Hiking in the Grand Canyon is a remarkable experience. Many hikers focus on hiking from either the North or South Rim to the Colorado River, often staying overnight at Phantom Ranch, adjacent to the river. In order to avoid the intense desert heat during the summer, many hikers do their trips in the spring or fall. Although all views and vistas within the Canyon are spectacular, those within the inner canyon are somewhat limited by the canyon depths and steep canyon walls. The more open and expansive views within the inner canyon can be viewed at Plateau Point, overlooking the Inner Gorge and the Colorado River. The views into the Inner Gorge, as well as those of the entire rock sequence exposed in the Canyon walls, reveal the full extent of the Canyon’s geologic record.
In the summer of 1981 our family did a round-trip hike to Plateau Point, starting early in the morning and resting in a shaded area during the mid-day desert sun before returning to the South Rim in the late afternoon. Photo #1 shows the trail descending from the South Rim, and the trail to Plateau Point is seen in the distance, ending at the rim of the Inner Gorge. Photo #2 shows the view of the River, from Plateau Point. Here one sees a spectacular contact between the dark, metamorphic rocks (nearly 2 billion years old) and the overlying, younger horizontal sedimentary rocks. This contact is referred to as the ”Great Unconformity” and it represents a gap in time of over a billion years. A visitor to Plateau Point has a close-up view of this remarkable gap in geologic time – there are few places on earth that provide a similar experience. Slide #3 shows our sons contemplating the scene at the Plateau Point overlook.
The return to the South Rim has one facing the remarkable view seen in slide #4. Here we are heading across the “flatland” toward the shaded area where a spring and trees provide relief from the sun. Once past this area, it is a steady 3 mile climb of more than 2500 feet.
Another post on this website about the Grand Canyon can be found here: