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South Rim, Wilderness Trail

New Hance Trail

The most difficult established trail on the South Rim of Grand Canyon.

Hance Rapid - October 2009

Trail Details

An outcropping of Precambrian schist near Hance Rapid marks the beginning of Granite Gorge, an area of concern to early river runners because of dangerous rapids and difficult portages. Hakatai Shale forms the distinctive red rock along the lower stretch of Red Canyon. The east end of the Tonto Trail begins at the mouth of Red Canyon. John Hance, famous canyon guide and storyteller, arrived at the South Rim around 1883. Hance first built a trail down Hance Creek to the west, following a Havasupai Indian route. When his original trail washed out, he relocated it to its present location in Red Canyon. “You must understand,” Hance once warned a tourist, “that when you get to the bottom of the canyon and reach the shore of the Colorado River it is very warm. You can’t imagine how hot it is. Why, I’ll give my word, I’ve been down there when it was so hot it melted the wings off the flies.” “But,” asked an incredulous lady from New England, “how do the tourists stand it?” “Madame,” Hance replied, “I have never yet seen a tourist with wings!”

New Hance Trail map 2017

Trail Guide

To find specific trailhead locations and view topography, check out the official National Park Service guide.

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