blue marble adventure
How Do I Get a Permit for Havasu Falls?

How Do I Get a Permit for Havasu Falls?

How to get to Havasu Falls:

Reservations, Permits, and Tips

Perhaps the most famous waterfalls in the American Southwest lie within the Havasupai Native American Reservation at the bottom of Grand Canyon in Arizona. The turquoise waters surrounded by towering canyons is well worth the 10-mile hike, as well as the potential harbinger of procuring the coveted camping permits. The Havasupai Tribe manages the land and there are multiple checkpoints once hikers arrive at Supai Village. Many think it’s part of the Grand Canyon, but it’s actually a side canyon called Havasu Canyon and is outside of the National Park.

HOW TO GET A HAVASUPAI RESERVATIONS / PERMITS

This is the hard part. The tribe start taking reservations at the beginning of February.  You must make your reservations online at HavasupaiReservations.com. Sounds simple enough, but permits can sell out for the year in just a few minutes! Pro Tip: You must get a 4 day/3 night reservation for this trip.  You can reserve for a bigger group and adjust your numbers before hiking in. There is no penalty for this as long as you let them know beforehand, but don’t wait until the last minute because you might not be able to get them on the phone.

Campground Phone #: (928) 448-2180, (928) 448-2121, (928) 448-2141, (928) 448-2237
Lodge Phone #: (928) 448-2111

You may call or ask us for more information about this process.

FEES

The cost for Havasu Falls permits are as follows: $100/person/night (weekdays), and $125/person/night on the weekends

OTHER COSTS IF YOU’RE NOT BACKPACKING / CAMPING

Havasupai Lodge: $145 for up to four people (plus 10% tax)
Helicopter Transport: $85 each way (first come, first serve)
Horses: $75-150 (plus 10% tax)

THE HIKE TO SUPAI VILLAGE + CAMPGROUNDS (10 Miles Total)

The trail into Supai begins at Hualapai Hilltop, where there is plenty of parking for regular vehicles (and very limited for RVs if it’s busy).
From Hualapai Hilltop, there is a quick 2 mile descent into the canyon. You will go down switchbacks, and hiking poles will come in handy.
The next 6 miles to Supai Village is relatively flat or very slow descent (which means getting out is mostly uphill).
After arriving in Supai, it is another 2 miles to the campground where you continue to descend into the canyon.

HAVASUPAI CAMPGROUNDS

The Havasu campground serves up to 250 people. Reservations can only be made by phone at 928.448.2121, but the sites are first come first serve. It took us over an hour to find a site big enough for our 13 person group. There is also drinking water available and primitive toilets. Pro-tip: Bring your own toilet paper, because sometimes they run out. A hammock and water shoes for Havasupai are also essentials!

THE FIVE WATERFALLS OF HAVASU CREEK

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Little Navajo Falls / New Navajo Falls / Upper Navajo Falls: the first set of falls you will see on the way to the campground from Supai. This one is a little confusing. Due to recent floods in 2008, the 70 ft Navajo Falls was destroyed and multiple falls have been created. Some people refer to them as Upper and Lower Navajo Falls, but the only one notated by a sign there refers to them as Little Navajo Falls. Either way, they are beautiful and worth exploring.
Lower Navajo Falls / Rock Falls:

Lower Navajo Falls – First of the Waterfalls You will encounter in Havasu Canyon

Havasu Falls: 0.5 miles away from the campgrounds. It drops over 100 feet into a beautiful pool. You will pass these falls when you’re hiking in from Supai Village to the campgrounds.
Havasu Falls – It is the most famous waterfall located in the Havasupai Indian Reservation. It’s 1.5 miles from Supai Village and is 90 -100 ft tall

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Mooney Falls: This is the largest of the Havasupai waterfalls, it’s only 0.5 miles after you pass the campgrounds but you have to descend through two tunnels, chains, and ladders. The lines can get long and it took us over an hour to get down. (Watch out for centipedes! :P)
Mooney Falls – The tallest waterfall in Havasu Canyon at 210 ft tall

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Beaver Falls: Beaver Falls is the furthest away and requires trekking through water, narrow trails, and over sketchy wooden bridges. It’s 3.5 miles each way (7 miles round trip) and a good place to cliff jump too.
Beaver Falls – The Last of the Waterfalls in Havasu Canyon. It is a 3.5 mile hike from the Havasu Campground.

