“This holds a well-deserved spot as one of the most difficult and demanding Grand Canyon trails.”
— Nicholas Shannon
Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Swamp Ridge Road is subject to closure during autumn fire activity. Do not drive off-road to go around fallen trees. It is a gated road and is not accessible by vehicle until the National Park Service fire crew has cleared it of downed trees. In some years, this road is not open until late May or early June.
The remote North Bass trailhead is located at Swamp Point. Swamp Point is at the end of Swamp Ridge Road. Though it is possible to access the trailhead from the North Rim Village by taking the Point Sublime and Kanabownits Roads, it should be noted that passage is much easier from the west via Forest Service Roads. A North Kaibab National Forest map is essential.
From Swamp Point, the trail drops nearly a mile via switchbacks to an intersection at Muav Saddle. To your right stands an old patrol cabin. The Powell Plateau
Trail continues south and ascends to Powell Plateau. The North Bass Trail is to the left and contours the base of the Coconino Sandstone for approximately mile to the somewhat reliable Queen Anne Spring.
The one-mile descent from the spring to a benchmark in White Creek was restored to the historic trail alignment and completely rebuilt in 2005. Continue down White Creek until you reach a waterfall. The bypass is on creek right about 50 feet before reaching the waterfall. Continue down the bed of White Creek until you come to the large pour-off in the Redwall.
The cairned trail to the right crosses four drainages as it traverses along the Redwall rim. After crossing the fourth drainage the trail continues along a cliff to the start of the Redwall descent. The descent through the Redwall to the bed of White Creek is steep and rocky, but well marked. Continue down the drainage to a pour-off in the Bright Angel Shale which can be bypassed on creek right. The bypass is approximately mile in length and contours along the Tonto before dropping back into White Creek.
The trail continues down the drainage until reaching a benchmark at the top of the Tapeats Sandstone. At the mouth of Redwall Canyon, a large pour-off in the Tapeats prevents further travel in the drainage. In 2005, the trail was restored to its historic alignment and today bypasses this fall approximately mile above the Tapeats pour off, contouring along the Tonto to the west of White Creek. A final quick descent drops the runner alongside Shinumo Creek about mile downstream of the White/Shinumo confluence.
The trail follows Shinumo Creek downstream for approximately one and half miles before abruptly exiting the drainage on the east side of the creek. A climb of approximately 700 feet is required to reach a saddle before the trail descends to a large beach and terrace above the Colorado River.
Flora & Fauna
Forest and upland shrub frame white hoodoos near the rim, while slickrock sections and small waterfalls wait to enchant the runner further down. As the trail approaches the canyon floor, it widens to offer stunning views and the vegetation shifts to a combination of riparian and low desert scrub.