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Uncle Jim Complete Loop

  4.0 ( 6 ) Favorite


4.8 mile 7.8 kilometer loop


Ascent: 494' 151 m
Descent: -495' -151 m
High: 8,454' 2,577 m
Low: 8,256' 2,516 m


Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 21% (12°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Megan W

This pleasant loop trail is shady and easy, offering views of Bright Angel Canyon.

Megan W

Features Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Overall mellow trail should not overly tax the little ones. Kids will enjoy looking for fossilized shells and sponges in the limestone. (collecting is prohibited!)


This North Rim trail approaches the canyon from a unique direction and therefore provides users with views not seen from the more visited vantage points along more popular roads and trails.

Need to Know

Parking is limited at the North Kaibab trailhead- arrive early! Valley can be snowy into June.


To reach the start of the Uncle Jim Trail, you must first hike about 1 mile north on the Ken Patrick Trail. From the North Kaibab trailhead parking area, go towards the mule corral area and pick up the Ken Patrick Trail. After about 1 mile of travel through open wooded slopes, take a right (east) at the signed intersection. Now you're on the lollipop shaped Uncle Jim Trail. Hike east along the "stem" of the lollipop, heading steeply downhill into a valley and back up the other side. This dip is the most arduous part of the trail.

Upon reaching the far side of the valley, the trail splits to form each arm of the loop. You can complete the circle in either direction, this description takes the left fork to go clockwise. Stay on the lookout for fossilized seashells and sponges in the trailside Kaibab limestone. Pretty neat that this rim of the canyon was under water a mere 270 million years ago. Continue through the forest plateau and pop out at the canyon rim for infrequently seen view of Bright Angel Canyon. Some of the South Rim is visible, but the inner gorge is hidden. You can see Walhalla Plateau, Bright Angel Point and the beginning switchbacks of the North Kaibab Trail.

Once you're finished absorbing the views at Uncle Jim Point, proceed north to finish the loop. The remainder of the loop back to the "stem" of the lollipop passes through an old forest fire area and does not have canyon views. Retrace your steps left (west) along the "stem" then head left (south) on the Ken Patrick trail back to the parking area. Note: this trail is also used by mules, so be respectful and watch out from droppings!

Flora & Fauna

Fir, spruce, ponderosa pine, aspen, mushrooms. Squirrels, deer, turkey.

History & Background

This trail is named for James Owen, a game warden who lived on the North Rim for many years. His claim to fame was killing over 500 mountain lions in a (now discredited) attempt to protect the mule deer living in the area.

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Sep 5, 2019
Rose M
Aug 22, 2019
Maremare 110
Jul 13, 2019
Rose M
Jun 15, 2019
Lana Z
May 7, 2019
Chris McCloud
Did as part of an R3 May 6-8 while working at GRCA 2019. Beautiful view, well worth hike.
Sep 3, 2018
Valerie Villanueva
Aug 6, 2018
Rob Stansfield
Stinky mule trail followed by lovely trails over Karst to a point with a view. Shame about the smoke... 4.5mi — 2h 30m
Jun 3, 2018
Mitch Malone

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 6 votes


in North Rim


  4.0 from 6 votes
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