Backpacking Grandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa & Page Spring: Things to Know

This post contains details on hiking the Grandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa campground, and directions to finding water nearby at Page Spring (aka Miner’s Spring).

Before you start your hike, stop at the south rim Backcountry Office and talk to a park ranger. They hike the trails on a regular basis and can give you info on any hazards or weather conditions to be aware of. Since the Grandview Trail is not as maintained as the other main corridor trails, we took this precaution.

The view from Grandview Point, with some indicators.

The view from Grandview Point, with some indicators.

The Grandview Trailhead to Horseshoe Mesa campground is 3 miles, which took us about 4 hours. 3 miles may seem like nothing, but it’s a challenging trail. It begins with large rock steps, which lead to a series of steep switchbacks. The beginning of the trail is the most intimidating with narrow trails and steep cliffs. As the elevation decreases, you eventually hit some flat dirt portions, but it is mostly rocky. It involves a lot of technical and careful stepping as a single slip could lead to a serious, possibly fatal fall. Hiking poles were extremely helpful with balance and support, especially as our legs tired near the end of each day.

A glimpse of the Grandview trail near it's beginning. Notice the switchback and steep edges.

A glimpse of the Grandview trail near it’s beginning. Notice the switchback and large steps.

Hiking up a section of Grandview Trail

Another glimpse of the Grandview Trail. Photo taken while hiking back up to the Grandview Trailhead from Horseshoe Mesa.

Finding the Horseshoe Mesa campsites is quite easy. Once you’ve passed signs for both Page Spring and Cottonwood Creek, you’ll reach an abandoned mine building and you’ll see campground symbol signs and signs for toilets (don’t use those). We set up our tent and sleeping bags, and left a few other things at the campground to lighten our packs before heading down to Page Spring…

This abandoned building is right outside the campground sites.

This abandoned building is right outside the campground sites.

 


The Page Spring trailhead begins before you reach the Horseshoe Mesa campground. (assuming you are hiking down from the Grandview trailhead) As you approach Horseshoe Mesa, keep your eyes peeled for signs. You know you’re close when the trail turns to red dirt and you’re walking up and down hills covered in desert plants.

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As you can see, the Page Spring sign is very weathered and difficult to read. We missed it on our walk to the campground, but it’s the first sign you’ll see on Grandview Trail, and it will be on your right. If you see the sign for Cottonwood Creek on your left, you’ve gone too far.

The hike down to Page Spring is .7 miles from Horseshoe Mesa campground. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly short distance; it is very challenging. 

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On the trail to Page Spring you’ll pass one of the abandoned copper mines and equipment. Once you see an old wheelbarrow and another faded “Page Springs” sign, you’re getting close. The spring itself looks like a cave as you approach, and you’ll know it when you see it in the canyon wall.

Pat using the Katadyn Hiker Pro at Page Spring, Grand Canyon.

Pat filtering water at Page Spring, Grand Canyon. (See our other post on water and gear, link below)

Hiking back up to Horseshoe Mesa from Page Spring.

Hiking back up to Horseshoe Mesa campground from Page Spring.

Page Spring was a lifesaver for us, but we didn’t realize the hike involved to get there. We were already tired from hiking to Horseshoe Mesa, and the exertion involved in getting water, consumed a lot of water. Even though we first wished we packed enough water for two days, we were happy we did it in the end. It was definitely a challenging, awesome, and life-changing experience. We never felt so alive than when we were on those trails, and it has changed us both forever. See the quote from the south rim backcountry office we posted here: “Grand Canyon: ‘…Torturous Paradise.'”


Be sure to learn about water sources on your trail of choice BEFORE you go.

Some links:

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