2012 AH Classic Wall CalendarShop the AH Store >>

Our 2015 calendars are now available!

Classic Wall Calendar

CL15 $10.99

Our classic 13-month spiral-bound calendar features 30 full-color photographs and a handy map of Arizona on the back.

Order Now >>
Purchase Camping GuideShop the AH Store >>

Featured Book

Arizona Highways
Camping Guide

AGCS3 $22.95

Our newest book, which includes Arizona Highways iconic photography and maps, is sorted by region and is written for car-campers and families. Detailed information about accessibilty, amenities and fees is included for each campground.

Order Now >>
2011 AH Wildlife CalendarSee Selection of Images >>

Featured Prints

Poster Prints
Special Edition Prints

Many of the extraordinary images found in our award-winning magazine, scenic coffee-table books and exquisite calendars can be purchased as fine posters and prints.

Order Now >>
Shop the AH Store >>

Featured Gift Item

Centennial Issue Reprint

SPCENN2 $4.99

If you missed our February 100-page Centennial Issue on newsstands earlier this year, here's your second chance to get a copy of this special collector's edition of Arizona Highways magazine..

Order Now >>

  • print page
  • Tell a Friend
  • Post to Facebook
  • YouTube
  • past to del.icio.us
BULLEThiking archive
Scenic Drives Archive Photo
Widforss Trail, on the North Rim of
the Grand Canyon, winds through
pristine forest landscapes that
lead to Widforss Point.

© Randy Prentice


>> Click on image to view
it larger in a separate window.

Editor's Note click to expand
Arizona Hiking Guide BookFrom "backyard"
hikes to overnight
excursions, our
Arizona Hiking
guidebook has
something
for everyone.
To order, call
800-543-5432
or click here.

Widforss Trail
It's true, there are a lot of great hikes in Arizona, but this one is the best. There, we said it.

By Robert Stieve

It's hard to single out the best hike in Arizona. There are too many 10s. That said, a solid case can be made for the Widforss Trail. It's quiet, the ecosystem is exceedingly diverse and over your left shoulder you'll see one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The only thing the Widforss doesn't offer is elevation gain, which is important to hikers who want to burn calories while drinking in the scenery. Still, this is a 10-mile round-tripper, so a few calories will be incinerated.

Named for artist Gunnar Widforss, this relatively easy trail follows the rim of the Grand Canyon all the way to Widforss Point. A few minutes into the hike, you'll see a box with trail guide pamphlets inside. Grab one. The guides include numbered listings that correspond to numbered sites along the first 2.5 miles of the trail. No matter how many times you've hiked this trail, you're bound to learn something from the guide.

When you're not learning, take time to enjoy the idyllic forest of Colorado blue spruce, Engelmann spruce, white fir, Douglas fir and aspens, the latter of which you'll see growing in droves where recent fires have burned. You'll be amazed at how quickly the aspens move in and shoot up once the sun isn't blocked by the towering evergreens, including the one you'll see at Site No. 8. It's not official, but this might be the biggest ponderosa pine on the trail. It's definitely impressive, and it's several hundred years old.

From the big tree, the trail meanders through the quiet forest. Before long, you'll start catching glimpses of the Canyon to your left. Then, after about 30 minutes, you'll come to a short side trail that leads right to the rim, from which you can see into Transept Canyon below — it's a side canyon of the big canyon.

The scenery stays much the same as you rack up the miles, and after about an hour, the trail angles away from the rim and eventually leads to a lush valley, which ranks as the best part of the trail — other than the Canyon, of course. Here, the narrow path cuts through a beautiful grove of aspens and ferns and tall grasses. The wind blows a lot on the North Rim, and this is a great place to pause and appreciate the sound. Also, if you sit still long enough, you might catch a glimpse of a Kaibab squirrel, a shy, dark animal with tufted ears and a bushy white tail. Deer and turkeys are likely to cross your path, as well.

Take your time, but keep in mind the best is yet to come. Not far from the lush valley is the approach to Widforss Point. Although the trail stops short of the actual point, the views from the end of the trail are out of this world. Among other famous Canyon landmarks, you'll be able to see Isis Temple and Cheops Pyramid. You can also see Phantom Creek. Bottom line: The views are second-to-none. As you're standing there, you'll agree that there might be other trails in Arizona that compare to the Widforss, but few, if any, have this kind of diversity and solitude. Not to mention the temples and the pyramids.

Trail Guideclick to expand

Map of AreaLength: 10 miles round-trip

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation: 8,200 to 7,811 feet

Directions: Drive 4 miles north of Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim, and turn left onto the gravel road marked with a sign to the trailhead.

Vehicle Requirements: Accessible to all vehicles

USGS Map: Bright Angel Point

Information: Backcountry Office, Grand Canyon National Park, 928-638-7875 or www.nps.gov/grca

Leave No Trace Ethics:
  • Plan ahead and be prepared.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly and pack out your trash.
  • Leave what you find.
  • Respect wildlife and minimize impact.
  • Be considerate of others.
  • >> Back to Hiking Archive


    Story ArchivesFind previously published stories online... [more]

    Global SnapshotsSend us a photo of you or someone you know posing with Arizona Highways. We'll post it on our website. It's that simple... [more]

    Photo of the DaySend us a photo of you or someone you know posing with Arizona Highways. We'll post it on our website. It's that simple... [more]

     

    Social MediaJoin our Facebook, Twitter and Flickr communities for behind-the-scenes glimpses at Arizona Highways... [more]

    Events & PromotionsEscape, experience and explore Arizona, one event at a time... [more]

    Best of AZ50 of our favorite things around the state, including photography, nature, dining, adventure, lodging... [more]

    site map  |  terms of use  |  privacy policy  |  corporate sales  |  about us  |  contact us

    Arizona Highways Television AZ Dept. of Transportation AZ Dept. of Public Safety Arizona Highways Photo Workshops

    © Copyright 2014 Arizona Department of Transportation, State of Arizona. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The images on this Web site are copyrighted, digitally watermarked and registered with the Digimarc tracking system. All rights reserved. Copying and downloading images from this site are strictly prohibited.