I love the mornings there as the light appears and brings the canyon to life. I bid goodbye and continued my run, now steep downhill into the Grand Canyon on the South Bass Trail. Gee, I have run a 50K in half that time before. thanks for this writeup! The campers all watched me do the steep climb out of Hermit. It just doesn’t receive much boot traffic. Hermit Trail to Tonto Trail. This trail, which you'll hike for the next 12-plus miles, yields fantastic mid-canyon views every step of the way. They knew exactly what I was attempting and peppered me with questions. My feet were already a problem. I’m very excited about it, and I appreciate all of the information that you have provided in your reports. The tights really protect the legs. I received my second wind and had a blast charging down the trail with my lights. She was very surprised to see me running and doing so with such a light pack. As part of that, I also spent about 55 hours running the trail at night. I reached Indian Garden (mile 50.4) at midnight. I believe an important part of being able to deal with the mental side of hiking is embracing not just the goal, but the process. He didn’t ask any more questions. I was glad to get away from that place of death where the Indians used to also take their dead. Running into a side canyon was always hotter because the sun was in my face and the breeze at my back. It mostly worked, but it sure would have been nice to have a sleeping bag. We were dayhiking west while you were headed east. That was very interesting to me, the first time that I had heard of other runners trying to run the trail end-to-end. It was dry when I had been there before so I started to wonder if I was going the right way. It could be done in October and November but many of the springs and creeks are dry that time of year which would require hauling heavy water for long distances. Right before reaching Horseshoe Mesa, I caught up with a guy and his son resting in the shade, doing a day hike from their camp below. Wow! He had given another guy a ride out here in the morning and I guess I could have hooked up with him too via the backcountry office. For more information, visit, © Copyright 2020 Grand Canyon Conservancy. It was getting hot. Tomorrow night he hoped to camp at Slate Canyon if there was water there. The backpackers weren’t leaving for an hour, so I decided to just start walking out toward the road to hitch-hike. There was water flowing down Boucher Creek. I was now in familiar surroundings, having visited this area twice before. Without careful attention and experience with the trail it is very easy to lose the trail and end up in a cactus patch. Perhaps I’ll see you at Cascade Crest. Over the years, the Tonto trail started as a game trail, then used by Native Americans, then by miners and now mostly by backpackers. The trek along the Tonto Trail between the Grandview and South Kaibab Trails offers experienced backpackers an excellent introduction to the magic of the Grand Canyon, with magnificent sweeping views, quiet desert streams, and a chance for solitude in a most wild and beautiful place. Calgary, Canada 302 contributions 169 helpful votes. They could be the runners that backpackers told you about. Helpful. I was surprised to see that there were little weeds growing right on the trail, sometimes making it indistinct from the surrounding terrain. Nice job! I have climbed that trail twice before so knew what to expect. In past years, I’ve had difficulty figuring out where the trail continues on the other side of the creek, but this time I knew what to expect. I wrestled and adjusted the silver blankets over and over again, blocking out the cold air (mid-40s). Getting injured. To view the map, click here. Now my task was to get back to my car at Grand Canyon Village. On the trail again, the next five miles to Boucher Canyon were long, exposed and getting hotter. Before turning into Hermit, I took another look up the canyon and took in the beautiful sight of the canyon late in the day. To avoid doing any out-and-backs, I decided to start my run where the South Bass Trail (coming down from the rim) intersects with the Tonto Trail. For dinner, I opened a sterno can and used it to heat up some soup in an aluminum cup. My feet were in bad pain but my legs were feeling great. Permits were available because South Bass is so rarely used. It is arguably also the most scenic. Conditions worked out, so I made plans to run the length of the Tonto Trail from South Bass to Hance Rapids, a distance of more than 87 miles in the canyon. Not so. It’s nice when people understand and don’t give you those blank looks wondering if you are a crazy person. I would then head east (up-river). I chose to start at the most remote end and finish where I could hitch a ride back to Grand Canyon Village. View a 3D flyover of my route from South Bass to Boucher. How lucky is that? It felt like I was running pretty fast, so I was always surprised at the time on my Garmin. It is pretty funny that I didn’t think about all the needles around me in the cacti. The message went through fine. Finally I hit the home stretch, the last few hundred feet below the rim. (The day is two hours longer than the night). However, still I took a wrong turn and went an extra 0.2 miles. You just don’t expect to hear a voice. Facing a chilly night in the 40s without it, didn’t sound fun. I now noticed some recent foot prints, certainly the guy who camped at Ruby last night. I counted up my backpack days across that section… 6 days… hmmmmm. To keep me company at times I sing out my music and echo off the cliff walls. … Read more. With a couple miles to go, I had another period of high energy. Start Date: Friday, August 2. The road ahead was straight as could be and rolls up and over low ridges. The nearest person was camping the night in Ruby Canyon about nine miles away. I recalled having difficulty in the past, but couldn’t remember the solution. April 22-Around 7, I stepped onto the floor to feel no pain in my foot! The first couple miles of switchbacks were pleasant and were not covered with big rocks like on other trails. In the past two times I ran this section at night, I kept