I am glad to have completed the Tanner Trail, the Escalante Route, and another section of the Tonto Trail.  This was a good hike, but a lot tougher than I expected.  At over thirty miles, it was a long haul.  I can now see why this is one of those hikes that many people do only once.  Our trip highlights were:

  • Seeing the Desert View Watchtower from down in the Canyon

  • The view of the Colorado River from the top of the Tanner Redwall.

  • The Indian ruins above Cardenas Creek.

  • The nice rafters taking us around the Papago slide instead of having to climb over it.

  • All the mining artifacts in and around Horseshoe Mesa.

  • The numerous plants and flowers we saw.

     If you are doing this hike in the same direction we did it, I have the following recommendations:

  • The Tanner is very steep at the beginning with numerous switchbacks.  Our first night campsite at the Redwall had great views of the Colorado River and really divided this long trail into two manageable parts.

  • The descent through the Tanner Redwall was one of the easier I have done, but upon reaching its base, don't be fooled into thinking you are nearly to Tanner Rapids.  It is still a long ways there.  There is no water on the Tanner Trail.

  • Our Cardenas Creek campsite was very nice, but be prepared to share it with raft groups.

  • The toughest section of this hike was the part from Cardenas Creek to Escalante Creek.  On reaching the most southerly part of this section, the trail begins a brutal climb to the northwest with some mild exposure.  Do not take this section lightly.  You will have several pour-overs to negotiate after that before descending all the way to the river.

  • When you reach the southern end of Seventy-five Mile Creek at the crossover point, be sure to go down the white, rock pour-over at the crossover point into the creek bed.  Do not take the well traveled, false trail up.

  • The correct trail from Neville Rapids to Papago Creek is the high route.  The low route by the beach is easier at first, but then requires some serious boulder hopping the last quarter-mile to reach Papago Creek.

  • I have been fortunate my last two trips past Papago Creek where I have been able to flag down rafters to transport us to the west side of the cliff.  If you aren't lucky enough to do that, be prepared for a long, arduous, and dangerous trip up, over, and down the Papago slide.  This is another section not to be taken lightly.

  • The only reliable water on this trip is the Colorado River, Hance Creek, and Page Springs.  While we had water in the creek bed of both Escalante Creek and Seventy-five Mile Creek, you would be well advised to check with the Backcountry Office or other hikers who have done this trip recently before relying on that.

  • It is a good idea to read all the trip reports you can about any hike you are getting ready to do and to bring the Park Service route descriptions with you.

     I am very glad I went back to my old, trusty brand of boots.  My feet were happy this entire trip.  The expensive, name-brand boots that put blisters on my feet my last three hikes in the Canyon now reside in the trash can.  I'm looking forward to doing a Colorado River raft trip the end of the month and then a Tanner-Beamer-Little Colorado hike this fall.    


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