November 28, 2009
Cardenas Butte is one of the more easily attained summits from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
I finally set out to do it one afternoon in November of 2009.
Located just to the west of the Tanner Trail, the way to the top is a simple scramble. No actual rock climbing is involved, as long as you take care in choosing your route. There’s numerous ways to approach the summit.
The butte itself is named after Garcia Lopez de Cárdenas. As a scout on Coronado’s 16th century expedition for the “seven cities of gold,” he was one of the first Europeans to see the Grand Canyon, and consequently credited with its “discovery.”
Cardenas Butte is pictured above – you can see how it’s fairly simple to pick your way up the slopes toward the top.
Thick clouds swiftly blew through the region. They even left an occasional rain, but never of consequence.
I abandoned the Tanner Trail where it crosses a sort of low ridge that leads east from the butte toward Tanner Canyon. I started up this ridge, but moved toward the north for easier travel.
Cardenas butte is just another peak along a ridge that parallels the Tanner Trail. It includes Escalante Butte to the south, and these features to the north (seen above, with the Palisades of the Desert in the distance).
The views at this corner of the Canyon of are always fantastic, as the red hills of the Supergroup soften the River corridor. The view at Cardenas exemplifies this, and the presence of the day’s clouds add even more to the palette.
I made back to Lipan Point just in time to view the sunset at Desert View Watchtower, and then headed home to Grand Canyon Village.