Hiking Grand Canyon Loops
by George Steck (Falcon Guides)
© George Steck/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
I always assume that hiking books oversell the possible dangers and difficulties just to make sure overconfident hikers don't hurt themselves. The warning in this guide that this loop is only for experienced Grand Canyon canyoneers should be taken very seriously.
We made it down to the esplanade fine and then down to the dry Colorado overlook in Cranberry canyon. Cranberry's the officially unnamed one that's the canyon you can see between Deer Creek Canyon and Fishtail Canyon as you descend from the rim. From Cranberry there's a gully you're supposed to take down to the river. It's close to 1000 feet total, and was much too technical for it to be safe for us, especially given we were out before May 15 to avoid the heat so there were not even rangers yet on the north rim. I could envision having been comfortable with a friend/guide who was experienced in the Canyon and could lead the way, but from the top it looks scarily like a 500 foot drop to the tallus.
We turned around and ended up only spending one night out there. If you do go, the dripping spring at the meetup of the two drainages down into the main cranberry canyon is a nice spot. It's over on the eastern wall maybe ~50 yards south of the meeting point. It saved us on our way out, or we wouldn't have had nearly enough water, and we still ran out an hour before exit.
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