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OTHER TIPS

Havasupai is subject to flash floods, so check the weather forecast and always know where to find high ground (there will be signs).
Be sure to bring your permit info and paid receipts. There are multiple checkpoints during the hike and at the campsite.
When turning onto the road to Hualapai Hilltop, drive slowly and carefully, there is a lot of wildlife and cattle on the windy road.
It can get extremely hot in the summer! To avoid the sun, leave early (like 3am early).  You can hike during the night, so bring a headlamp!
There is a small restaurant in Supai and a food stand at the front of the campground.
You just need to pack enough water to get to the campground, there is a fresh water you can refill with there.
Frequent flooding causes waterfalls to disappear and reappear. What you see now may not exist in the future.

REMINDER: Arrive early and get a campsite as soon as you can! It’s all first come first serve and can fill up quickly.  For more information or to create your Custom Havasu Falls experience, get in touch with Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism!

Going Guided

****As of 2019, the Havasupai Tribe has placed a moratorium on all commercial guiding into Havasu Canyon.  Due to overwhelming popularity, overcrowding, and lack of regulation, the tribe thought it best to place a hold on all guided tours until a proper management plan can be outlined.  Contact us for information regarding self-guided tours, and other means of support for trips to Havasu Falls.

Read our blog!

For adventure hiking vacations in a geologic time machine, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

For geological musings read The Goat’s geology blog.

Follow us on Facebookand Instagram

Explore Further, Be Wild, See Through Time — Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism

What are the Best Backpacking Trips in Grand Canyon?

What are the Best Backpacking Trips in Grand Canyon?

What are the Best Backpacking Trips in Grand Canyon?

Grand Canyon National Park can be a nearly overwhelming place.  What do I do?  Where should I go?  Even for seasoned backpackers, the choices can be endless and exhausting.  The Goat has compiled a list especially for you, outlining backpacking trips in Grand Canyon for all skill and experience levels.  Enjoy!

Grand Canyon Hermit Trail

5.  The Hermit Loop

Time: 3 days, 2 nights

Distance: 18 miles

Difficulty: Undergraduate+

The Hermit Loop is a truly classic Grand Canyon backpacking trip that can be easily accomplished over a long weekend.  It is a great hike for those who are looking to take their first backpacking foray into the big ditch, and truly hits all the highlights.  Sweeping vistas, interesting side trips, and excellent canyon history await on a trail forged originally by the “hermit of the Grand Canyon”, Mr. Louis Boucher.  The route was later improved by the Santa Fe Railroad Line in an attempt to bring mining, then tourism, into the area.

Thunder River in the Grand Canyon

4.  Tuckup Canyon via the Stairway to Heaven

Time: 7 days, 6 nights

Distance: 45 miles

Get your defibrillator, this one is not for the faint of heart.  Located in one of the most remote parts of Grand Canyon, this long, challenging loop is meant for experienced cannoneers only.  This route takes ambitious hikers down Tuckup Canyon, past Shaman’s Gallery (recognized as one of the most spectacular rock art etchings in the American Southwest), through a traverse along the mighty Colorado River, and then up Stairway Canyon.  Along the way, there are exciting climbing, route-finding, and scrambling challenges, and .  Strap in!

Thunder River waterfall in the Grand Canyon

3.  Thunder River to Deer Creek

Time: 4 days, 3 nights

Distance: 28 miles

The Thunder River to Deer Creek Loop is perhaps the North Rim’s most fabulous backpacking trip.  Multiple water sources, outstanding scenery, and a truly thunderous river.  Geologically speaking, Thunder River is one of the most unique features in Grand Canyon.  It begins as an underground river (aquifer) up on the Kaibab Plateau.  It flows along various fault lines and crustal weaknesses until it breaks loose at the contact of the permeable Esplanade Group (mostly shales) and the impermeable Redwall Limestone, quite literally thundering onto the rocks below.

South Bass Trail, Grand Canyon

2.  Rim-to-Rim via Phantom Ranch

Time: 4 days, 3 nights

Distance: 19 miles

This is the true Grand Canyon classic backpacking trip.  Starting at the North Rim, your descent begins on the North Kaibab Trail as it winds it way down to the Colorado River.  Along the way hikers are treated to unspoiled views, soaring eagles, and a well-developed trail.  Thru-hikers may  camp at Bright Angel Campground, or stay in the lodge at the famed Phantom Ranch.  From here hikers may choose to ascend either the South Kaibab Trail (shorter, steeper) or the Bright Angel Trail (more miles) and stay the second night on the Esplanade.  After cresting on the South Rim, be sure to gaze upon your North Rim starting point.  This is one of the most popular trips in Grand Canyon, so be sure to make your reservations early! For those who want an alternate, consider the Rim-to-River and Back hike.

