Hiking The Old Hance Trail

Vital Statistics
Rim to Tonto Trail crossing: 4 miles
7.5’ Grandview Point, Cape Royal
15’ Grandview Point, Vishnu Temple
Elevation Change
3350’ to 7100’


Trailhead Access
Sinking Ship Overlook, Tonto Trail between Grandview Point and Red Canyon
Trail Description
The remnants of the old trail begin at the west end of the Sinking Ship Overlook. There is not much point to look for the original trail after the first bit. Initially the rout heads down the gully below the overlook. This opens into a wide slope below the Kaibab and is funneled into a loose scree-filled gully. Either descend this or traverse to the next gully to the west. These connect lower down the slope for the descent through the Coconino. The Redwall descent is the key to this route and it is worth spending the time to find the old trail. Look for the trail leading out the right (east) side of the gully. (The gully is filled with difficult to bypass boulders below this.) The trail is indistinct but finds a route with cairns through the Redwall about 100 yards to the east. Follow this into the main drainage with no further obstacles to the Tonto Tail. Halfway from the Redwall to the Tonto is the site of the Old Hance Camp. There is a spring from a  recess in the right (east) side of the canyon. The remainder of the way to the Tonto Trail is easily walking in the stream bed.
Comments: The Old Hance Trail was abandoned in 1985 and little remains of it. Mostly it is scrambling down a steep hillside and gully. Though shorter, it will probably take longer to reach House Creek than the Grandview Trail.
Water Availability
Spring at Old Hance Camp and Hance Creek below the Tonto Trail are perennial.
Nothing suitable above the Redwall. Good sites on the Tonto.