|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – January 2014
Sample the Southwest’s most distinctive scenery—from intricate to immense—on these reader favorites.
Grand Canyon NP, AZ
See the mind-bending grandeur of the granddaddy of all canyons from below the rim—without the hordes of people and mules you’d encounter on the park’s main corridor trails. “Bright Angel is like a paved highway compared to Grandview, which is rockier and has far fewer people,” Chuck Bame says. Kick off this 6-mile out-and-back from the South Rim’s Grandview Point, descending 1,200 feet in 1.1 miles to Coconino Saddle; the trail becomes steeper and rockier from here. Descend 1.9 more miles to Horseshoe Mesa, a 4,900-foot mid-canyon plateau. Savor 360-degree inner canyon views that include the spire of 7,533-foot Vishnu Temple from the scrubby mesa, which is dotted with stone remnants and tools from its 19th-century copper mining past. Retrace your steps back to the trailhead, or camp in a designated spot atop the mesa.
TRAILHEAD 35.998148, -111.987788; 87 miles north of Flagstaff off E. Rim Dr. INFO (928) 638-7888; Website