An ~11 mile trail running loop around Horseshoe Mesa with massive elevation gain.


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FATMAP difficulty grade



Beginning at Grandview Point, this ~11 mile loop offers a challenging trail run through remote and lesser visited portions of the Grand Canyon.

Built by miners in the late 1800's, the route showcases several fine views across Horseshoe Mesa, but at a price - a demanding 4,200' of climbing in just 11 miles! If you're looking for a challenge, consider this loop, or the [South Kaibab-Tonto-Bright Angel]( route closer to the Grand Canyon Village. Other than a small spring below Horseshoe Mesa, neither drinking water or restrooms are available in the backcountry.

A hydration vest or similar is required and trekking poles come highly recommended.

Bear in mind, the loop descends into the canyon from the South Rim.

Every step you descend will greet you on the return climb out. The trailhead is located along South Rim Drive, sometime referenced as Desert View or E.

Rim Drive on some maps.

Look for the Grandview Point access road, roughly halfway between Desert View Point and the South Rim Visitor Center/Grand Canyon Village.

During inclement weather, the road to the trailhead may close suddenly or with little notice.

The National Park also recommends visitors utilize over-the-shoe traction devices to combat the winter and early spring ice. The first leg of the run is extremely steep and narrow as you descend to the Coconino Saddle.

"Large steps and extreme dropoffs intensify the steepness of the trail," writes the [National Park Service](

The first vista of many along the loop, most day hikers choose to turn around here.

For trail runners, this benchmark comes only one mile into the run. A "lollipop" route, three miles in runners are faced with the option to complete a loop in either direction.

Most choose clockwise, keeping left to continue on the Grandview Trail as crosses over Horseshoe Mesa.

Consider a short side trip onto the Horseshoe Mesa East Trail to explore different perspectives of the massive red rock formations and surrounding landscape.

Other side trails to various overlooks will also be found over the next few miles. Circling around the northernmost point of Horseshoe Mesa, the loop keeps right at the junction of Tonto Trail and meanders around the eastern slopes of the mesa.

At the junction with Hance Creek Trail, keep right.

Possibly the steepest portion of the loop, an intense climb leads runners back to a junction with Grandview Trail.

Keep left to retrace your steps south and finish your run.