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 recommendations:

  • Be sure you have the 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 thunderstorm.

  • 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 the pour-off.

  • 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 Ratsack Cache 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 Outsak 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 Foodsack.


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