“This pleasant loop trail is shady and easy, offering views of Bright Angel Canyon.
— Megan W
Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This North Rim trail approaches the canyon from a unique direction and therefore provides users with views not seen from the more visited vantage points along more popular roads and trails.
Need to Know
Parking is limited at the North Kaibab trailhead- arrive early! Valley can be snowy into June.
This trail is partially forested, providing welcome shade. Rocky trail surface. Valley can be snowy into June.
To reach the start of the Uncle Jim Trail
, you must first run about 1 mile north on the Ken Patrick
Trail. From the North Kaibab trailhead parking area, go towards the mule corral area and pick up the Ken Patrick
Trail. After about 1 mile of travel through open wooded slopes, take a right (east) at the signed intersection. Now you're on the lollipop shaped Uncle Jim Trail
. Run east along the "stem" of the lollipop, heading steeply downhill into a valley and back up the other side. This dip is the most arduous part of the trail.
Upon reaching the far side of the valley, the trail splits to form each arm of the loop. You can complete the circle in either direction, this description takes the left fork to go clockwise. Stay on the lookout for fossilized seashells and sponges in the trailside Kaibab limestone. Pretty neat that this rim of the canyon was under water a mere 250 million years ago. Continue through the forest plateau and pop out at the canyon rim for infrequently seen view of Bright Angel Canyon. Some of the South Rim is visible, but the inner gorge is hidden. You can see Walhalla Plateau, Bright Angel Point
and the beginning switchbacks of the North Kaibab Trail.
Once you're finished absorbing the views at Uncle Jim Point, proceed north to finish the loop. The remainder of the loop back to the "stem" of the lollipop passes through an old forest fire area and does not have canyon views. Retrace your steps left (west) along the "stem" then head left (south) on the Ken Patrick
trail back to the parking area. Note: this trail is also used by mules, so be respectful and watch out from droppings!
Flora & Fauna
Fir, spruce, ponderosa pine, aspen, mushrooms. Squirrels, deer, turkey.
History & Background
This trail is named for James Owen, a game warden who lived on the North Rim for many years. His claim to fame was killing over 500 mountain lions in a (now discredited) attempt to protect the mule deer living in the area.