Today we hike 4.5 miles ascending 1,400 feet up to the Havasupai Gardens (formerly called Indian Gardens) Campground. For the first mile or so, from the Bright Angel Campground to the traverses exposed sand dunes, then across the silver bridge across the Colorado River, and west through more sand dunes to the Pipe Creek/River Resthouse area. The pipe under this bridge carries all the water supporting the south rim.
More sand dunes keep us busy for another mile on south side of river with various examples of the Vishnu Schist, the oldest formation in the canyon at 1.8 billion years. Talk about ancient.
From the Pipe Creek resthouse, the trail turns south following a creek through a meandering gully of water-sculpted stone and shimmering cottonwood trees.
From the NPS website: “While the South Kaibab Trail follows a ridge line, the Bright Angel Trail conforms to a fault, keeping to the back of the canyon during the first few miles. Views on the Bright Angel Trail are framed by massive cliffs, and by virtue of being a shadier trail with natural water sources, there is more plant life and animal life along the Bright Angel Trail than on the South Kaibab Trail. The majority of this trail’s elevation change takes place in the upper four miles of trail via a series of switchbacks that can seem endless.”
The trail becomes steep once again where this gully empties into the broad, bowl-shaped Pipe Creek drainage. This section of switchback trail, affectionately referred to as the Devil’s Corkscrew. And we could see why and I wouldn’t exactly say “affectionately” 😉
We continue up through some limestone following Garden Creek to the Havasupai Gardens Campground where we spent the night. Traditionally this was a key native American site where families lived and grew all kinds of vegetables and crops with the year round water. It is also the current location of a major NPS water pump station.
After making camp, we headed out the 3.2 mile round trip “stroll” to Plateau Point, to view the river from a different perspective and eat our meager dinner in the wind. I had a surprisingly decent Phad Thai (as good as it can be when you just add hot water) We saw a California condor fly over. Condors are one of the nations best animal comeback stories. In 1982, there were only 22 California condors left in the world.
Now there are about 400 Condors within the states. Returning after dusk, using headlamps, we gazed up at the lights of the Yavapai Geology Museum 3,000 above. Time to turn in, and rest for the final day tomorrow of 3,034ft climb in 4.5 miles.
7 thoughts on “Grand Canyon Below the Rim, Day 3 – Up To Havasupai Gardens”
Amazing photos and great narration! So glad you had perfect conditions for this wonderful adventure 🙂
Thanks Barb. Glad you enjoy it
Very dramatic! No trains? Be safe and enjoy. Cheers!
Train runs from Williams to the Rim and back daily. Toot toot.
Such a great trip!! Love the photos!!😍😍😍
I’m so glad you two did that- amazing!
Photos and where you’ve been is other-worldly. Thank you for the glimpses of this unusual and beautiful terrain and happy trails!