May 19, 2010
In late May I went on a long day-hike – down the Grandview Trail, and down the Lower Old Grandview Trail to the River. From there I was able to explore the mouth of Cottonwood Creek before returning to the rim.
I started at sunrise and finished after dark, despite the longer days at this time of year.
The heat was fortunately tolerable for late May.
One of the best parts of the day was the abundance of wildflowers! It was a good, snowy winter, so everything was still popping (similar to a recent hike to Cheyava Falls).
Because this was such an extensive day, I’ve split it up into 2 posts. This second post documents the route down Old Grandview, a bit of Cottonwood Creek, and the hike back up to the rim.
The Old Grandview Trail
The Old Grandview isn’t much of “trail.” It’s a historical trail, and only exists today as a steep route for experienced hikers.
Modern photos taken at the bottom of the route match up with with images from Peter Berry’s times, acting as evidence that he brought people down to the River here on occasion.
The top of the route is marked with a large cairn on the Tonto Trail, on the west side of the mouth of Cottonwood Creek. More cairns can generally be found along the way.
The Tonto trail offers some awesome views of the Inner Gorge from the area, even without descending the route. The Old Grandview serves to amplify the perspective.
Grapevine Rapid is especially prominent from the upper parts of the route
looking upstream toward Sockdolager
the lower segment of the route through the Granite and Schist
rafts heading into Grapevine
There’s nowhere viable to camp along the water, unless you’re solo with very low standards. Keep in mind that the patch of sand shown has changed or even vanished since this day in 2010, due to a series of high flow experiments and even strong winds.
The River here is calm, quiet, and secluded.
more Old Grandview photos
After climbing back up to the base of the Tapeats, it’s possible to access the mouth of Cottonwood Creek. After rounding the corner where Cottonwood comes into view, I essentially just went straight down the slope below my feet.
The first thing to catch my eye was this picturesque pour-over, where I took a self-timed portrait.
Cottonwood does not properly meet the Colorado River. It ends in a steep pour-over that blocks direct access. From near the pour-over, however, it’s possible to scramble up to the east (creek-right) to some broken terrain that lets you down to the River.
upstream at the pour-over
I went up to look at the access route, but chose not to descend to the River for a second time. I knew I still had to hike back up to the rim this evening, felt that I was beginning to press my luck, and didn’t like the look of some loose shelves that were necessary to descend.
looking down the access fault
I went back and had a nice rest in the shade at the upstream pour-over. There’s a bypass for it to the right (creek-left, the way I entered the canyon). I briefly contemplated exiting via Cottonwood to make a loop, but I hadn’t done any research and wasn’t sure of the rest of route.
I knew I wouldn’t be getting back to the trailhead until after dark, so I made the conservative choice to retrace my steps up the Old Grandview. It was already a full day.
more Cottonwood photos:
Up to the Rim
The hike up to the trailhead was an excellent walk, accentuated by the lower light of the evening.
a broken heart of stone!