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New Hance

on the New Hance trail
Hiker on the new Hance trail
New Hance trail
New Hance trail
map: New Hance trail
Elevation plot: New Hance trail


How to Get There
This hike is located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

From Flagstaff, take HWY 180 north towards the Grand Canyon. Once you enter the park, you'll head east on the East Rim Drive. Take the East Rim drive until you reach the Buggeln picnic area. Go another mile past the picnic area and park at the gated forest road on your left side. If you reach mile marker 257 you've gone too far. Unfortunately, there is no parking at the trailhead and the trailhead is unsigned. Hike East along the east rim drive 0.6 miles (you'll pass mile marker 257) until you see a "no parking tow away zone" sign on your left, along with a small pullout. Take the trail here into the forest for a few hundred feet until you see the trail start sign.
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon and Marble Canyon area

Hike details

5.60 [Miles] Total
Hike Distance- Details
5.6 miles to the start of the redwall and back. It's 6.8 miles one way to the Colorado river .
4.00 [Hours]
It took us just under 4 hours to go to the top of the redwall and back. I'd love to take this trail all the way down to the Colorado River and see Hance Rapid from the shore, but I haven't had the chance yet.
Elevation Change
3,400 Total gain/loss [Feet]
Elevation Loss
1,700 Total Elevation Loss[Feet]
Elevation Details
About 1700 ft (4700 ft if you go all the way to the Colorado river)
Hike Trail Type
Out and Back


Best Season
  • February
  • March
  • September
  • October
Worst Season
  • January
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • November
  • December
Season Details
Spring or Fall. If you take this day hike in the summer start early! (SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR WINTER AND SUMMER TIMES!)

, For Winter Hiking: Remember that the South Rim is damned cold in the winter. Snow and Ice will cover the trail for the first few miles. Crampons are recommended.

, For Summer Hiking: Get an early start and don't hike during the heat of the day. Remember that the bottom of the canyon will be MUCH hotter than the top. Taking this trail in the summer is NOT recommended.
Date Hike completed
July 26, 2009


Solitude Details
Fantastic. We didn't have to share this hike with anyone on a very busy Saturday in July.


Difficulty Rating
difficulty detail
30 yr old Recommendation: This hike is Moderately Strenuous. It's rare you'll find a trail that heads all the way to the Colorado river that you don't have to share, but we had great solitude on this one.


Permit Info
$25 to Get into the National Park - Save yourself some money and get an annual pass
Be Aware of
route finding

Hike the New Hance trail in Grand Canyon national park, Arizona.

We were up in the Grand Canyon on a busy July and we were looking for a secluded day hike (not easy!). Incredibly, we were able to find one at New Hance. Hiking 2.8 miles to the start of the Redwall layer makes for an enjoyable (and secluded) day hike.

One of the reasons for the excellent solitude on the New Hance trail is the trailhead is poorly marked. This is an unmaintained trail and for experienced Grand Canyon hikers only. From the gated forest road, walk East along the rim drive for 0.6 miles until you see the "no parking" and "Tow away zone" signs. If the signs aren't obvious enough, you are not allowed to park at the trailhead start. From the "no parking" pullout, turn North and walk along the now visible trail deeper into the forest towards the hidden South Rim.  After a few hundred feet of walking, you'll see a sign clearly marking the start of the trail. 

The trail can be tricky to find at times, so you'll have to use those route finding skills. It's a very steep descent as well, almost as steep as the South Kaibab trail, which is the steepest trail to the depths of the Grand Canyon. It's a rocky descent, so use care. I fell once and my friend fell twice along this trail.

Very quickly, you'll be greeted with views of the Coronado Butte and the inner Grand Canyon. This trail follows a contour of Red Canyon, eventually reaching the Colorado River at Hance rapid. For this day hike, we stopped at the start of the redwall layer. If you're not sure where the redwall layer is, when the trail starts to leave the bottom of Red Canyon it's time to consider turning around. At least, you'll be greeted with some great views of the inner Grand Canyon from this excellent viewpoint.

Someday I hope to take this trail all the way to the river. Enjoy!


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