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Tonto East Trail --
Boulder Canyon to Lonetree Canyon
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Grand Canyon National Park
Boulder Canyon to Lonetree Canyon
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Tonto East Trail
Hiker in Boulder Canyon (view N)


I've organized my description of the Tonto East Trail into two parts: (1) an overview of the entire trail, trailheads, and other general information, and (2) individual canyon-to-canyon segments.

From Boulder Canyon, it is about 3.1 miles and 1.5 hours to Lonetree Canyon. This segment of the trail runs out the west side of Boulder Canyon, loops around Newton Butte, and then runs up into Lonetree Canyon. The trail is fairly fast and easy (mostly a gentle contour with a few rocky gullies), and the views above and below the trail and out into the Inner Gorge are spectacular. Boulder Canyon is in Camping Zone BH9 (camping at-large) and Lonetree Canyon is in Zone BJ9 (camping at-large).

Link to map of this segment.


Tonto East Trail
Upper Boulder Canyon (view S)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...This segment of the Tonto East Trail is fairly safe, but be sure to read the Watch Out section on the Tonto East Overview page, which discusses things such as cell phones and signal mirrors. While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and please practice your Leave No Trace skills.

Tonto East Trail Flats at the NW point of Boulder Canyon (view W)

Getting to the Trailhead

Trailhead information is presented on the Tonto East Overview page. This segment of the Tonto East Trail can only be accessed from other segments of the Tonto East Trail -- there is no rim access.

Tonto East Trail
Redwall cliffs above side canyon (view S)

The Hike

6. Boulder Canyon to Lonetree Canyon -- 3.1 miles and 1.5 hours

From the wash crossing in Boulder Canyon (Wpt. 42; 0852 hrs), the trail cuts straight across the wash and straight up the hillside to intersect with what appears to be the main trail, which comes from somewhere farther up the canyon. The first few minutes of trail out of the back of the canyon is rocky, shrubby, narrow, has several up-and-downs, and climbs gently until running out on the contour.

After crossing a shallow side canyon (Wpt. 43; 0905 hrs), the trail starts up across hillsides. The trail eventually turns (Wpt 44; 0913) up a little wash and begins heading away from Boulder Canyon, which is leaves on a saddle (Wpt 45; 0916) with a good campsite.

Tonto East Trail
Tonto between Boulder and Lonetree (view W)

For the next minute or two crossing this flat area, the trail is difficult to follow. It mostly runs in little washes and erosion gullies, and it takes unexpected turns. Watch for the cairns. After passing more campsites (Wpt 46; 0917), the trail becomes obvious again as it turns into the next side canyon.

The trail crosses the next side canyon just below an enormous boulder (Wpt. 47; 0922). The trail runs in on the contour, crosses the rocky gully, follows cairns through the rocks, and eventually climbs the rocky bank on the other side. After climbing the rocky bank, the trail continues on the contour.

Tonto East Trail
Trail into Lonetree Canyon (view SW)

Crossing the back of the next side canyon (0928), the trail is a little rocky, but otherwise the trail out to the point (Wpt. 48; 0936) overlooking the Inner Gorge is fairly easy. There are two tent sites on the point. The easy trail runs northwest to another point, this one at the turn into Lonetree Canyon (Wpt. 49; 0949).

After turning into Lonetree Canyon, the trail drops gently across hillside and gullies. The trail then drops at a moderate grade into a side canyon (Wpt. 50; 1004), then climbs steeply onto a ridge with one good campsite (tent site) and another marginal one (Wpt. 51; 1011).

Tonto East Trail
Lonetree Canyon crossing (in shadow; view SW)

After the campsites, the trail contours around gently until dropping steeply into Lonetree Wash (Wpt. 52; 1019). The trail drops into bottom of the wash, follows up along the east side of the wash, climbs above a pour-over, and crosses the wash on the slick rock. Cairns indicate the way out the west side.

In the bottom of Lonetree Wash, there are two nice slickrock campsites just downstream from where the trail drops into the wash on the east side. Water often is available at the trail crossing, otherwise, check a short ways below the trail.

Lonetree Canyon is a fairly open, well-vegetated canyon with one small Cottonwood Tree (the "lone" tree?) just above the crossing. Other trees and large shrubs include Redbud, Saltcedar, Single-leaf Ash, Serviceberry, and Catclaw Acacia.

Tonto East Trail
Lonetree Canyon crossing (view S)
Tonto East Trail
Slickrock and water below trail in Lonetree Canyon (view N)

Table 6. Hiking Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 12). Download Entire Route Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location Easting Northing Elevation Point-to-Point Time (min) Cumulative Time (min) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Total Tonto Distance (mi)*
42 Boulder Wash 406881 3990605 3,620 0:00 0:00 0.00 0.00 26.13
43 Starting to turn out of Boulder Canyon 407205 3991064 3,680 0:16 0:16 0.55 0.55 26.68
44 Trail turned up a little wash 407407 3991226 3,672 0:07 0:23 0.22 0.77 26.90
45 Crossing a saddle 407402 3991423 3,718 0:03 0:27 0.13 0.90 27.03
46 Campsites 407359 3991476 3,708 0:01 0:28 0.06 0.96 27.09
47 Crossing side canyon 407127 3991499 3,701 0:04 0:33 0.18 1.14 27.27
48 Edge of the Inner Gorge 407409 3992151 3,736 0:13 0:46 0.51 1.65 27.78
49 Turning into Lonetree Canyon 406935 3992627 3,760 0:13 1:00 0.52 2.17 28.30
50 Trail drops into side canyon 406333 3992371 3,651 0:15 1:15 0.53 2.70 28.83
51 Ridge with campsites 406157 3992354 3,655 0:06 1:21 0.18 2.88 29.01
52 Lonetree Wash 405870 3992189 3,624 0:07 1:29 0.26 3.14 29.27

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 111002

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