Uncle Jim Trail

A dirt path lined with wooden fences goes along the edge of a forest.
Uncle Jim Trail


Quick Facts

The Uncle Jim Trail is a loop accessed via the Ken Patrick Trail from the parking area for the North Kaibab Trailhead. After winding through the forest on Ken Patrick Trail for 0.9 miles (1.5 km), bear right and walk for another 0.4 miles (0.6 km). At this point, you have the option of heading left or right. Either direction is part of the same loop on this trail. Both lead to a point overlooking the canyon and North Kaibab Trail switchbacks. The entire loop portion for this section of the trail is 2.1 miles (3.4 km).

This trail is also used by mules. Always give them the right of way.

The eastern section of Ken Patrick trail beyond the junction for Uncle Jim Trail is not maintained and impassable in multiple areas.

Trail Information

Roundtrip Distance: 4.7 miles (7.6 km)
Elevation change: ~730 feet (~223 m)
Average Hiking Time: 3 hours

Hike Smart

Make a Plan
Once you have researched your trip and are confident in what to expect on the trail, leave your plan with someone who will notice if you are overdue and report it to 911.

Check the Weather
Summer temperatures in the shade routinely pass 100°F (38°C). Avoid hiking between 10 am and 4 pm, the hottest times of day.

From July to September, monsoons can build large, violent lightning storms. Seek shelter immediately.

In winter and early spring, temperatures can drop below 32°F (0°C) and upper portions of this steep trail become dangerously icy. Hard ice often conceals potentially hazardous passages. Over-the-shoe traction devices are highly recommended.

Pack Properly
It is critical to determine before your hike your needs for fluids and for snacks high in calories and salts. Consuming twice as many calories as during normal exercise is realistic for summer canyon hikes. The return hike will likely take twice as long as the hike down. Wearing sun hats and cool, wet clothing will help regulate your core body temperature during warmer hikes.

Energy Balance
Your body needs energy-balancing proper nutrition and hydration are critical to your hiking success! Eat and drink while resting-sip fluids only when thirsty.
Too little water leads to dehydration and heat stroke. Excessive hydration and insufficient salt intake causes hyponatremia-a seizure-producing electrolyte disorder. If you do not feel well: seek shade, get wet, cool off, eat, and rest. Turning around may be your best option.


Before it was a park, Grand Canyon was set aside and managed as a Game Reserve by the USFS in 1906. At that time, the wildlife management plan sought to protect grazing animals by removing the predators.

James T. "Uncle Jim" Owens was a warden for the US Forest Service (USFS) who lived in a cabin on the rim while carrying out his duties in the reserve. Uncle Jim is credited with killing 532 mountain lions from the North Rim.

Grand Canyon National Park

Last updated: January 11, 2024