Hiking Project Logo

The Escalante Route has a reputation for requiring a bit extra from Grand Canyon visitors.

Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key





Point to Point

3,885' 1,184 m


2,583' 787 m


2,156' 657 m


2,250' 686 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (32°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


Hike this route in either direction, but traveling with the flow of the land is appealing so this passage will be described from the perspective of a down-canyon hiker.

Shallow gullies must be crossed at intervals, but generally speaking, the route from Tanner to Cardenas is straightforward. Cardenas Creek is almost always dry, but there is easy access to the Colorado River via the bed of the drainage. This is the last reliable water source until one reaches the river at the mouth of Escalante Creek. The trail crosses Cardenas Creek about two hundred yards above the shoreline and climbs the Dox Hill immediately west.

The route crosses the unnamed drainage and traverses west toward the crest of the ridge north of Escalante Creek. Caution is indicated throughout this area, as there are many places where you'll want to avoid a misstep at all cost. The trail seems to traverse west forever, finally going to the top of the ridge just short of the west end. A fine view in all directions is the reward for all the side hill walking.

The trail climbs away from the river below the mouth of Escalante Creek and follows a rising ramp of Shinumo Quartzite down the canyon. Hike the top of this formation around into Seventyfive Mile Creek. Seventyfive Mile Creek is normally dry in its lower reaches, but there is access to the river at various points throughout the stretch from Escalante to Papago Creeks. Trails along the beach form the route downriver towards Papago Creek. Eventually, sand gives way to rock and a series of ledges require a bit of attention to avoid being rimmed up. In general, stay as close to the river as is conveniently possible. The trail goes up and over a small outcrop of sandstone before dropping back to river level at the mouth of Papago Creek.

Exit Papago on the west and work up a series of tall ledges. Start up immediately west of the mouth of the drainage. The holds are big and secure and leads up from ledge to ledge. The climbing is easy, but no mistakes can be made. About 35 feet up the angle relents and one can climb the slopes to a horizontal trail about 300 vertical feet above the river.

Traverse less than 100 yards down the canyon before coming to the top of a talus filled runnel that allows passage back to the shoreline. This gully seems dangerous - steep, with lots of big boulders in precarious balance.

Once at Hance Rapids you can continue west via the East Tonto Trail or ascend to the rim on the New Hance Trail.


Shared By:

Nicholas Shannon with improvements by Abe H and 1 other

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 16 votes


in North Rim


  5.0 from 16 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in North Rim


in Arizona


12 Views Last Month
3,298 Since May 7, 2015
Very Difficult



Half way between Tanner and New Hance Trails.
Apr 26, 2016 near Grand C…, AZ
Escalante Route
May 7, 2015 near Grand C…, AZ
Escalante Route
May 7, 2015 near Grand C…, AZ
Hance Rapids
Oct 19, 2015 near Grand C…, AZ
Taken from Tanner beach, with my back to the river. Desert View Tower is (barely) visible slightly left of center of image.
Jan 16, 2020 near Grand C…, AZ
Escalante Route
May 12, 2015 near Grand C…, AZ



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Feb 4, 2019
John Smith
Nov 19, 2018
Abe H
Tanner to Escalante to Grandview. Toughest stretch on the trip. 11.3mi — 7h 00m
May 1, 2018
Guy Dar
Nov 27, 2017
Kate McConnell
Nov 27, 2017
Kate McConnell
Easy climbing sections
Mar 12, 2016
Valentin Lauret
Jan 18, 2016
Jeff Pierce
Long Traverse, Cardenas to Hance, 3500 ft climb, and then back down again through the slot canyon and then pulled packs up the wall and then the su...
Sep 13, 2015
Ryan Miller
Did Tanner to Escalante to Grandview. Epic! 32mi