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This is easily one of the most difficult rim to river trails in the Grand Canyon. It should be attempted only by seasoned canyoneers with compass and topo maps in hand.

The North Bass leads 14 miles southward from Swamp Point to the Colorado River. The route is rugged, obscure and recommended for only experienced Grand Canyon hikers. Route finding and extreme caution is necessary in several places along the route. The path, created by a miner and resort operator at the turn of the century, winds through the Muav Canyon of White Creek then into the Shinumo Creek drainage.

Begin this hike from the end of Forest Service Road 268B at Swamp Point. The route begins on the rim and descends, using switchbacks, into the canyon a half mile to a trail junction. From this junction follow the fork to the left. This trail contours the head of Muav Canyon a short distance before descending into the drainage. The track crosses a small tributary to White Creek and enters the main drainage paralleling the western bank.

The trail gradient lessens as the route reaches the stream bed and begins to follow it through the canyon cut by the creek. The track follows the stream bed for approximately one mile before contouring above it to the west. During this meander the track crosses three tributaries to White Creek before beginning its descent back to the river. Switchbacks, marked by a large cairn, lead the trail down a descent of nearly 1,000 feet. Be sure to find the trail marker before descending to the stream.

The remainder of the trek to Shinumo Creek is plagued by side trails around high drops along the creek bed. The next such side trail occurs a short distance beyond the last series of switchbacks. The side trail takes hikers on to the Tonto Platform then descends back to the stream. The track then crosses White Creek and follows it through the Tonto Platform for slightly more than a mile to another pour off. The trail avoids this drop by ascending eastward then looping back to the stream via Redwall Canyon.

South of Redwall Canyon the track returns to the western side of the creek and leads through a narrow section of canyon before reaching Shinumo Creek. Below this drainage the North Bass Trail makes several stream crossings. Within two miles the track leaves the stream bed and ascends eastward to a narrow ridge. This portion of the trail is well used and easy to navigate. The trail crosses the ridge and begins its final descent toward the Colorado River. The trail ends on the river bank between Bass and Shinumo Rapids. Backpackers are not permitted to camp along the river at the terminus of North Bass Trail. That area is reserved for boaters.

Directions: From North Rim Entrance Station, Drive northward to Forest Service Road (FSR) 422 and turn left. Follow 422 to FSR 270 and turn left. Drive approximately 3 miles to FSR 223 and turn right. Follow this road to FSR 268B, which will bring you to Swamp Point on the Powell Plateau.

Elevation: 7,517 feet

Ending Elevation: 2,740 feet

Usage: Light

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Trailhead begins at Swamp Point
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona 86023
Parking: 24 hours daily

Visitor Information

Neighborhood: North Rim
The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.