Scenic USA - Arizona

Saddle Mountain Wilderness

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Saddle Mountain Wilderness - Arizona

Photos by Rob Jones
Rob's Trip Reports

   Rising up to elevations over 9000 feet, the Kaibab Plateau lies adjacent to one of the world's deepest canyons. Saddle Mountain Trailhead - Day 1 Here along the edges of the Grand Canyon's North Rim, the Saddle Mountain Wilderness offers a sampling of Kaibab Plateau topography. The Kaibab National Forest's terrain is covered in aspen, ponderosa pine, and pinyon-juniper woodlands, and marked by dramatic canyons of the Nankoweap Rim.
   Totaling over 40,000 acres, the Saddle Mountain Wilderness falls under jurisdiction of the Forest Kaibab Plateau Rim from Nankoweap Creek Service. Resembling a saddle and saddle horn, Saddle Mountain is top dog in the preserve, reaching 8,000 feet. Straddling the eastern edges of the Plateau, the wilderness is scarred with drainage ravines and steep escarpments, and then drops off dramatically to the Colorado River bottoms. Recovered from a devastating fire 50 years ago, the area's mixed forest of conifers and hardwoods, plus three perennial springs, attract abundant wildlife.
     Part of a week long journey, the adventurous group of vagabonds drop off the plateau and the Saddle Mountain area on the most challenging trail in the Grand Canyon region. Located in the midst of a wilderness area, the Nankoweap Trail descends over 6000 feet in 14 miles to Nankoweap Creek and the Colorado River. This is the wilderness, a place for solitude, self discovery, and a true wilderness experience.

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