Backpacking Stove and Shoes

1.  The Escalante Route

Time: 5 days, 4 nights

Distance: 35 miles

Carved by early Puebloan explorers of Grand Canyon, this long traverse of Grand Canyon from the Tanner Trail to Horseshoe Mesa and Grandview is perhaps one of the finest backpacking trips on the planet.  There is a little bit of everything Grand Canyon here, as hikers will encounter outrageous views of the Great Unconformity, sandy beaches, a class 3 scramble over the famous Papago Wall, and a spectacular slot canyon carved from billion-year-old Shinumo Quartzite.  This route confronts with hikers with the unimaginable scale of Grand Canyon, as it will seem as though you are climbing mountains in a canyon.  Grand!

Going Guided

Hiking and exploring Grand Canyon, or any of the National Parks, is a special experience.  Although it is possible to see these places yourself, hiring a guide is a great idea.  For instance, guiding services provide logistical support, and plan everything for your best possible trip.  They provide a great safety net on the trail, and are trained in backcountry medicine. Above all, they provide a depth of knowledge of the region that turns a walk into a true adventure.

Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism provides all of the support you need, and pairs that with expert geologist/guides.  Our backcountry meals use fresh ingredients, and are planned by a professional chef.  Furthermore, we provide top-of-the-line gear and passion for the places we explore.  In conclusion, you can visit National Parks, but going with a guide can create and even more memorable experience.  Don’t be shy, and call us!

Read our blog!

For adventure hiking vacations in a geologic time machine, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

For geological musings read The Goat’s geology blog.

Follow us on Facebookand Instagram

Explore Further, Be Wild, See Through Time — Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism

Top 5 Camping Trips in the Southwest

Top 5 Camping Trips in the Southwest

Top 5 Basecamping Trips in the Southwest

Basecamping can provide a truly wonderful experience that explores the best of both worlds in the outdoors: excellent hiking adventures by day, and comfortable accommodations by night.  Hiking in the southwestern United States provides the adventurer with endless opportunities to see outrageous and iconic scenery, experience world-famous geology, and enjoy the whimsical color tapestry that pulls at the senses.  The Goat has decided to let you in on his personal favorite hiking and camping adventures in the American Southwest, so load the car, strap in, and grab the camera ’cause we’re going outside!

5.  Death Valley National Park and Mojave National Preserve, California

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Though just the name evokes a barren wasteland of intense heat and suffering, long-time westerners know that Death Valley is one of the most fabulous places on the face of the Earth.  It is a land of extremes, but one of those extremes is intense beauty.  Being in Death Valley confronts the hiker with the dichotomy of life itself, in one breath being the lowest, hottest place in North America, in the other breath being a place with 11,000 foot mountains that receive feet of snow every winter.

In one breath being a howling desert, in the other being a place with flowing natural springs and over 1,000 different species of animal, including several like the Devil’s Hole Pupfish, that are indigenous to Death Valley and only Death Valley.  To the east of Death Valley lies the Mojave National Preserve, a little-known slice of desert heaven that holds its own distinctions.

Think the largest, densest stand of Joshua Tree, icon of the Mojave, lies in Joshua Tree National Park?  Think again.  That belongs to Mojave National Preserve.  Think the tallest sand dune in the United States lies in Great Sand Dunes National Park?  Think again.  Kelso Dune, which rises nearly 900 feet above the desert floor reigns supreme, right in the heart of the Mojave National Preserve.  Death Valley and the Mojave National Preserve is a southwestern adventure that is not to be underestimated in its grandeur, taken for granted in its diversity, or passed up by the outdoor adventurer.

4.  North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

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The visitation to Grand Canyon is well-documented.  Last year alone (2015) Grand Canyon National Park received over 6 million visitors for the first time in its history, breaking the string of a decade at over 5 million.  To say it is well-loved is a bit of an understatement, and for good reason; It’s the Grand Canyon.  However, over 90% of people that visit Grand Canyon visit the easily accessible South Rim, and only 5% of total people that visit actually go below the rim, given that the average visit time to this fabulous natural wonder is about 2.5 hours.

