Grand Canyon's Grandview Trail Challenges the Sedona Westerners
On a beautiful Thursday in early November, the Sedona Westerners Mustang group traveled to The Grand Canyon to hike the historic Grandview trail. Doug Reinike was the leader of the hike and Mike Holmes acted as tailgater and co-leader.
At Grandview Point, the group took the time to view Horseshoe Mesa, 2400 feet below them, and the trail that they would be taking. Across the Colorado River, they could see Krishna Shrine, Rama Shrine, and Solomon and Sheba Temples.
The hikers were interested in the history of the area and stopped at the trailhead to review the information at the kiosk. From the kiosk and the hike leaders, the club members learned that Pete Berry was one of a number of miners in the Grand Canyon looking to strike it rich in the late 1800’s. Berry found copper on Horseshoe Mesa, and called his mine “The Last Chance Mine”. Getting the copper to his stamp mill on Grandview Point was not going to be easy since no trail existed. The trail that the miners created is impressive, because much of it is built on a cliff and the miners’ work has stood up for over 100 years. Sections of the trail were created by building a log framework on the cliff and filling the framework with rocks.
In 1895 Berry built the Grandview Hotel to take advantage of the growing number of tourists that wanted to see the Grand Canyon. Berry mined, and used the Grandview trail for tourists until 1907.
Once the railroad spur from Williams to the South Rim was completed, most of the tourism was diverted from Pete Berry’s Grandview trail. Since tourism paid better than mining, and the tourism trade had slowed, Berry sold his claims to William Randolph Hearst.
With the review of the history of the trail as preparation, it was time to see what Pete Berry and his group of miners had created.
The goal for the day was to hike to the saddle of Horseshoe Mesa and have lunch near Berry’s dining hall. This would provide ample time for the hikers to check some of the mining artifacts in the area and the dining hall that the miners had used.
The group chose to hike at a conservative pace on the 3-mile trip down to Horseshoe Mesa. Once most of the 2400 feet down was achieved, the hikers had their first break beyond one of the most impressive sections that the miners constructed, not far from the traverse to the saddle that leads onto Horseshoe Mesa, As described above, they had created this portion of the trail off the side of the cliff, on a framework that was not obvious until hikers looked back from below it. At this point, many of the hikers exclaimed, “We just hiked down that?”
After welcomed rest, the group continued down to the traverse to the saddle, and the miners’ dining hall. This section of trail has expansive views to the west and into Cottonwood Creek. The dining hall, constructed out of the available rock, shows the ravages of years; only three walls, a doorway and a fireplace remain of the single, modest-sized room. It is the only structure there, though a few mining relics remain at the mines themselves.
With lunch over, the leader took the tailgater position and allowed each hiker to return to the rim at her or his own pace. Some were motivated by visions of dinner in Flagstaff and made it to the rim in record time. Others wished to enjoy being in one of the most beautiful sections of Grand Canyon and took their time hiking out. Once back at Grandview Point, many of the hikers stopped at the kiosk once again to see the pictures of the hardy group of men that created the trail that they had just finished hiking.
The days’ activity had given everyone an appetite, and the Grandview Trail provided for lots of animated discussion during dinner.
The Westerners always welcome new members. If you are interested in joining the club, log onto our website, www.sedonawesterners.org., for membership information. You may also join at one of our monthly meetings. Our next regular meeting will be on Thursday, Jan. 12, beginning at 7p.m. at the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley, 100 Meadowlark Drive, Sedona.