Horseshoe Mesa, Grand Canyon National Park.

A Matter of Perspective: A Father-Daughter Hike in the Grand Canyon

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   12 Comments

By Michael Lanza

The New Hance Trail starts out hard, and then gets really tough. The rugged footpath drops off the South Rim into the Grand Canyon like a ball rolling off a table—4,422 vertical feet in 6.5 miles from the rim to the Colorado River. Most of that relief comes in the first five miles, as the trail wiggles through more switchbacks than a squirrel racks up in a year of crossing streets. Geology magnifies the unmaintained path’s grueling character: It drops over hundreds of knee-jarring, quad-jellying ledges two to three feet high, which can seem endless to someone carrying a backpack.

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12 Responses to A Matter of Perspective: A Father-Daughter Hike in the Grand Canyon

  1. Bart   |  November 4, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Nice write up! Just got a permit for New Hance to Grandview for late March 2016. FYI I was told that applications can be mailed as early as the 20th and as long as they arrive by the 1st, they get same priority

    Really looking forward to trip. Thanks for posting your experiences. Very helpful as my kids range from 10 to 17. We’re spending 6 days in there to allow for some shortish days to explore.

    • michaellanza   |  November 4, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Hey Bart, congrats and have a great trip, it’s a beautiful hike. Let me know how your family likes it.

    • Bart   |  April 18, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      Hey Mike
      We had an amazing trip. We did a slightly different but more leisurely version in that we rested a day at Hance Rapids which was lovely. Then on to Hance Creek – the sections of the Tonto above the canyon were kind of spooky with the exposure since I was bringing up the rear and my youngest (age 11) was really nonchalant about her footing. Then Day 4 we went from Hance Creek to cottonwood Day 5 to the Mesa – that trek to the spring and back was really fun. Day 6 out grandview.

      My girls were amazing. And their mom hiked from Hance Rapids out in Chacos after her 17 year old hiking shoes fell apart.

      Thanks again for the quality beta on the canyon. Bart

      • michaellanza   |  April 19, 2016 at 12:41 pm

        Hi Bart, congratulations, sounds like it was a huge success and you planned it smartly. Now you can start planning your next family adventure!

  2. mtwaggin   |  November 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    That is one awesome trooper of a youngster! Go Alex – GIRL POWER!

    • michaellanza   |  November 20, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Thank you, she certainly is.

  3. Joseph Johnson (@joew_johnson)   |  November 5, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Mike, I love your reviews (and writing style) of the trips, solo, with family, with kids only or with friends. Also, the “Make It Happen” info at the end of each article is excellent. One request, could you consider creating and including a map of the trailheads, trails and campsites? It may be very useful for many of your readers.

    Also, I really get the joy that you express in your writing. Let me explain, on October 25 & 26, just a couple of weeks ago I was on a short overnight, 15 miles with two of my grandkids, Ethan 13 years, and Lexi 10 years. Ethan has been on canoe trips with me, but it was their first time backpacking. We had a great time on the Superior Hiking Trail, great time and talking together, weather, scenery and wildlife too. Keep the great stories coming!

    • michaellanza   |  November 5, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Hi Joe, I have thought about including a map of some kind, but haven’t done that yet for various reasons. I’ll give that more thought. Thanks for the nice words.

  4. Jeff Ross   |  November 5, 2014 at 7:07 am

    Michael,
    Great hike, did this a year ago and loved every minute of it,
    Think the next hike you should take your daughter on is Thunder River,
    She would enjoy all the water,
    http://www.allflagstaffhomes.com/Hiking_to_Thunder_River_in_the_Grand_Canyon/?Id=29994

    Thanks for the blog,
    Jeff

    • michaellanza   |  November 5, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Great hike suggestion, Jeff, it’s on my list. Thanks.

  5. Kenny Ross   |  November 5, 2014 at 6:39 am

    Michael,

    Judging by the difficulty of that hike, and the size of the pack she is carrying, Alex is quickly gaining ground on you as the biggest inspiration out there 🙂 Keep doing what you do, and thanks for sharing!

    Kenny

    • michaellanza   |  November 5, 2014 at 9:44 am

      You’re absolutely right, Kenny. And I’ll never complain about my kids being able to carry more!

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