We’ve finally made it through the summer! Do we dare say 100 degree days are behind us? Maybe we’ll whisper it just to be safe. As expected, as the weather cools in the desert it’s also cooling in the high country. This means color! Fall leaves will soon be decorating the mountainsides with an array of oranges, golds, reds and browns. Fall in the Arizona mountains is something you don’t want to miss! In this article by azcentral.com you will find detailed information on areas all over the state that offer amazing opportunities to witness this beautiful time of year. Keep in mind that depending on the region it could be early October to mid November before some of the leaves begin to turn. The US Forest Service has provided a website that will give you all the information on when certain regions come alive and how quickly you need to start planning your trip.
Staying with our Friday theme by highlighting a cooler weekend destination, we’ve decided to showcase the North Rim of the Grand Canyon this week. Some may argue the North Rim has more spectacular views than the South Rim and with 1/5 of the visitors than on the south side the North Rim is definitely worth the extra 5 hour drive. The average high temperatures in August hover right around a refreshing 75 degrees and with a variety of hiking and lodging this is a perfect getaway. Due to the fact that it is about a 6 hour drive from Phoenix we recommend you get on the road early. Also, if you can swing it – consider taking a 3 day weekend in order to enjoy all that the area has to offer.
We found a very informative website that highlights the north side of the park and we’ve shared information on the hiking trails below. This was originally published by Hit the Trail and if you would like more information on the area you can follow this link to their site.
Highly recommended as your first hike upon arriving at the North Rim! It is only ½ mile each way, paved, and takes you to one of the most spectacular views at Grand Canyon. A fabulous walk to during sunset to emphasize all the details and dimensions obscured mid-day when the sun is directly overhead. Since it does follow a ridge line for part of its distance, I have seen a few people who were troubled by the drop offs and unable to walk out to the point. Try it before you decide to not to hike to it; it is a sight to behold! The trail begins at the log shelter in the parking area by the Visitor Center or at the corner of the back porch behind the lodge.
To get the most out of your visit to the point, download the park’s brochure for Bright Angel Point in PDF format (1.65 MB).
Another wonderful hike located right in the village area of the North Rim. The Transept Trail connects Grand Canyon Lodge to the North Rim Campground and follows the rim of a side canyon called Transept. Although not paved, it is an easy trail that doesn’t have any terrible drop offs along its edge to discourage those with a fear of heights. The trail takes you through Quaking aspens and ponderosa pines, making a very pleasant walk that isn’t too demanding for most people.
The Uncle Jim Trail begins at the North Kaibab Trail parking lot and is 2.5 each way. It winds through the forest and comes out to a spectacular point that looks out over the canyon and the North Kaibab Trail switchbacks. It is a pleasant enough trail, but since it is used by mules, let’s just say that the scent of pine tress is not the prevalent “fragrance” here!
The North Kaibab Trail is the only maintained trail from the North Rim that can take you all the way down to the Colorado River. It is 14 miles one way to the river—with over a mile drop in elevation—and NOT a day hike. However, there are several destinations that make great day hikes. Do be aware that the trail begins at 8,000 feet in elevation, and therefore is pretty strenuous hiking back out no matter how you look at it!
In spite of this challenge, I highly recommend a hike to the Coconino Overlook for nearly anyone. To get to this incredible viewpoint is only ¾ mile one way and provides one of the greatest views to be seen from the North Rim. It is one of my favorite spots along the North Kaibab Trail!
Another ½ mile from the Coconino Overlook, two miles from the rim, is the Supai Tunnel. This is the turning around point for the short day mule trips. There are toilets here as well as a water faucet (check availability before counting on water here). This is a common turn around point for day hikers who don’t want to get into much strenuous hiking. Be very careful leaving packs unattended here as the squirrels can destroy them in seconds looking for food!
Nearly five miles and 3050 feet down will take you to Roaring Springs. This is an extremely strenuous hike and takes a full day to do. It can also be extremely hot in the inner canyon, especially when compared to your starting point on the rim, and requires carrying up to one gallon of water per person. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get started as early as possible. I am not exaggerating when I recommend that you start no later than dawn. You can’t know how important this is until you are stuck below the rim in oven-like temperatures! Roaring Springs is the turn around point for the long mule rides. No mule rides go beyond Roaring Springs; Phantom Ranch can only be accessed by mule from the South Rim.
A very pleasant, relatively level hike through the aspen and pine forest. The trail ends at the rim of the canyon, 2½ miles distance one way. A great hike to take a picnic lunch along. To access the trailhead, watch for the dirt road located one mouth south of the Scenic Drive/Cape Royal Road. Drive in ¼ mile to the Widforss Trail parking area.
To get the most out of your hike, download the park’s brochure for the Widforss Trail available in PDF format (1.75 MB).
10 mi. / 16 km one-way; 6 hours approximate one-way hiking time. Winds through the forest and along the rim from Point Imperial to the North Kaibab Trail parking area.
4.0 mi. / 6.4 km round-trip; 2 hours approximate round-trip hiking time. A 2-mile walk from dirt parking area to Cape Final. This trail offers a view of the canyon.
