“An alternative start to the Thunder River Trail, more difficult but shaves ~2.5miles off the start.
— Nicholas Shannon
Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The historical point of access to the esplanade was via the gentler but longer Thunder River
Trail. Nowadays, many hikers opt for the more challenging Bill Hall Trail, which shaves 2.5 miles off the hike. For the first mile, the Bill Hall Trail contours on the rim, actually ascending a bit before entering the canyon on the east side of Monument Point.
The trail drops steeply through the Kaibab and Toroweap Formations north of Bridgers Knoll, then contours northwest to the Coconino descent west of Monument Point. Many steep switchbacks provide passage through the Coconino Sandstone and on to a small drainage leading down to the Esplanade and the junction with the trail from Indian Hollow. A short rope may be useful to lower the packs at a short (15 feet) scramble. The descent from Indian Hollow is less demanding. It was originally designed as a stock trail and features a more reasonable gradient but requires extra walking.
Bill Hall was a seasonal park ranger on the North Rim who was killed in the line of duty (automobile accident) in 1979.