Grand Canyon Backpack/Packraft Loop at New Hance

Jun 7, 2020
My husband Ray and I just got back from an epic adventure. We did a 7-day backpack/packraft loop in the Grand Canyon starting at the New Hance Trail. We hiked 82 miles with close to 30,000 feet of elevation change. We went down the New Hance Trail (arguably the hardest trail on the south rim), crossed the Colorado River in packrafts above Hance Rapid, hiked off-trail along thin ledges above 500-foot cliffs, and explored canyons rarely visited. We eventually worked our way over to the Clear Creek Trail, down through Phantom Ranch, up the South Kaibab to the Tonto Trail East Trail, up the Grandview Trail and back to the car at New Hance.

Here is the link to the trip report:

Here are a few photos:


Hiking down the New Hance Trail carrying a packraft and wearing nano spikes.

Dropping into Red Canyon and looking across at the Hakatai Formation (red beds).

First night camp on the Colorado River upstream from Hance Rapid

Packrafting across the Colorado River above Hance Rapid. Not great places to land but we made it

Hiking up above the inner gorge of the Canyon on the north side where there are no trails. I am looking
back at Hance Rapid.

Ledge walking - don’t look down….

Grizzly-Bear Cacti glowing as the sun sets

Side-hill hiking and avoiding cacti.

What geologists will do just to go look at a few rocks….


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Wow! What a trip, thanks for sharing. That ledge would get anyone's attention... whoa.

Hope you feet feel better now. The various styles of Superfeet inserts are very different. I really disliked the Women's Trailblazer insole & the Women's Berry, but my feet thrive with the regular Men/Women light blue "All Purpose" Superfeet insert. Hope you find something that works for you.
Wow! What a trip, thanks for sharing. That ledge would get anyone's attention... whoa.

Hope you feet feel better now. The various styles of Superfeet inserts are very different. I really disliked the Women's Trailblazer insole & the Women's Berry, but my feet thrive with the regular Men/Women light blue "All Purpose" Superfeet insert. Hope you find something that works for you.
My foot is recovering and luckily, it didn’t get infected. I hear you on the Superfeet. I tried a black (carbon?) one in the past that seemed to work for my feet. This time I mistakenly got the Superfeet Trailblazers at a camping store in St. George because they changed the color. I still wore them (big mistake!). It wasn’t worth chewing my foot up.
Awesome! Was this the first week of April? That's shocking about the 30 campers at Cottonwood Creek,
It was the last week in March. People were spread out in Cottonwood but I was surprised to see that many there. The debris flow from last year has also changed it quite a bit. But, there was water when we were there so I can’t complain.
Awesome trip - Kudos! Visiting that asbestos mine would be cool - did you see any hydrothermal outcrops in the area? One question about your packrafts - what model did you use and do you know how much it weighs? Thanks again.
Hi Marc. The asbestos appears to mainly be from contact metamorphism between diabase sills (Cardenas) into the Bass Formation. There are some great chrysotile crystals though (approx 2 inches long). We did not visit the mine directly because it is closed to the pubic by the Park Service.

Regarding the packrafts - we had Supai Matkats and paddles and MTI Journey lifevests. These all together weighed 3.8 pounds. My backpack only weighed 31 pounds with the boats and paddles, all gear, tent, bag, food for 7 days and 2 liters of water. My husband’s pack was only 33 pounds total weight (for 7 days). The Supai Matkats are good for crossing a river, not really anything more. But, they were perfect for this trip.
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