This leaves us with the isolated, lonely North Rim.  Grand Canyon’s North Rim, which soars to over 8,500 feet on the Coconino Plateau, sees about 1/10 of the visitors that flock to the South Rim; good news for you.  From the North Rim, hikers and campers are treated to all the dramatic vistas, epic geology, and fantasy of the Grand Canyon, but with a sense of solitude that can be hard to bargain for at the South Rim.  North Rim contains some of the park’s most thrilling hiking adventures, outrageous fall colors, and even brings a sense of the pioneer spirit to any of its adventures.

3.  Superstition Mountains, Arizona Sonoran Desert

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Some say it’s the views.  Some say it’s the ancient spirits.  Some say it’s the lost gold mine.  The Goat says he’s just lucky.  The Superstition Mountains, located just 45 minutes east of the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, provide some of the best hiking, backpacking, and camping opportunities near a large metropolitan area in the United States, and perhaps the world.  Hiking and exploring this fantastic wilderness from a basecamp, however, may just be the best way to see it.

Legend has it that within the Superstition Mountains lies an incredibly rich gold mine, the likes of which Arizona has never seen.  The Dutchman, Mr. Jakob Waltz (who was actually German) gave clues on his deathbed as to its whereabouts, but it has yet to be located.  Camping near the wilderness and tackling its hundreds of miles of excellent trails gives the outdoor adventurer a wonderful opportunity to search high and low, through deep canyons to 5,000 foot peaks.  Meanwhile, sweeping views, excellent and explosive geology, and in the heart of the wilderness, solitude await as you dive deep into the legends and lore of the fabulous Superstition Wilderness.

2.  Sedona, Arizona Red Rock Country

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Sedona is world famous for its grand red rock monoliths, spiritual healing power, and upscale tourist traps.  However, we geologists think of Sedona as the “Pangean Riviera”, as the beautiful rocks here tell a wonderful story of a paradise by the sea.

Though it’s lost its ocean views over the eons, Sedona is still one of the most gorgeous places in the American Southwest, and a base camping trip here will give the intrepid hiker and explorer all they can handle, from rugged red rock cliffs and world-class rock climbing, to intimate canyons, to soaring spires and outrageous sunsets whose colors can only be matched any the rocks themselves!

1.  Capitol Reef National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah Canyon Country

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This tour de force of South Central Utah’s two epic parks will forever change your vision of what Utah’s Canyon Country is truly all about.  Think you’ve seen it all?  We think you’ve seen almost nothing until you behold the majesty contained within Capitol Reef and the Grand Staircase.  Capitol Reef, home to the largest geologic structure in the southwest, harbors towering sunset red cliffs, arches, canyons, and utter solitude, with some of the best star-gazing in the lower 48.  Grand Staircase is home to some of the most rugged, thrilling, and scenic canyons and slots on the Colorado Plateau and the entire world.

Placing your basecamp near the town of Boulder, Utah will lend you, the intrepid hiking adventurer, an opportunity to ping-pong between these two giants.  The close proximity, beauty, and above all the unspoiled wilderness experience you are highly likely to obtain in these two outstanding places was the deciding factor in our countdown.  The Goat approves!

So there you have it ladies and gentleman, the Top 5 Camping and Hiking Trips in the American Southwest.  You can tackle them yourself, or to enhance your experience, you may choose to tackle them with our fabulous geologist/guides that will school you on every whit and whimsy in these beautiful rocks.  See you on the trail!

Going Guided

Hiking and exploring Grand Canyon, or any of the National Parks, is a special experience.  Although it is possible to see these places yourself, hiring a guide is a great idea.  For instance, guiding services provide logistical support, and plan everything for your best possible trip.  They provide a great safety net on the trail, and are trained in backcountry medicine. Above all, they provide a depth of knowledge of the region that turns a walk into a true adventure.

Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism provides all of the support you need, and pairs that with expert geologist/guides.  Our backcountry meals use fresh ingredients, and are planned by a professional chef.  Furthermore, we provide top-of-the-line gear and passion for the places we explore.  In conclusion, you can visit National Parks, but going with a guide can create and even more memorable experience.  Don’t be shy, and call us!

Read our blog!

For adventure hiking vacations in a geologic time machine, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

For geological musings read The Goat’s geology blog.

