Distance: 28–29 miles round-trip
Duration: 4–6 days
Elevation change: 4,800 feet
Effort: Very strenuous
Trailhead: Saddle Mountain Wilderness
There are two possible routes to this trailhead: from House Rock Valley and Forest Road 445, or south of Jacob Lake on Forest Road 610. The latter may be snowy or muddy into June. You will start outside park boundaries on the Saddle Mountain Trail for three miles (from Forest Rd. 445) or 3.5 miles (from Forest Road 610).
Nankoweap Trail is considered one of Grand Canyon’s most strenuous hikes, with downclimbs, dangerous drop-offs, and no water along most of its length. Only experienced canyon backpackers should attempt it. Those who do will gain close-up looks at the colorful Grand Canyon Supergroup rocks along with Marble Canyon  panoramas.
From the trail junction, the Nankoweap Trail drops from the rim through the Esplanade, narrowing in an inches-wide ledge at times. From Tilted Mesa, the trail descends gradually eastward. A couple of steep descents require hands and feet to reach Nankoweap Creek, about eight miles from the junction. Follow the creek bed to the Colorado River, just over three miles. The shrubby Low Sonoran Desert along the river offers good campsites.