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Tonto West Trail --
Emerald Canyon to Serpentine Canyon
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Grand Canyon National Park
Tonto Trail -- Emerald Canyon to Serpentine Canyon
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Emerald Canyon
Emerald Canyon (view northeast from east horn).


This description of the Tonto West Trail is divided into two parts: (1) an overview of the entire trail, trailheads, and other general information, and (2) individual canyon-to-canyon segments.

From the wash in Emerald Canyon, it is about 1.2 miles and 0.75 hours to the wash in Serpentine Canyon. Seasonal water is available in Serpentine Canyon. This short segment of trail runs northeast out of Emerald Canyon, crosses a ridge below Havasupai Point, and turns back and runs west into Serpentine Canyon. The trail is always faint, but it is fairly easy to follow. This segment of trail is in Backcountry Use Zone BP9 (at-large camping).

Link to map of this segment.

Serpentine Canyon
Trail into Serpentine Canyon (view west).

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, sure to read the Watch Out section on the Tonto West 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 try to Leave No Trace of your passage.

Getting to the Trailhead

Trailhead information is presented on the Tonto West Overview page.

Serpentine Canyon
Serpentine Canyon (view west).

The Hike

19. Emerald Canyon to Serpentine Canyon -- 1.2 miles and 0.75 hours

From the edge of the slickrock horn of Emerald Canyon (Table 19, Waypoint 105) (actually a major side canyon, but Emerald looks like it has two horns), the well-cairned route climbs up through a break in the Tapeats Sandstone to get above the cliffs. From there, the trail generally picks up the contour and climbs a gentle grade to the ridge separating the Emerald and Serpentine drainage systems (Wpt. 106). There are nice campsites on the ridge.

From the ridge, the trail turns and runs west into Serpentine Canyon. After about 10 minutes of easy hiking, the trail passes the first gully of any consequence. Five minutes past there, already getting into the back of the canyon, the trail runs across a steep, rocky hillside, but the trail remains good and easy to follow.

Serpentine Canyon
Serpentine Canyon (view west).

The trail drops steeply at an angle into Serpentine Wash, hitting the wash just below the slickrock pour-over. The trail then climbs onto the slickrock pour-over and crosses Serpentine Wash (Wpt. 107).

Seasonal water is available in the wash, but there are no campsites other than the slickrock.

Table 19. Hiking Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 12). Download Entire Route Waypoint (gpx) file.

Wpt. Location Time Easting Northing Elevation (ft) Verified
105 Emerald Wash, slickrock horn (76) 0946 379381 4006257 3,209 GPS
106 Turn into Serpentine (77) 1002 379720 4006710 3,333 GPS
107 Serpentine (78) 1030 378618 4006642 3,051 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 120424

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