I had caught up with him. Indian Garden to Cottonwood Creek (miles 50-77). It wasn’t quite a 50K and I had taken 10:35. As the Tonto Platform begins to climb away from the river the trail must climb along with it. Feeling better I ran on and thought about minimalist runners trying to run down here, bonding with the ancients. I recalled having difficulty in the past, but couldn’t remember the solution. With over 500 miles on my Hokas, I think they were at end of life for something as rugged as this. The Tonto National Forest recently released a burn severity map of the Bush Fire. Finally I hit the home stretch, the last few hundred feet below the rim. I can’t believe you’ve never seen a snake in all your visits to the Grand Canyon. I could also now again hear the familiar buzz of helicopters and planes as I reached the area that they could fly over. I carefully stayed away from the edge and continued on. No write up, he only posted a few pictures. I had run out of the water that I had brought down from the rim and was now very thirsty. However, still I took a wrong turn and went an extra 0.2 miles. I approached him and called out a greeting. 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. I crossed over the creek (mile 14.9) at 10:58 a.m. I’m usually hiking in the canyon about once every week…maybe one of these days I’ll see you there! I knew what to do and what to expect. Along the way there are bail-out points to climb out of the canyon. When I reached the creek, I just filled up and went on my way. So this time I concentrated more. I had turned my lights on and the campers at Monument of course noticed my amazing green light. They all flew toward me, about 20 per hour. 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. The trail goes from Garnet Canyon on the West, to Red Canyon (Hance Rapids) on the East. Required fields are marked *, Grand Canyon through-run – 77 miles on the Tonto Trail. The trail didn’t take you all the way out to the river gorge for spectacular views. I cooked up some more soup and felt much better. I knew that my solitude would soon be over as I would start running into many backpackers setting up their camps. Instead, I could climb out before it got too hot and finish around 1 p.m. With that new plan, my spirits improved. Because of its remote nature, in some sections only a few hikers can be found on it during a week. Drinking water, privies, picnic tables and shade make this a … This is really the biggest thing I worry about. 1:14:24. Very fit runners and backpackers have died on the Tonto Trail. Seeing the canyon in moonlight is a sight that fails words to describe. Once heat stroke starts setting in, hikers on the trail do stupid things like trying to go down canyons to reach the Colorado River for water. I’m guessing I needed to go down the creek some more to find the continuing trail. He had only hiked about seven miles today. They knew exactly what I was attempting and peppered me with questions. The sun was setting now. Hiking the PCT has been a long-gestating goal. There were many campers down there and they noticed me running and pointed up to me. The Tonto Trail is not level at all, but rolls and at times takes some tough descents and climbs to cross near the red walls of the side canyon. The campers all watched me do the steep climb out of Hermit. Looking up, I could see a lone hiker’s light going up or down the Bright Angel Trail. Use instep crampons in winter. The lights of the lodges up on the South Rim came into view. This is amazing. I encountered a rattlesnake near the silver bridge the first time you took me there. I’ve backpacked almost all of the south side of the Canyon, done a R2R2R dayhike, and run one marathon…. Finally I just bushwhacked up out of the creek to the next level and then traveled the direction toward the Colorado River until I finally ran into the trail. But the Tonto Trail travels nearly three times that distance to reach the same point. Congrats on a courageous run. I crossed Sapphire Canyon (mile 17.8) at noon. I stopped and took in the remarkable view of Turquoise Canyon below and thought with amazement that I would be running in and out of that canyon tomorrow morning. You have to stop, study the surroundings, back up, and carefully find the trail again. I also chowed down on a bunch of quesadillas. I crossed Serpentine canyon (mile 3.9) at 6:35 a.m. Hermit Trail to Tonto Trail. I used the headlamp to pick out the cairns far ahead and that really saved me a lot of time and kept me on the trail. I noticed that they didn’t descend into the canyon, only flew over it. They helped me find the right trail but then stopped me to try and figure out what I was doing and where I was going. My car was still waiting for me at Bright Angel Trailhead and I quickly drove to take a shower at Mather Campground. Tonto Trail West 2016. Using a GPS can help, but is annoying to keep consulting. I soon reached the esplanade level of the canyon – a level plateau of red sand. I rested for quite awhile to bring my heart rate and respiration down. Here is an example of my first few miles:  20:23, 16:28, 16:58, 24:55, 16:16, 28:41 (feet fixing), 24:20, 25:19, 37:11 (another stop), 21:05, 18:00, 18:11, etc. A ranger lady called out a greeting. The next descent down to the Tonto was much more rugged. She quickly understood that I had good experience in the Canyon. To view the map, click here. He was so kind and offered me the entire gallon. CDT Blog Posts; CDT Advice; Search for: Search. I was kicking myself for not asking you where you’d started, but would never have guessed South Bass! You would think that the smooth parts are easier and faster. It was so great to be out running in the cool morning. John Muir Trail is in California with a length of 211 miles, taking roughly 15 to 23 days to complete a thru-hike. For my run I would be passing by five exit point opportunities to climb out of the canyon. If you thumb through the “Death in the Grand Canyon” book, you will find many entries of people losing their lives on the Tonto Trail in June-August. Help us raise $150,000 by 12/31 to hit the ground running in 2021. For more information, visit, © Copyright 2020 Grand Canyon Conservancy. I really concentrated on trying to get my pace under 20 minutes. I enjoyed your report as I always do. Walked the El Camino in Spain in 38 days. The trail is named after John Muir – an author/environmentalist from history and has 160 miles to follow the similar footpath as the Pacific Crest Trail. A permit is also required to spend a night below the rim, which is typically difficult to obtain. I hoped that I could make it on two bottles. At about 3:30 a.m., I finally got up. Before turning into Hermit, I took another look up the canyon and took in the beautiful sight of the canyon late in the day. I caught some morning shade as I made my way around Mineral Canyon, but soon I hit exposed sun, which kept me company for the rest of the day. My favorite line: “I ran on and thought about minimalist runners trying to run down here, bonding with the ancients. Read Journal... Hodge Podge Colorado Trail . Back out toward the river, I came upon a cactus in bloom. So I felt prepared, knowing what to expect, and pretty familiar with two-thirds of the trail I would be on. 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. (Turns out that those two guys were Scott Jurek and Joe Grant. There was water flowing down Boucher Creek. During this 87-mile stretch I estimate the Tonto Trail involves climbs of about 10,000 feet. Next up was civilization! View a 3D flyover of my route from South Bass to Boucher. Camp along East Horseshoe M esa Trail before connecting to the Tonto Trail. Begin at the Bright Angel Trailhead in Grand Canyon Village. It felt like I was running pretty fast, so I was always surprised at the time on my Garmin. I had no idea how far up it was. Another awesome run and write-up. Grand Canyon National Park. Now it was my turn to be startled. 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