“My Monument Creek is my favorite destination under the South Edge,” said the famous Grand Canyon geologist as we walked down the southern Cape. That was definitely enough for me. After a recent move to the southern edge, we waited for the air to cool so we could continue our exploration of the inner valley in more detail. My wife Wendy and I have been walking in the Grand Canyon for almost 25 years, and there are hundreds of descents from Reims in the true sense of the word. Now that we live a few minutes walk from the southern edge, we decided that one or two backpack trips a month would make perfect sense. Our first destination was Monument Creek Campground in Monument Creek on the advice of our friend.
If you have walked the “Canyon Trails” of Grand Canyon (Light Angel, South / North Kebab), walking to Monument Creek is definitely a big step. Corridor paths are well maintained, in contrast to the Hermit path – practically arranged. First of all, for any night camping under the Reams, you should make sure to call the GCNP Backcountry office at 928-638-7875 with a return permit. There are nominal fees associated with the license. Then pack your bags and insert a new memory card into your camera to immerse yourself in the far corner of the Grand Canyon.
The journey to Monument Creek on the Hermit Trail begins with a rapid 1000-minute descent into the Valderon Valley. From the Waldron Valley, the sidewalks run north from drop by drop to a small piece of rock. The trail to this point is well maintained and welcomes travelers a few days to Santa Maria Springs less than a third of a mile away. I mention pouring water because the path becomes much more difficult from here on out. There are several rock slides that cover the path with several vertically exposed areas. All this can be done with a backpack, you just will not have a good time.
Santa Maria Springs is an oasis adjacent to the Redwall Structure, approximately 2.2 miles from the footpath. This makes this area a popular destination for day hikers. A wonderful little fountain leaks into a cow where you can fill your water bottles. (Remember to always filter your water anywhere in the Grand Canyon.) Next to the fountain is a very cool rock hut with a bench and a cool two-sided rock carved with the words “resting place” on the back. The western view from inside the rock hut is covered with hanging vines – believe me, Martha Stewart could not have designed a more comfortable resort.
A road trip embracing Redwall with numerous stone slides will take you to the Lookout Point until the next hour, a great place to relax and enjoy the view. To the west of Lookout Point is the Boucher Trail along the Hermit Creek Valley. It is very difficult to see and very uneven. This route is named after the principal pilgrim Louis de Boucher. Another hour of embracing the Redwall formation with multiple stone slides and vertical placement will take you to Breezy Point. Breezy Point is 5.5 miles from the trail and is a great place to dine. Command views to the north offer a preview of the Tonto Trail, which runs southwest to Camp Hermit and northeast to the small saddle that leads to your destination in Monument Creek.
Twisting along Breezy Point and continuing to embrace the Redwall with its many stone slides and more vertical exposure will take you up to the cathedral steps in about half an hour. The steps of the cathedral are the main point or the most difficult part of the walk. The creators of the sequence have literally carved a narrow path in this structure. It is steep and rocky, but short, less than 1/4 mile. As you walk down the steps of the cathedral, you feel somewhat out of the valley walls. There is a long traverse near Cope Butte, and after several changes, you join the Tonto Trail about 7 miles from the main trail. No one can stare south at Breezy Point and the steps of the cathedral and marvel at the genius of the route builders.
The Tonto Trail to the east, after several miles of hard walking along the Redwall, offers a good break from the rocky slides and the vertical view. You can actually walk this part of the way and let your muscles relax. There is a view of the Colorado River below because the Seth Tower dominates the northern horizon. In an hour or so, you will be approaching the drainage of Monument Creek. Landing on drainage is uneven and finding a route can be difficult. There were climbers in front of us who landed directly on the creek, but only turned back. The trail actually embraces the edge and comes down a bit, look for the rocky hills.
The Monument Creek camp area is an oasis. You have now traveled approximately 9.5 miles in a protected drain with abundant black trees for shade and easy access to running water at several streams. There may be dozens of different camps, although overnight licenses only allow 4 camps. So, you can easily find a “private” camp of your choice. We choose a canopy camp among the black trees to hang a rope to fasten the backpacks, camp equipment and most importantly the “mouse sack”. A rat sack is a necessity for a backpack in the Grand Canyon, it is a wire mesh bag with a wooden cover that keeps the muscles, especially the tail rings, away from your food. However, it is usually not enough to hang it during the day, crows simply sit on a sack and check your food. Therefore, it is better to cover the mouse sack with another bag. Your backpack will work, but the crows have also amazingly mastered their beaks, and soon all your zippers will open and browse the contents. I have heard stories of ravens running away from their backpacks and money in their beaks! On this trip, we happened to meet some of our friends and they lost the library cover because of a highly read crow – no, this work was not written by Edgar Allan Poe.
After settling in Monument Creek Campground, you will probably want to explore the monument yourself. The peak is more than 200 minutes above the camp and stands like a guard at Monument Creek. I have read reports of it climbing 4 pitches with a score of 5.10A – much higher than my salary level.
The monument combines with the surrounding cliffs, but you can see the Monument Creek Vista on Hermit Road about 3,500 minutes above. The best daily walk from Monument CG is the 1.6 mile journey from Monument Creek to Granite Rapids. The rugged descent to Monument Creek begins on the west side of the monument. There are several steep changes with loose rock, but within minutes you are standing on the sand / rock drain of your creek. In the first few hundred yards you can easily follow the shelters and then follow the natural drainage. It is extraordinary beautiful. Monument Creek is mostly underground, but is located above ground level near the Colorado River and may jump when it is not raining. Please pay attention to the weather before landing at Monument Creek, it will flood.
From Monument CG you can walk west to Tonto and spend time at Hermit’s CG and climb Hermit, or east to Salt Creek CG, Horn Creek CG, Indian Gardens CG and Bright Angel Trail. We considered the monument a destination for ourselves and loved exploring the entire area and then climbing the Hermit Trail again. A few hours later we are sitting in the “Break Beat” in Santa Maria Springs and we are planning for our next adventure in the Grand Canyon.
Eric is a real estate agent in Tucson AZ and a real estate agent in the southern part of the state.
Please visit my website: http://www.TheTucsonHomeHunters.com