Widforss Trail

A brown sign reads
An access road from Hwy 67 leads to the Widforss Trailhead, a gravel parking lot with vault toilets.


Quick Facts
North Rim

Restroom, Trailhead

As of June 2, 2023, the Widforss Trailhead parking lot is open, however, backcountry roads extending beyond the Widforss Trailhead are scheduled to reopen to the public on July 1, after deadfall has been cleared.  
Wander through a blend of spectacular forest and canyon scenery, even if just for a portion of this 5-mile trail. The first 3 miles of the trail meander back and forth along the rim of Transept Canyon, so turning around within that portion makes for a lovely round trip hike that is less than 6 miles. If you choose to hike to Widforss Point at the end of the trail, you'll be rewarded with a unique and expansive view.

This trail is accessed from a dirt road 0.25 miles (0.4 km) south of the highway junction to Cape Royal and Point Imperial. Take this road 1.0 mile (1.6 km) to the gravel parking area.

No dogs are allowed.

More information: Widforss Trail Brochure

Trail Information

Roundtrip Distance: 9.6 miles (15.5 km)
Elevation change: ~ 1,000 feet (~305 m)
Average Hiking Time: 4-6 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.


The trail is named after Gunnar Widforss, an early twentieth-century artist from Sweden. He lived and painted at the Grand Canyon in the 1930s, producing a large collection of watercolors prized for their geologic detail. Widforss tried to capture the Grand Canyon environment as he saw it then. That environment has changed over the years as natural and human forces continue to reshape a picture characterized by monumental change through the eons. The geologic features, plant life, and historic features along this trail all provide glimpses of these past and present environments-and future ones as well.

Previously, Widforss Point had been called McKinnon Point. Colonel H. McKinnon, a British visitor, stopped here in 1892 after a successful hunting trip on the Kaibab Plateau with W.S. "Buffalo Bill" Cody. He left a note in a tin can at the point to commemorate his triumph.

Grand Canyon National Park

Last updated: June 3, 2023