Rocky trail surface, downed trees, route finding challenges.
The rocky and remote Ken Patrick Trail would be a very long out-and-back, so most folks wanting to go the whole length set up a car shuttle and complete it in only one direction. Begin the Ken Patrick Trail from the mule stable area at the far end of the North Kaibab trailhead parking lot. Travel through scattered woods and meadows. This western end from the trailhead to the junction with Uncle Jim Trail
is the most heavily used part and is easy to follow. This section of the Ken Patrick Trail also allows mules, so be courteous and also watch out for their droppings.
Continue past the Uncle Jim Trail
junction generally uphill with steep dips into and then up out of several eroded valleys. This section of trail to the signed junction with the Old Bright Angel Trail
is still easy to follow and crosses a huge burned area that still appears ghostly after the 2000 Outlet fire (a prescribed burn got out of control). There may be some downed trees to navigate, but regrowth is well established here. Next, plunge deep into a canyon formed by Bright Angel Creek and then arduously climb back out. This final section of trail is less defined and some route finding care is needed. Head northeast and do not wander too far from the rim. Some users also report having to bushwhack through dense undergrowth. Traverse the forested upper Walhalla plateau and then cross Cape Royal Road.
For the remainder of the run, the route finding becomes much easier and you are treated to numerous wonderful views down into the canyon over the rim. You'll be able to see upper Bright Angel Canyon, Mount Hayden, Marble Canyon and Nankoweap Creek basin. Navigate one last long section of ups and downs into and out of wooded ravines before the trail ends at the southern end of the Point Imperial parking area.
This trail was named after Grand Canyon ranger Kenneth C. Patrick who worked at the national park in the 1960s, but was later killed in 1973 while on duty at Point Reyes National Seashore in California.
Deer, Kaibab squirrel, turkey. Aspen, locust, pine.