Backpacking Into the Grand Canyon, Take 2

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Thunder River Panorama : Prints Available

Thunder Spring is an incredible spring that emerges from a cliff wall of the Grand Canyon nearly 4000 feet below the canyon rim with the force of a roaring river.

Last week we repeated a backpacking trip down into the Grand Canyon which we had done several years ago — a “lollipop” loop from the north rim down to Thunder River and Tapeats Creek, along the Colorado River, and up Deer Creek. When we hiked this route the first time back in November 2012, we did it in three days and it felt much too rushed and strenuous. But it was so impressive that we’ve been excited to return — this time with five days to relax and soak in the scenery.

See more photos from our trek below!

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Thunder Spring : Prints Available

Thunder Spring pours out from deep in the earth.

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Looking small in a big canyon.

Arizona, Grand Canyon, hiking, Tapeats Creek

Hiking down into Tapeats Creek.

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Hiking down the Tapeats Creek valley towards the Colorado River – April.

The canyon was in full bloom with a variety of wildflowers rivaling that found in summer alpine meadows. These yellow ones were the most prominent in the lower canyon.

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Colorado River Flowers : Prints Available

Wildflowers along the Colorado River.

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The mighty Colorado River. The river’s water should be an orangish brown color; however the Glen Canyon Dam upstream collects all the natural silt leaving the river downstream an unnatural (if pleasant) green color.

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Colorado River Camp 2 : Prints Available

Evening over the Colorado River.

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Deer Creek Narrows : Prints Available

The slot canyon narrows of Deer Creek.

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Claudia auditioning for a shampoo ad.

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Behind the Falls : Prints Available

The spring waterfall of Deer Creek.

Throne Room
Relaxing in the “Throne Room” where there are about a dozen rock thrones than have been built under a large alcove next to the Deer Creek waterfall spring.
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Canyon Yellows : Prints Available

A canyon slope full of yellow wildflowers in April.

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Crazy Jug Sunset : Prints Available

Sunset over the Grand Canyon, as seen from near Crazy Jug Point.

8 thoughts on “Backpacking Into the Grand Canyon, Take 2

  1. Jack, you dog! Thunder River is one of my favorite places in the world, and while I’ve been lucky enough to dayhike it from the river several times, I’d love to backpack it and spend more time in that country. And to catch it with all those wildflowers…..

    1. Hey Jackson, yeah this area is so phenomenal… so many little paradise spots in the desert! We were glad to have extra days on this trip to enjoy these spots rather than rushing through like last time. And yeah the flowers were quite an unexpected treat too!

  2. I just happened upon this post in a web search about GC backpacking. I am planning to do this about the same time of year, next year. How did you access the lollipop trail in April? Isn’t the north rim typically closed then? Thanks for any tips you have.

    1. Hi Breezy, if my memory serves me correctly (questionable!) I believe the North Rim visitor center and campgrounds and all that are closed early in the season, but the road that goes to this TH is open. (Make sure you have a map or good directions; the access roads are convoluted and can be confusing!)

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