1.0 mi. / 1.6 km round-trip; 1 hour approximate round-trip hiking time. Meanders down a forested ravine and ends where a chest-high boulder rests under a large overhang. The spring is on the cliff side of the boulder. Please do not drink the water as it may be contaminated. Trail begins directly across the road from a small pullout on a curve 0.3 miles/0.5 km down the road from Cape Royal.
0.6 mi. / 1.0 km round-trip; 30 minutes approximate round-trip hiking time. An easy walk on a flat, paved trail providing views of the canyon, Angels Window, and the Colorado River. Markers along the trail interpret the area’s natural history. Trail begins at the southeast side of the Cape Royal parking area.
Point Imperial Trail
4.0 mi. / 6.4 km round-trip; 2 hours approximate round-trip hiking time. This easy trail passes through areas burned by the 2000 Outlet Fire and ends at the north park boundary. From there connections are possible to the Nankoweap Trail and U.S. Forest Service roads.
Roosevelt Point Trail
0.2 mi. / 0.3 km round-trip; 20 minutes approximate round-trip hiking time. This trail is a short, secluded woodland loop with spectacular views. Offers benches for relaxed enjoyment of the canyon.
Safe travels and have a great weekend everyone!!!
As we hope you are all aware, this Sunday, June 15th is Father’s Day. If you’re still tossing around ideas on how to show Dad how much you appreciate him maybe we can help you narrow it down a bit…
FORE! – Does Dad like to hit the links? This time of year is perfect for great rates and plenty of tee times to choose from at many of Phoenix’s finest golf courses. Make sure to get out there early though before the temperature starts rising!
Peanuts & Crackerjacks – The Arizona Diamondbacks are playing at home this Monday, June 16th against the Milwaukee Brewers. Take Dad out to a ballgame for some good old fashioned bonding over baseball. Don’t forget to bring your mitts and let’s play some ball!
Grill Master – Show Dad your appreciation by grilling him something for a change. Let Dad relax by the pool or watch the game on TV and throw some steaks on the grill. Make sure he knows you owe your grill mastering techniques all to him!
Brunch – Treat your father to a nice brunch at one of several fabulous restaurants in the Phoenix area. If you’re looking to give him a special day out then follow this link to find many restaurants toasting Dad on his special day.
Road Warriors – I don’t know about your dad, but mine has always loved a good road trip. Whether you choose to go for the weekend or just the day, Arizona has a multitude of fantastic destinations to choose from. Take a drive up to Prescott, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Tucson or anywhere in-between – just get on the road and go! Make sure you have a full tank of gas, a variety of music on your playlist and good road snacks for the journey. Hop on the road and see where it leads you. Some of the best trips are the one’s you don’t really plan out. Just make sure you remember how to get back in time for work on Monday!
However you choose to celebrate Dad this weekend we hope you and your families have a wonderful and very happy Father’s Day!
If you’re looking to get out of town this holiday weekend but haven’t decided where to go yet, we’ve got a few of Arizona’s top destinations for you to set out and explore:
1. Grand Canyon National Park – whether you’ve seen it before or it’s still on your bucket list, every time you visit the Grand Canyon you are sure to see something new and memorable. It is always an amazing place to visit and once you’ve witnessed it’s glory it is clear to understand why it has been listed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Whether you go for the day and gaze out over the rim, hike in and explore or raft the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon will never disappoint and will leave lasting memories for years and years to come. Visit Grand Canyon National Park for more information.
2. Sedona and the Verde Valley – Towering red rocks, eclectic towns and miles of vineyards. That’s right, you heard me…vineyards in Arizona! The Verde Valley is home to a variety of culture, picturesque views and outdoor adventures. From Sedona’s red rocks to Jerome‘s ghost town history you won’t have a dull moment exploring this part of Arizona. Conveniently located less than 2 hours from Phoenix this day trip worthy destination is sure to delight all walks of life. If you visit don’t forget to squeeze in a little wine tasting, AZ wines are mighty tasty!
3. Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park – One of the most photographed areas in the world. Located inside the Navajo Nation this area spans the border of Arizona and Utah. Home to unforgettable sandstone towers that can reach up to 1,000 feet high and crimson colored mesas, this surreal landscape is mesmerizing. Located just 4 hours northeast of Flagstaff. See Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation‘s website for additional details.
4. Chiricahua National Monument – You don’t want to miss the natural beauty of this southern Arizona destination. Located just 2 hours from Bisbee, AZ is the “Wonderland of Rocks” known as one of the National Park Service’s secret treasures. This unique park offers endless views of astounding rock formations also known as “Hoodoos”. The area offers an 8 mile paved scenic drive and 17 miles of hiking trails. Also stop by the visitor’s center to learn more about the flora, fauna, and ancient history of this amazing part of the state.
5. Flagstaff – Escape the heat by visiting Flagstaff, AZ. Just 2 short hours north of Phoenix this mountainous destination is loaded with things to do for the whole family. Whether your interests lead you outdoors or into town, this modern day old west pioneer town has it all. Hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, dining, theater, arts, you name it…they’ve got it! Visit Flagstaff’s website for all of the details to plan your trip!
No matter what your plans are for this upcoming 3 day weekend we hope you have a safe and happy one!