Distance: 6 miles round-trip
Duration: 6 hours round-trip
Elevation loss: 2,600 feet
Trailhead: Grandview Point
Look for the trailhead at Grandview Point, 12 miles east of the village off Highway 64 (East Rim Dr.). Trailhead parking is signed, and the trail begins at the east side of the viewpoint wall. The trail follows sections of a pioneer trail built by miner Pete Berry, who managed the Last Chance, a copper mine on Horseshoe Mesa. Here and there, hikers will notice the log cribbing that supported the trail when mules carried out loads of ore.
The Last Chance Mine is on the National Register of Historic Places, and strong day hikers or backpackers can explore the ruins and imagine the life of a Grand Canyon miner. Views are spectacular, but the trail is steep, bringing to mind the old hiker’s saying, “Don’t walk and gawk at the same time.”
After dropping steeply from Grandview Point, the trail traverses the Coconino Saddle between Hance and Grapevine Canyons. The saddle, at about one mile, is a good turnaround for a shorter day hike. From here the trail descends again toward Horseshoe Mesa. As you approach the mesa, you’ll pass a trail branching to the right. This branch leads to the east side of the mesa for 1.8 miles until joining the Tonto Trail, passing by a spur to Page Springs, bubbling out from the base of the Redwall. This is the only local water source.
The main trail branches left and descends to the mesa, at three miles. Here, another trail leads left, heading across the west arm of the mesa and into Cottonwood Creek Canyon. However, most day hikers will want to continue straight ahead to the ruins of Pete Berry’s mining cabin, just beyond the three-mile point. It’s a good spot to turn around, although the trail continues another two miles across the west arm of the mesa and down to an intersection with the Tonto Trail.
A spur trail leads east of the cabin to a toilet and several campsites. Backpackers can use this as a base camp to explore the remains of the historic mining camp and the edges of the mesa, enjoying great views of the Inner Gorge before returning up Grandview Trail or before continuing onto other trails for a loop trip.
© Kathleen Bryant from Moon Grand Canyon, 5th Edition