Follow us on Facebookand Instagram

Explore Further, Be Wild, See Through Time — Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism

 

Top 5 Backpacking Trips in the Southwest

Top 5 Backpacking Trips in the Southwest

Top 5 Backpacking Trips in the Southwest

The American Southwest is a veritable buffet of life-list adventures.  From the tame to the rugged, there is something for everyone here.  Whether you are hiking and backpacking in Utah, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, or the wild Sonoran Desert, The Goat has compiled his top 5 backpacking trips in the American Southwest just for you.  Follow along with us as we take you on a dream tour of our epic backyard.

5.  Bucksin Gulch to Paria Canyon, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Utah Canyon Country

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Simply put, this is one of the finest canyon hiking experiences in the world.  This 43-mile, multi-day point-to-point takes hikers through the longest, deepest slot canyon in North America (and perhaps the world) the Buckskin Gulch.  Towering sunset sandstone walls lead you through this coursing labyrinth, crossing the Paria River over 50 times before it dumps you out at Lee’s Ferry, the official beginning of the Grand Canyon.  Along the way hikers are treated to epic canyon scenery, including several soaring natural arches, waterfalls, natural springs, the dreaded “Cesspools,” and a pleasant grade that makes it easy to revel in the scenic and geologic wonders.  Paria Canyon and Buckskin Gulch can be done separately, but it is The Goat’s preference to get them both done in this fabulous backpacking tour of quintessential canyon hiking.

4.  Sundance Trail to Dark Canyon, Dark Canyon Primitive Wilderness, Utah Canyon Country

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Potentially the best part of this fantastic hiking and backpacking experience in the depths of Utah’s Canyon Country is that you may have Dark Canyon all to yourself.  Intrepid hikers will travel at least 2-3 hours in any direction across 4×4 roads just to reach the trailhead, which makes getting here a fabulous adventure in and of itself.  Once here, Dark Canyon presents hikers with some of the most unspoiled scenery and geology in Utah and all of the American Southwest.  Often referred to as “the Little Grand Canyon” due to its ever-changing hues and sheer cliff walls, Dark Canyon is one of the premier canyon hiking destinations in the United States.  The Sundance Trail descends a particularly rugged and thrilling ridge down into the depths of Dark Canyon, and once there, gives nearly limitless opportunities for hiking into side canyons and tributaries, each more stunning than the last.  The Sundance Trail can also serve as a simple day hike, but The Goat recommends at least two or more days in this outstanding Utah canyon wilderness.

3.  Marble Canyon via Cottonwood Canyon, Death Valley National Park, California

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Death Valley: hot, barren, and boring, right?  Wrong.  Death Valley is perhaps the most ecologically diverse and geologically astounding place in North America, and the Marble Canyon via Cottonwood Canyon backpacking route puts that on full display.  Running natural springs surrounded by towering cottonwood trees?  Check.  Polished billion year-old marble?  Check.  Slot canyons?  Check.  Solitude?  Check.  Adventurous route-finding and scrambling?  Double Check.  Backpackers and hikers typically do Marble Canyon only, however, The Goat prefers to make the Cottonwood to Marble Canyon traverse via Dead Horse Canyon, a rugged and wild adventure that will truly give you appreciation for the grandeur and diversity of Death Valley.

2.  West Canyon, Arizona Red Rock Country

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West Canyon is regarded by many (including The Goat) as the finest slot canyon on the Colorado Plateau.  It does not hold any particular distinction as far as length, depth, or width, but its scenery and slot canyoning experience is absolutely second-to-none.  Backpacking through West Canyon, the hiker is almost immediately confronted with swimming opportunities, old hogans, several dry falls that require exciting scrambling, and all this within the first mile of the canyon.  As the backpacking continues, the hiker will reach waterfalls, enormous and outrageous alcoves, and numerous opportunities for hiking into side canyons, ducking through thrilling narrows that often require a headlamp, and quintessential sunset sandstone walls that seem to bathe in the soft sunlight that reaches into the depths of the canyon.  What really puts this adventure over the top, however, is the boat trip required to reach the canyon, making West Canyon a unique and powerful experience in Red Rock Canyon Country.