losing the trail between Cremation and Lonetree. The further I went, the better my navigational skills developed. This remote station has been abandoned for many years. Taking any short-cuts always takes much longer than staying on the trail. Boucher is a huge canyon and requires a massive climb to get out of it. Trails continue on either side but on each end they become remote “routes” instead of established trails. What a waste of time! I also had a garbage bag that I could use for more warmth. Instead, I could climb out before it got too hot and finish around 1 p.m. With that new plan, my spirits improved. All this takes time and you just can’t do it very fast. Here is an example of my first few miles:  20:23, 16:28, 16:58, 24:55, 16:16, 28:41 (feet fixing), 24:20, 25:19, 37:11 (another stop), 21:05, 18:00, 18:11, etc. But then I came into a rugged canyon and it slowed me back down. For me, it was dry. I enjoyed blazing my own trail above this wonder of the world. Through-hikers have accomplished this in several days, but I have yet to hear about runners accomplishing it without stopping and camping for the night. The road was fantastic. I had readjusted my pace goal during the day. My Hokas just were not keeping the blisters away. I’m guessing I needed to go down the creek some more to find the continuing trail. I reached Cremation Canyon (mile 58.3) at 1:55 am. That still is slow, but would put me at Grapevine Creek at dawn. I needed to go down into the canyon where it would be warmer. I reached South Kaibab trail (mile 55.4) at 1:20 a.m.   On the way to Cremation Canyon, I was starving. Most thru-hikers stay at the Mather Campground on the South Rim. I could see tracks of some hikers who several days ago walked this road in very deep mud. We were treated to a desert terrain that was tinged with green grasses and small wildflowers, which won't last for long. That brought to mind a tragedy many years ago when two planes collided over the canyon killing all aboard both planes. What an epic adventure! I always underestimate the difficulty of running fast on this trail. This trip report actually begins at the confluence of Tonto Creek and Haigler Creek and follows Tonto Creek 17 miles* to Gisela with an elevation loss of 1000 ft. For instructions to the confluence please see the Hellsgate trip description. These first ten miles seems a little less impressive than other sections of the Tonto. I was almost out and dreaded running the next hot five miles without water. Cliffs could be seen glowing in the sunshine. There were many campers down there and they noticed me running and pointed up to me. These are a series of huge side canyons that are named after gems, except for “Slate Canyon.”  (I don’t think I would buy a ring for my wife with slate.) Seeing the canyon in moonlight is a sight that fails words to describe. The Tonto part of this hike was fantastic with the most amazing views, the trail was easy to follow all the way and was about 4 miles for the section I did. You have to stop, study the surroundings, back up, and carefully find the trail again. I need to get back to the Grand, it is a very solemn place and one I truly felt home in. That is the time of the year when temperatures are good for running AND the seasonal springs are flowing. I had run out of water a few miles earlier and noticed a gallon of water on a picnic table. Sounds like you had fun. Finally I just had to stop and take off my shoe. Grand Canyon National Park. incredible — truly another dimension to running the GC (other than rim to rim) — i’ll bet you’ve inspired many of us to add something similar to our bucket lists. Steve, Your email address will not be published. I would get lazy and forget to go fast again. I carefully stayed away from the edge and continued on. I could hear them still talking about it as I left. I tried to suck on Beef Jerky and that helped for awhile, but my stomach was telling me that it wouldn’t let me run fast if I didn’t feed it. I stopped and took in the remarkable view of Turquoise Canyon below and thought with amazement that I would be running in and out of that canyon tomorrow morning. But I’ve had a dream to run the length of the Grand Canyon rather than across it. That really surprised me because I knew it would have to be a couple very good ultrarunners. So in my twisted logic, I concluded, Why not just run it in about five hours. I discovered that I had more food than I thought, but I only had a few S-caps left, not enough to face another hot afternoon down here. I had very excited feelings thinking about my epic run that would start in the morning. As I continued running west, I discovered that the road I was running was being used as a flight path for all the helicopters returning to the airport. Quiet hike as we saw only a couple other hikers on this section of our hike. It took them out. As I descended into Hermit, the trail goes above the campsite area. Indian Garden and the Bright Angel Trail below Grand Canyon Villiage. It was so great to be out running in the cool morning. I had over 400 waypoints in my GPS which would help keep me on the trail. After a couple more miles, I arrived at the Pasture Wash Ranger Station. Will I try it again and try to make it all the way? I chatted with him for about ten minutes explaining what I was attempting to do. But there are other sections of the canyon that I still haven’t explored. There was absolutely no one else in South Bass Canyon. I ran the Tonto Trail for 77 miles in the Grand Canyon in 27:56. I continued on. I cooked up some more soup and felt much better. On my way toward Slate Canyon the Tonto Platform really opened up wide. It certainly was nice to always have whatever I needed with me in my aid station on my back. I thought I only had about 1200 calories left. The Tonto Trail will also act as a shakedown hike and training hike for my 2019 Pacific Crest Trail thru -hike attempt. Snakes. It was quite a sight. Hi Davy! I came upon an unexpected sight, a car parked on the side of the road. The self-support with a pack makes the entire run that much tougher. I was a funny sight, not your usual tourist. 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