Scenic USA - Arizona

Cope Butte

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Cope Butte - Tonto Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Photos by Dr. Rob Jones
Rob's Trip Report

     This early morning scene captures a magical time of day when the air is still cool and long shadows Tonto Trail Hikers - South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona create an enchanting view in the spectacular Grand Canyon country. As the hikers move out on the Tonto Trail toward Cope Butte, their early start ensures plenty of time to reach the Monument Creek campsite.
     These Grand Canyon hikes are not only about the length of the trail, they're also about elevation change. This 40 mile grand hike begins at Hermits Rest, includes a trip down into the canyon to the Colorado River, then on to Monument Creek and ends at Indian Gardens and Bright Angel Trail. The descent-ascent log on the trip, which included climbing up from the river, totaled nearly a 10,000 foot change in elevation.
     The Grand Canyon's South Rim is a short drive from Flagstaff, Monument Creek from the Tonto - South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona taking about an hour and a half. Considering the roundabout route to the North Rim, taking about four hours, it's no surprise that this side of the canyon is most popular. While the North Rim sees only a 10th of Grand Canyon National Park visitors, the South Rim entertains over four million visitors a year. Here at the world's most awe inspiring canyon, some visitors take a hike along the gentle sections of Tonto Plateau, dropping 3000 feet below the South Rim. Between the Tipoff and Indian Gardens, this section of the Tonto Trail is the most traveled. Although it's a long day hike, most beginers will find the well-worn trail easiest to follow. All along the rim trail, hikers are treated to majestic views of the sculpted canyon that lie at their feet. Whichever Rim you decide to visit, a hike into the Grand Canyon may be one of life's most memorable experiences.

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