This was a
very good hike. It was my first hike that was substantially
off-trail. Another big difference was the restricted views you have.
I am used to being able to see for many miles in all directions on my
Canyon hikes. This hike was in slot canyons for the most part,
which provide only limited views of the high canyon walls on either
side of the stream bed. We carried a satellite
phone as added safety, but did not have a need for it.
If you are
doing this hike in the same direction we did it, I have the following
Be sure you have
directions for getting to the trailhead. It took me about one hour
driving time from Jacob Lake to the trailhead. A sign at
the start of Forest Road 233 recommends a high clearance vehicle after that,
but I had no problem driving my car there in October. Presumably,
conditions would be a little more harsh in the spring.
We found a lot of water
at Mountain Sheep Spring that flowed heavily for one mile all the way to Jumpup Canyon. It
was actually more like a fast running creek. While I have
no personal knowledge of this area, I suspect that this spring is perennial.
When Jumpup Canyon
reaches Kwagunt Hollow, it becomes a narrow slot canyon south of there.
Contrary to the suppositions in many trip reports I read, my GPS had a
positive satellite lock in almost every place along Jumpup, even when the slot
was extremely narrow. That allowed us to know exactly where we were at
all times. Due to the lack of an escape route, this
slot canyon would not be a good place to be during or just after a
We found water at the
"Hidden Pool," which is about one mile west of the intersection of Jumpup
Canyon and Kanab Creek. This link gives pictures and GPS coordinates for
the location. The pool of water is somewhat blocked by two large rocks,
but we were able to stick our filter intake tube between the rocks and into
the water for filtering. It would be almost impossible to dip water out
of this location.
The bed of Kanab Creek
is mainly cobblestones and small boulders. It gets tiresome walking over
this surface. We found well traveled trails on the sand bars/benches at
the sides of the creek bed both upstream and downstream in Kanab Creek.
When possible, walking on these established trails at the sides is
considerably easier and faster than walking in the stream bed.
While water conditions
probably vary greatly from year to year, we first found water going south
(downstream) in Kanab Creek at the unnamed spring approximately 3.0 miles
south of the intersection of Jumpup Canyon and Kanab Creek. Within just
a few hundred yards of the spring, the creek bed conditions changed from bone
dry to a high water flow requiring boulder hopping and rock jumping to keep
your feet dry.
The camping location
for Showerbath Spring is up on a sand plateau on the left side going
downstream a few hundred yards before reaching the spring. The campsites are not
visible from the creek bed, so be sure to look for the footprints heading
uphill at that point. This was the only camping area on our hike that was within
Grand Canyon National Park, so we only needed a permit for our two nights near Showerbath Spring.
It was difficult
keeping our feet dry on the day hike from Showerbath Spring to Scotty's Castle
and Scotty's Hollow. Be sure to carry water shoes in case conditions
make wearing your boots impracticable.
The climb out Kwagunt
Hollow was much more challenging than I expected it to be. There are two
bypasses that must be used to get past two large waterfalls. The first
bypass is on the right going up Kwagunt and is extremely steep (very similar
to traveling up the Boucher Trail). The second bypass is a little easier
and is on the left side. About two miles east going up, Kwagunt
branches into two forks. One writer indicates that the north fork is
shorter, but more "athletic" than the south fork. I had all the exercise
I wanted on the south fork and didn't need a more strenuous workout that the north
fork apparently provides. There is one more bypass to get past a small
pour-off, requiring a jog to the right. This side trail was not at all
obvious from the creek bed, so look carefully for it a few hundred feet before
While we camped our
last night at the cottonwood trees near the base of the steep switchbacks leading to the
top, suitable camping spots were sparse and required some effort just finding
a flat spot for your ground cloth and sleeping bag.
Numerous critters such as mice, ravens, squirrels, and ringtails are a threat to
attack your food in the inner Canyon. For many years, there were two
widely used defenses against critter attack: the
bag, a mesh, stainless steel bag, which came in three sizes, and the
Ursack, a bag made with a
Spectra material. I bought both, but preferred the Ratsack because it was larger, cheaper, and had a superior Velcro closure system.
Even though the Ratsack company website is still active and will accept your
money, most people now indicate they never received their order, their money was
never returned, and they could not get the company to return a phone call.
Due to the widely reported difficulties and lack of response from the Ratsack company, that
product is no longer carried by the General Store in Grand Canyon Village.
Two new products have recently come forward to fill the void: the
and the Foodsack.
Both are similar in design to the Ratsack and utilize a mesh stainless steel
bag with a Velcro closure system. The Outsak is a
lighter duty version and some people report that animals were able to
penetrate it. The Foodsack is the heavy duty version and appears to be
bullet-proof, so it is the product that I recommend. I have and use the
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