Widforrs Trail (dayhike)

SA Report: Subverted expectations

Trip Date: 8/31/2017

Location: North Rim (Grand Canyon National Park)

Permit/Pass: Vehicle - $30, Motorcycle - $25

Trail maps: nps.gov

Directions: From Kanab, Utah, take Hwy 89A (also S 100 E) south toward the Arizona state line. Follow 89A for 36.6 miles as it goes through Fredonia, Arizona (where it turns toward the east), then turns south again to head up onto the Kaibab Plateau. Upon reaching the Jacob Lake area turn right onto AZ-67 S. Follow the road south through the forest for 40.8 more miles, passing through the national park kiosk and finally reaching right turn onto Point Sublime Trail - a gravel road. Follow the road around a meadow and out to the parking area for the Widforrs trailhead. Although the road continues on you can tell you have reached your destination by the restroom on the west side of the lot.

Synopsis: As ten-mile hikes go you're not going to find many that offer the payoffs this one does. There are spectacular canyon views along the way and at the point, wonderful forest habitat (and, during wildflower season, excellent displays), great spots to pull of the trail and contemplate the scenery - all in a package that doesn't include a couple-thousand feet of elevation gain. It does get a bit samey after a while, but when the sameness is reliably amazing that's a good thing.

Trail sequence: Widforrs Trail

Type: Out and back

Distance: 10.1 miles

Elevation: Min. - 7943', Max. - 8286'



Rating: Moderate-Difficult (factors: altitude, length)

Notes: Some sources list the Widforrs Trail at just five miles. There is a shady overlook spot in the middle of the outbound hike that serves as a good place to stop and turn around, but we recommend following the trail all the way around Transept Canyon and out to Widforrs Point.

Track: Widforrs Trail - Grand Canyon NP: AllTrails, GaiaGPS


Turn by Turn:

  -- After parking head over to the trailhead on the southern side of the parking area and begin the hike on a gradual, southerly ascent before soon turning to the west to get to the canyon rim.

  -- The trail dips and climbs, and jogs in and out of ravines, but for the most part hugs the cliffs and offers views off to the left as you hike to the southwest. At just under two and a half miles you come to a spot where the trail cuts back to the north and descends. Here there is some good shade and rocks for taking a break. If you don't have the time for the full hike, this is also a good place to turn around.

  -- As you press on the path eventually turns to the south and drops away from the rim into a swale. This forested area is cooler and a nice change from the canyon scenery. At about three and a quarter miles the trail turns to the east and begins climbing again as it works toward Widforrs Point.

  -- At the point itself there are several spots to investigate, rest and eat. The guide maps even show a picnic table just before the end of the trail, but the one we saw was pretty dilapidated.

  -- The hike back returns along your outbound route. There are no spur trails or junctions that we could see, so there should be little chance of losing the way back to the parking area.

Photos: Flickr

Video: Video