1.  Tanner Trail to Grandview Point via the Escalante Route, Grand Canyon, Arizona

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This is the #1 backpacking trip in the American Southwest for one simple reason: the ultimate combination of geology and scenery.  As with any hike in the Grand Canyon, hikers are confronted with nearly 2 billion years of Earth’s history painted on the walls.  However, on the Escalante Route, hikers and backpackers get up close and personal with two of the Grand Canyon’s greatest scenic and geologic features, the Great Unconformity and the Butte Fault.  We’ll leave one of our geologist/guides to walk you through the finer points of these fabulous features, but let’s just say that they add a fabulous spice to this outrageously scenic hike that includes a class 3 scramble up the Papago Wall, delving into a slot canyon, camping at the beach, and utter solitude.  The Escalante Route presents exciting challenges and sweeping grandeur, all in the eastern part of Grand Canyon before the Colorado River enters the Inner Gorge.  This wide-open expanse will give you a true perspective on the grand scale of Grand Canyon, as you confront literal mountains within the canyon, all the way down to narrow slots and three separate Colorado River-side camps that do not disappoint.

So there you have it ladies and gentleman, the Top 5 Backpacking Trips in the American Southwest.  You can tackle them yourself, or to enhance your experience, you may choose to tackle them with our fabulous geologist/guides that will school you on every whit and whimsy in these beautiful rocks.  See you on the trail!

Going Guided

Hiking and exploring Grand Canyon, or any of the National Parks, is a special experience.  Although it is possible to see these places yourself, hiring a guide is a great idea.  For instance, guiding services provide logistical support, and plan everything for your best possible trip.  They provide a great safety net on the trail, and are trained in backcountry medicine. Above all, they provide a depth of knowledge of the region that turns a walk into a true adventure.

Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism provides all of the support you need, and pairs that with expert geologist/guides.  Our backcountry meals use fresh ingredients, and are planned by a professional chef.  Furthermore, we provide top-of-the-line gear and passion for the places we explore.  In conclusion, you can visit National Parks, but going with a guide can create and even more memorable experience.  Don’t be shy, and call us!

Read our blog!

For adventure hiking vacations in a geologic time machine, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

For geological musings read The Goat’s geology blog.

Follow us on Facebookand Instagram

Explore Further, Be Wild, See Through Time — Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism

 

 

Who is the Hermit of Grand Canyon?

Who is the Hermit of Grand Canyon?

Who is the Hermit of Grand Canyon?

Every trail in the Grand Canyon is unique and special, and the Hermit Trail is no different in that respect.  Far enough from the park’s bustling corridor trails of Bright Angel and South Kaibab to yield a feeling of solitude, yet close enough that it has amenities and its own bus stop, this is The Goat’s favorite trail on the South Rim.

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A view of Hermit Canyon coming down the Hermit Trail

The Hermit

Louis Boucher, better known as “the hermit of the Grand Canyon”, had a homestead here in the late 1800’s into the early 20th century, and built this foot-trail to access his mine.  The trail, improved by the Santa Fe Railroad in the early 1900’s as a route for hopeful mining riches, also yields one of the park’s best day hikes; to Dripping Springs.  This 6.5-mile out-and-back is a wonderful adventure for those looking to bite off a piece of the canyon, but not more than they can chew.

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Our intrepid guests descending the Hermit Trail

The geology of this hike gives a unique perspective on how the canyon took shape over the eons, particularly how the colorful buttes and mesas that make the canyon so unique were formed.  A process called “spring-sapping” is most responsible, and Dripping Springs allows its intrepid visitors to see firsthand how this process takes, and is taking place.

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Dripping Springs

As groundwater is forced to the surface at permeable/impermeable geologic contacts, it creates weaknesses along bedding planes, mechanically weathering (eroding) at the surface.  Over time, these areas break down and are subject to fallout.  As they crumble, they leave behind the impressive buttes and mesas such as Zoroaster Temple, Chuar Butte, and Vulcan’s Throne.

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Zoroaster Temple, product of “spring-sapping”

The spring itself is groundwater forced to the surface at the geologic contact between the permeable Coconino Sandstone, and the impermeable Hermits Shale.  The water coursing its way through the sandstone hits the clay-based shale and can no longer matriculate downwards, so it is therefore expelled at the contact, creating the surface spring.

