Transept Trail

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 3.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 8129 - 8268 feet
Cellphone: 1-4 bars
Usage: Hiking - No Dogs
Time: 2 hrs.
Facilities: Flush toilets
Trailhead: South Rim
Fee: $25/vehicle or $12/person
Attractions: Scenic views, Indian ruins
   


View Transept in a larger map

The Transept trail is located in the North Rim Section of the Grand Canyon National Park. The trail follows the canyon rim connecting the Visitor Center and Grand Canyon Lodge with the North Rim Campground. The Transept trail is a peaceful hike through a forest of mostly Ponderosa Pines, Gamble Oaks and a few Aspen trees. The trail passes an ancestral Puebloan ruin at about midway to the campground. A slightly longer loop hike can be created by combining the Transept trail with the Bridle Trail.


There are several trail signs that will point you on your way for the Transept trail. From the parking area you can either walk over to the east rim and begin hiking around the rim toward the lodge or you can visit the lodge first and find the trail around back. Either way doesn't really change the distance much.


The trail passes around the forested rim of the Grand Canyon making it very pleasant to hike. In places where the drainage cuts into the rim of the canyon the trail turns inward, away from the rim, to keep from losing too much elevation. This makes the hiking easier but it does add to what the distance would be if the trail followed strictly along the rim.


There are several hills that have a modest slope to them. With all of the ups and downs the total elevation gain for the Transept trail comes out to over 400 feet which is quite a bit for an otherwise flat looking trail.


The views of the Grand Canyon from this section of the North Rim aren't quite as expansive as in other places but with the contrast of colors as you peer through the trees at the canyon they are spectacular none the less.


The ancestral Puebloan ruins are 'stabilized' as the sign says which probably means that after they excavated them for artifacts the ruins were filled back in with dirt. Older maps indicate that there are also some cliff dwellings below the rim in this area.


After continuing along the rim the trail turns into the campground where there is another restroom with flush toilets. Maps show that the trail can be followed on around the campground to the Bridle trail at a junction near the Emergency Building. A person could also cut through the campground to the General Store and get on the Bridle trail at that point to loop back to the lodge and Visitor Center. For this post we simply followed the trail back the way we came.


It is well worth it to go inside the lodge and see the dining area and go out onto the back porch and view the canyon from there. The lodge has a nice rustic atmosphere with high vaulted ceilings. Most everything is made from things from nature like wood and stone rather than more modern construction materials.


Outside of the restrooms, behind the Visitor Center, is a station for filling water bottles. There are several machines with free ice for adding to your bottles for a refreshing drink on a hot summer day. All in all, the Park Service has a pretty nice setup on the North Rim. With fewer visitors at the North Rim Section of the Grand Canyon the trails are a little less busy. Many of the hikers on the Transept trail appeared to be turning around before the halfway point. If all you do is hike to the Indian ruins and turn around you will still have seen most of the choice spots along the trail. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.