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Brilliant Reds (Annotated)
Talus Cones
Easy part of descent
Descending to Red Canyon Bottom
Rounding a corner
Eventually the trail winds its way down to the very bottom of Red Canyon. From here, you more or less follow the wash at the bottom of the Canyon, negotiating a few dropoffs with little side trails that go up and around. Watch for these, especially if you see an unsurmountable obstacle in the dry wash ahead of you. It won't be long before you reach Hance Rapids on the Colorado!
Hiking along the bottom
Minor dropoffs
Ancient sea
Nearing the River
Hance Rapids
There are many places to camp at Hance Rapids. If you like, there are the sandy dunes just to the west of Red Canyon's wash (although make sure it is not too windy!!!). There are also good spots in the bushes just east of Red Canyon's dry wash.
courtesy BConnell
Hance Rapids
Camping in Dunes at Hance Creek
The Tonto trail starts heading west from here, and for the first few miles, it is pretty bouldery and rocky (and it ascends 1500 feet). The grand Canyon supergroup gives way to the Granite gorge; the hiking on the Tonto is quite pleasant as it gradually ascends terraces of Red Hakatai shale, winding in and then out of Mineral Canyon. Eventually it reaches the Tapeats Sandstone and climbs onto the Tonto platform itself.
Rough section of Tonto
Tonto above the Colorado
The start of the Tonto (Annotated)
exposed path
Hakatai Terraces
Hiking in Mineral Canyon
Lunch at Shady Overhang
Tapeats Cliffs
Hance Canyon and Angel's Gate
Hiking into Hance Canyon
The Tonto turns into Hance Canyon, a major side drainage. At the point where the Tonto trail finally crosses Hance Creek are good campsites, and usually water (verify!!)
Hiking into Hance Canyon (annotated)
Tonto in Hance Canyon
Hance Creek
Our Hance Creek campsite
From Hance Creek it is a nice walk out on the Tonto around Horseshoe mesa. There are lots of excellent points where the Tonto trail skirts the edge of the inner gorge, offering an airy and spectacular look inside. Along this section of trail are a couple of side trails leading up onto Horseshoe mesa.
Agave and unnamed butte
Exiting Hance Creek Canyon
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