“A true desert trail winding below the towering South Rim.”
— Dan.G. yorlig
Birding · Views · Wildlife
The trailhead is on Ross Maxwell Scenic drive, right next to Homer Wilson Ranch. The trail goes to the right (south) of the ranch. There are bear boxes about a half mile from the road (before you get to the ranch) if you are taking on the Outer Mountain Loop
and want to stash food and water.
The Dodson starts out very flat, following a river bed. Fortunately, there are many cairns marking the path along the stream bed. The only significant uphill starts after the riverbed, where the is a bit of a hill climb. There are a few switchbacks, so the uphill is not terrible. The view is amazing as you climb the hill. Once at the top, the trail continues through pretty desert vegetation. The first junction you come upon heads south to the Mule Ears. Stay straight to follow the Dodson Trail. From here the trail becomes very exposed, with only ground-level vegetation. The trail starts to wind through valleys though stays on grade so it is not very strenuous.
You'll eventually come upon another junction that goes off to the right. Stay straight on the Dodson Trail. After this junction, you'll start to run along and across dry riverbeds. It can get confusing if you do not look out for cairns or can not distinguish between footpath or river bed. I actually added an extra mile because I incorrectly followed a stream bed instead of the trail, though I did see some interesting small canyons.
The trail ends at a junction with the Juniper Canyon Trail
and an unimproved road.