“A relatively easy run on sandy slopes becomes a tedious, demanding trek along narrow clifftops.”
— Nicholas Shannon
River/Creek · Views · Wildlife
There is permanent water in the lower reaches of the Little Colorado but the mineral and/or sediment content make it practically undrinkable.
Thick riparian vegetation and narrow trail along clifftops make this trail difficult and dangerous to run.
Walk the Tanner
Trail to the river and start up-canyon. Small outcroppings of Dox Sandstone present minor obstructions (with obvious solutions) at a couple of spots along the way, but in general, the route between Tanner
Canyon and Palisades Creek is straightforward. Riparian vegetation is dense near the shoreline so the trail tends toward a line a short distance above the water where the brush starts to give way to rocky slopes.
The character of the Beamer Trail changes dramatically at Palisades Canyon. A relatively easy, straight-line stroll across sandy slopes becomes a tedious, demanding trek along narrow, exposed ledges at the very brink of high cliffs.
Tapeats Sandstone outcrops emerging from deep water make it impossible to stay near the river above the mouth of Palisades Creek. Climb about 300 vertical feet up the talus immediately north of the mouth of Palisades to the top of the Tapeats. This slope offers the only break in the sandstone cliff in the general vicinity so the place to start up should be obvious. The top of the Tapeats is the route all the way to the Little Colorado. The trail is badly eroded, narrow, and, in places, remarkably exposed at the edge of an impressive precipice, so runners should walk carefully.
Runners with a known fear of heights may find this trail segment difficult. Its almost like a junior version of the Tonto Trail, contouring around each of the many small, steep gullies that drain Palisades of the Desert. The trail is reasonably well-defined, but if there are to be route finding problems they will probably occur at the point the trail crosses the drainages. It is possible to scramble down to walk the shoreline mile below the confluence, but the main trail stays on the Tapeats rim all the way to the Little Colorado River.
NOTE: If you encounter remnants of mining or other historic activities, please leave artifacts in place for other visitors to enjoy and historians to interpret. The stories of these places and people can be lost when objects are moved.
Flora & Fauna
The mouth of the Little Colorado River is designated as sensitive wildlife habitat