“This pleasant loop trail is shaded and easy, offering views of Bright Angel Canyon.”
— Megan W
Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Pleasant and shaded loop with fantastic views.
The Uncle Jim Trail starts at the signed intersection with the Ken Patrick
Trail. The trail is a lollipop shaped route. 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 250 million years ago. Continue through the forest plateau and pop out at the canyon rim for the 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 arrive at the junction with the Ken Patrick
trail. Note: this trail is also used by mules, so be respectful and watch out for droppings!
Historical Factoid: 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.
Flora & Fauna
Fir, spruce, ponderosa pine, aspen, mushrooms. Squirrels, deer, turkey.