A few days into our three week road trip through south-west USA is an overnight stop at Grand Canyon. I’ve had the opportunity to do the Grand Canyon South Rim to River hike a few years ago, so this time I’m doing one of the easier trails to Shoshone Point. Although only a short drive from the visitor centre, the trail to Shoshone Point avoids the crowd – and delivers some outstanding views. It’s still fairly dark as we set-off from the locked gate on a wide service trail.
It’s only about 20min of walking before we get our first view to the east of the Grand Canyon.
Another few hundred yards brings us to a small picnic area, which has toilets and a few fire pits. (I’ve read that this is the only outdoor location in the Grand Canyon National Park that can be reserved for events.)
Just beyond the picnic area is Shoshone Point, with it’s distinctive rock formation at the edge of of the narrow ridge. Shoshone Point gets its name from a North American Indian group, which has four large cultural/linguistic divisions. About 1,000 people still speak the Shoshoni language.
We’re just in time to watch the sun rising over the Grand Canyon, with not another person in sight. The views are incredible; as usual, my photos completely fail to capture the vista in front of us.
We stay a while and admire the views. At the end of our three week holiday my son still says that this is one of the highlights of the entire holiday, which is an accolade of the highest order from a discerning teenager!
We eventually head back along the narrow ridge to the road.
As we re-trace our steps, shafts of sunlight through the clouds illuminate the Grand Canyon below us.
Even when the sun is up, the hike to Shoshone Point is fairly shaded by the tall ponderosa pine forest. We spot a few wild horses grazing near the trail – there are said to be around 200 wild horses living in the Grand Canyon, which are descendants of domestic horses that were lost or abandoned.
We’re back at the gate after about 1.5hours – although you could easily do the short trail in 45min.
Getting to Shoshone Point
The Shoshone Point Trailhead is 3.1 miles (5km) south of the Grand Canyon Visitor Centre on Desert View Drive. There’s a small carpark, but no signage so keep an eye out for the the turn-off. The Grand Canyon South Rim is 280mi / 450km (4 hours) from Las Vegas or 229mi / 370km from Phoenix (the closest airport).
Accommodation near Grand Canyon (South Rim)
There is accommodation within the Grand Canyon Village, which is within walking distance to the Bright Angel trailhead. The Grand Canyon National Park Lodges has a hotel and a number of lodges and cabins in the village. They also run a lottery system for bookings at Phantom Ranch, the only lodging below the canyon rim, which has dormitories and cabins.
If the Grand Canyon Village accommodation is booked out, the closest town is Tusayan, located just outside the national park entrance and home to the Grand Canyon National Airport. In the peak season (March – September) the National Park Service operates a regular “Tusayan Shuttle” which take guests directly to the main Visitor Center.
- National Parks (NPS) – Shoshone Point
For a summary of all hikes at the North Rim and South Rim, visit the Guide to Grand Canyon.