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A view to the Esplanade from the Hermit Trail

Hiking Down the Canyon

On the way down to Dripping Springs, there are several other spots of tremendous geologic interest including a wall of fossils in the Kaibab Limestone, as well as reptile and amphibian tracks in the Coconino Sandstone.  The best thing about this day hike is that, once you trudge through the Kaibab, Toroweap, and Coconino formations and reach the junction of the Dripping Springs and Hermit Trails, the trail levels out and is a wonderful cruise through the bright reds and oranges of the upper reaches of the Supai Group.  A great lunch spot awaits the hikers while they watch the spring quite literally drip from the ceiling of the large Coconino Sandstone overhang.

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Sweeping views of the “Grandaddy of Them All”

The return hike, while strenuous at times once you reach the Coconino and Kaibab switchbacks, is relatively easy compared to many Grand Canyon ascents, and an early start will ensure that you escape the late afternoon southern-exposed sun rays.  The most enjoyable way to take this hike is, as always, with one of our geologist/guides; and we hope to see you on the trail soon!

Going Guided

Hiking and exploring Grand Canyon, or any of the National Parks, is a special experience.  Although it is possible to see these places yourself, hiring a guide is a great idea.  For instance, guiding services provide logistical support, and plan everything for your best possible trip.  They provide a great safety net on the trail, and are trained in backcountry medicine. Above all, they provide a depth of knowledge of the region that turns a walk into a true adventure.

Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism provides all of the support you need, and pairs that with expert geologist/guides.  Our backcountry meals use fresh ingredients, and are planned by a professional chef.  Furthermore, we provide top-of-the-line gear and passion for the places we explore.  In conclusion, you can visit National Parks, but going with a guide can create and even more memorable experience.  Don’t be shy, and call us!

Read our blog!

For adventure hiking vacations in a geologic time machine, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

For geological musings read The Goat’s geology blog.

Follow us on Facebookand Instagram

Explore Further, Be Wild, See Through Time — Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism

 

Hiking on the Mogollon Rim:  Arizona’s Hidden Gem

Hiking on the Mogollon Rim: Arizona’s Hidden Gem

Hiking on the Mogollon Rim, Arizona

With so many jaw-dropping natural features, Arizona can be almost overwhelming in terms of choices.  Let us simplify things for you: go to the Mogollon Rim.  Why?  Lakes, canyons, spectacular scenery, wildlife, solitude, cool summer weather, history, and of course, geology.

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Geology

“The Rim” is the actual edge of the Colorado Plateau, famous for the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, volcanoes, rivers, and some of the most outrageous displays of sedimentary geology in the world.  To the south lies the Transition Zone and the Basin and Range, geologic provinces characterized by extensional faulting and the Sonoran/Mojave Deserts.  It is the last bastion of the flat-lying sediments, the precipitous drop-off to the ends of the Earth.

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History

Sitting over 1000ft. higher than the land just to the south, The Rim provides a dramatic gateway to Plateau country, and has indeed been the sentinel of our beloved Plateau.  As civilization expanded with the railroad and the Westward Migration of the late 19th century, the Mogollon Rim kept large swaths of civilization away with its foreboding cliffs and complex topography.  In 1871, General George Crook was given the task of creating a throughway across The Rim from Fort Apache near present day Show Low, AZ to Fort Verde near present-day Prescott, AZ.  Today, this road serves as The Rim Road, and is the main route of travel on The Rim, providing access to all the lakes and scenic points that it offers.

Hiking

The Mogollon Rim offers nearly limitless hiking opportunities.  Simply hiking along the rim itself is a great experience.  Exploring the many canyons carved into the rim provides adventures for all levels, from easy strolls to technical descents.  The Arizona Trail runs through the rim, and is a great trail to explore if this is your first time here.

Going Guided

Hiking and exploring the Mogollon Rim is a special experience.  Although it is possible to see these places yourself, hiring a guide is a great idea.  For instance, guiding services provide logistical support, and plan everything for your best possible trip.  They provide a great safety net on the trail, and are trained in backcountry medicine. Above all, they provide a depth of knowledge of the region that turns a walk into a true adventure.

Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism provides all of the support you need, and pairs that with expert geologist/guides.  Our backcountry meals use fresh ingredients, and are planned by a professional chef.  Furthermore, we provide top-of-the-line gear and passion for the places we explore.  In conclusion, you can visit National Parks, but going with a guide can create and even more memorable experience.  Don’t be shy, and call us!

Read our blog!

For adventure hiking vacations in a geologic time machine, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

For geological musings read The Goat’s geology blog.

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Explore Further, Be Wild, See Through Time — Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism