Grandview Trail Hike

Grandview Trail To Horseshoe Mesa Hike

In This Guide
  • Turn-by-Turn Hike Directions & Video
  • Fitness Level and Gear to Hike to Horseshoe Mesa
  • Tips on Weather, Parking, and Planning for Grandview Trail
Distance6 miles (9.7 km)
Hike Time4-5 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Hard
Total Ascent (?)2,760 feet (841m)
Highest Elevation7,400 feet (2256m)
Fees & PermitsNational Park Entry Fee
Dog FriendlyNo
Park Website (?)Grand Canyon National Park
Park Phone928-638-7888
Stay In Touch - - -

Easily the toughest and most rugged of the Grand Canyon Park Service’s recommended day hikes, the Grandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa is not for the faint of heart. The trail was built in 1893 by miners, and after a few minutes on the Grandview, you’ll realize that people were a lot tougher back then. The route is an engineering marvel, with steep cobbled sections and wood cribs hugging the cliffside that lead down to an abandoned mine site at Horseshoe Mesa. This day hike offers expansive views, natural beauty, and a break from the Grand Canyon crowds.

Don’t forget to check out my Grand Canyon hiking tips here!

How to Get to the Grandview Trail

The Grandview Trail is located at Grandview Point, about a 15 minute drive east from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center (South Rim). The trailhead at Grandview Point is at the scenic overlook; expect lots of tourists. But it’s far enough away from the main South Rim attractions that there’s almost always parking at the trailhead area.

Use this trailhead address:
Grandview Point, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023

Grandview Trail Parking
The trailhead is down the paved path to Grandview Point at the end of the parking lot. If you are camping, use the spots in the parking lot further back from the overlook.
Grandview Trail Directions 3
There’s a decent amount of parking on the loop road at Grandview Point. It’s the kind of place where people come and go, so if there’s no parking, just wait a few minutes and someone will leave.
Grandview Trail Directions 2
There are toilets in the parking area but otherwise none along the trail.

There is no water at the trailhead or on the Grandview Trail, so fill up before you get here.

Gear for the Hike

Even though it’s only 6 miles, this is a tough hike and I recommend having backcountry hiking gear. In the warmer months I bring 2-3L of water. There is no water source along the trail and the springs that are close to the Grandview Trail are not reliable and/or contain arsenic. Trekking poles will help on the steep sections of the Grandview, of which there are many. And because this is a more remote trail, I bring enough gear in case of an emergency.

As the Parks Service says in their literature, “Know how to rescue yourself. YOU are responsible for your safety and the safety
of your family and friends. Rescue is not guaranteed, and assistance may take hours or days due to weather or other emergencies.”

In the winter or colder months this trail is not a good option unless you’ve had experience on it already. Ice can make the already steep and slick sections treacherous. I hiked the Grandview Trail in May once, when the temperatures were high, and there was still ice on some of the shady sections. And even with micro-spikes, it was dangerous, so I turned around. Summer and Fall are great times to do this hike.

FYI >> REI 50% Clearance Sale on now

La Sportiva Spire

I try a lot of hiking boots and shoes, and there are some great options out there, but the La Sportiva Spire is the best combination of comfort, protection, low-weight, and durability. They are waterproof, and the high cuff keeps debris out without the need for a gaiter. Time tested over thousands of miles. Use them with a two-layer sock system to end blisters for good.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: WomenMen

Osprey Talon

On a medium or longer hike I recommend a pack like the Osprey Talon 33 (men) or Osprey Sirrus 36 (women) which is a little bit larger. These packs are on the upper end of the (35L) daypack range, but they only weigh a small fraction more than a pack with less capacity. Having the extra space gives you more flexibility and means you don’t have to jam things in there. I use the space for things like extra layers in the winter, extra water on desert hikes, and even a tent & sleeping bag on overnights.

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI.

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated January 2020.See All of My Best Gear Picks Here

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

Grandview Trail Condition

Before we dive into the maps, let’s talk about the condition of the trail. The trail was built by miners in the early 1890s and is an engineering marvel that cost $12,000 (about $350,000 in today’s dollars). While most native trails follow natural fault lines or natural features to the bottom of the Canyon, the Grandview Trail was built to get miners up and down as quickly as possible. They built a cobblestone ramps on the steep sections from Grandview Point. On sections where no path was possible, they created “cribbing” out of logs and added a path to the side of the cliff.

Grandview Trail Cobblestones
Here’s an example of the “cobblestone riprap” surface that you’ll find on many of the steep sections of trail. Large slabs of sandstone are placed edgewise against each other to provide a durable surface that doesn’t washout with rains.
Grandview Trail Directions 32
And here’s an example of the log cribbing holding the trail up against the cliff walls. the logs are held in place by chains or steel pins and provide a foundation for the trail.
Grandview Trail Directions 14
You can still see evidence of where they drilled into the canyon wall and blasted.

I already mentioned that you shouldn’t try this in winter or cooler months unless you have previous experience here, but even in good conditions this trail can be challenging. At some points the Grandview is about 18 inches wide and some points have drops of 100 feet or more down the side. Unlike the main corridor trails (Bright Angel, South & North Kaibab), the Grandview Trail is not actively maintained or built to any standards. However, it is looked after by the Parks Service and when sections get damaged or washed out, they fix them.

This hike is listed as a recommended day hike in the official Grand Canyon National Park publications, but it still has its hazards. People have fallen and died here, although more people die taking selfies from the rim. I mention it because you need to be focused and vigilant when on the trail, watch your footing, and take care if passing other hikers.

Because the trail is so steep in tricky, plan on going down at the same rate as you climb back out.

Camping at Horseshoe Mesa

You can overnight at Horseshoe Mesa; there are 3 regular campsites, 1 large group campsite, and primitive toilets. You need a backcountry permit to overnight here. If you want water, it’s a steep descent (and climb back) to the only reliable water sources at Hance Creek and Page Spring (aka Miners Spring). Page Spring has high arsenic levels, so have fun with that. Both sources should be treated with a water filter.

Other nearby camping options include Cottonwood Creek Campground (not to be confused with Cottonwood Campground on the North Kaibab Trail) and a dispersed area beside Hance Creek just below the Tonto Trail.

If you camp, you need rodent protection. Ravens will also make quick work of unattended packs and can open zippers with their beaks.

Grandview Trail Maps

Click To View Map

Grandview Trail To Horseshoe Mesa Hike Map Downloads

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Fenix 6 Pro

I’m a big fan of GPS watches to follow my GPX track (which I also use as a sleep, wellness, and fitness tracker) and my current watch is the Fenix 6 Pro Solar (full review here). I load my GPX tracks onto the watch to make sure I’m in the right place, and if not, the onboard topo maps allow me to navigate on the fly. It’s pricey but it has a great battery, accurate GPS, and tons of functionality. If you want something similar without the maps and big price tag, check out the Garmin Instinct which is a great buy and does a lot of the same things.

Hike Landmarks

LandmarkDistance Elevation
Grandview Point07400
Coconino Saddle16400
Steep Section End1.35670
Page Spring Junction2.64970
Horseshoe Mesa34900

Elevation Profile

Grandview Trail Elevation
This profile gives you an idea of how steep the trail is. The second half of the descent levels out but has enough up and down to make it slow going.

3d Map

Grandview Trail 3d Map
Here you can see that roughly the first half of the hike is steep and goes down the canyon wall, and then follows the ridge down to Horseshoe Mesa.

A Quick Grandview Trail History

How to Hike the Grandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa

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Video Directions

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Turn by Turn Directions

Grandview Trail Directions 5
From the parking area, walk down the paved section to the Grandview Point overlook. The trail starts towards the end on the right.
Grandview Trail Directions 4
The trail can be hard to spot. It is located to the left of the trail information sign.
Grandview Trail Directions 6
The first hundred feet or so are dirt and are usually crawling with tourists.
Grandview Trail Directions 7
After the initial confused area where tourists grab selfies, the trail is easier to follow and starts heading down some stairs built in recent years by the Park Service.
Grandview Trail Directions 8
Soon after the nice new stairs you’ll reach the first cobbled section. Again, take your time and watch your footing.
Grandview Trail Directions 9
After some steep sections there’s a reprieve on a long traditional trail section.  You can see Horseshoe Mesa in the distance.
Grandview Trail Directions 10
After the gradual section you’ll descend a portion of the trail held in by log cribbing.
Grandview Trail Directions 11
And after that more cobblestones. These cobble sections are usually extremely steep.
Grandview Trail Directions 12
Keep right and avoid the small trail to the side. There are a few small spur use trails to overlooks, but in general the main trail is very easy to follow.
Grandview Trail Directions 13
More cobblestone stairs as you approach Coconino Saddle ahead.
Grandview Trail Directions 16
You’ll get some sweet views to the east and west from Coconino Saddle.
Grandview Trail Directions 15
At Coconino Saddle head down to the left of the ridge.
Grandview Trail Directions 17
There’s a narrow part along a section that gets washed out a lot. Go slow, use trekking poles, and watch your footing.
Grandview Trail Directions 18
From here on out you follow the ridge down to Horseshoe Mesa, which you’ll see ahead. Unfortunately the trail has a lot of boulders and up and downs. It’s not a fast trail that you can cruise on.
Grandview Trail Directions 19
The trail continues down gradually along the ridge. It’s easy to follow but a bit primitive.
Grandview Trail Directions 20
As you approach Horseshoe Mesa the trail levels out and widens.
Grandview Trail Directions 21
At the intersection for Page Spring, keep to the left.
Grandview Trail Directions 26
You might notice some of these radiation warning signs. There is naturally occurring radioactive rock in the area.
Grandview Trail Directions 22
Continue to the huge looming mesa in front of you.
Grandview Trail Directions 23
Keep right at the junction for Cottonwood Creek.
Grandview Trail Directions 24
And when you reach this sign, you’ve made it to Horseshoe Mesa.
Grandview Trail Directions 33
You can check out the old cook house ruins.
Grandview Trail Directions 25
You’ll see a few old rusty artifacts around the area. Please leave them all as-is. The Last Chance Mine is on the Register of Historic Places and these items are protected as historical artifacts, even if it just looks like rusty junk.

There are use trails up to the mesa and some overlook areas if you have the energy. You can also explore Cave of the Domes on the left side of the mesa and down a small trial market by cairns. It’s the only officially “open” cave in Grand Canyon without a permit. Otherwise from here you turn around and head back up the way you came.

Grandview Trail Directions 27
As you ascend the ridge you’ll see Grandview Point up head to the right. That’s where you’re climbing out to.
Grandview Trail Directions 29
Here’s an example of a rock section along the ridge portion of the trail. It’s slow going making your way through the rocks. Keep heading up to the start of the steep section.
Grandview Trail Directions 30
And now you go up. This shot gives you an idea of the steepness of the trail.
Grandview Trail Directions 31
And from here you just climb back up to Grandview Point. And that’s the hike. It’s a tough one!

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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