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Trail Description : Ken Patrick Trail

The Ken Patrick Trail takes you from the parking lot at the trailhead, 10 miles (one way) along the northern drainages of Bright Angel Canyon, across the neck of the Walhalla Plateau and then north to Point Imperial.

The trailhead for the Ken Patrick Trail is the same as that for the Uncle Jim Trail and both share the same parking lot with the trailhead for the North Kaibab Trail. This parking lot is about two miles north of Grand Canyon Lodge off of the main park road. The first mile or so of the Ken Patrick Trail and the Uncle Jim Trail are the same trail.

The trail is pretty easy to follow up until the point where the Old Bright Angel Trail veers off to the south but beyond that can require careful navigation and possibly some route finding abilities. The trail is not as easy or straight forward as the Widforss Trail but does present some equally majestic vistas for your Canyon viewing pleasure.

From the parking area the trail heads northeast along the top of the Roaring Springs Drainage before it descends into that drainage and follows it for a short distance. About ¼ mile after it leaves the drainage (about 1 mile from the trailhead) you will see a sign marking the junction with the Uncle Jim Trail. Two and a half miles beyond that you will reach the trailhead of the Old Bright Angel Trail which is again marked by a sign.

Beyond this point the trail becomes difficult if not impossible to follow, and from time to time it will simply disappear only to reappear later. Assuming you maintain the same basic northeasterly course and don't wander too far from the rim you should have no trouble in picking it up again. Don't be lead astray when you encounter the old park service roads or drainages leading into Bright Angel Canyon as the trail is not that easy to follow. Another portion of the trail that requires careful navigation is one where it is covered by a fair number of fallen trees. Going around this mess maybe quicker and easier than climbing over it.

Once you make it to the Cape Royal Road you've got it made. From here the trail crosses the road and heads briefly back into the forest before bringing you right out to the rim. It then heads north along the rim of the Canyon, crosses the road a couple of times more, and presents an awesome spectacle along the remaining 4 miles or so that are left until you reach Point Imperial.

Point Imperial is the highest point on either rim of the Grand Canyon having an altitude of 8803 feet. From here you get a wonderful view of the Painted Desert or the east as well as of Mount Hayden.

Ken Patrick was a park ranger who was killed in the line of duty while working at Point Reyes National Seashore. He was killed by poachers in the 1970's and is buried at Grand Canyon.

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Copyright © Bob Ribokas, 1994-2008, all rights reserved. This publication and its text and photos may not be copied for commercial use without the express written permission of Bob Ribokas.