Looking down from the Rim
Looking down at Horseshoe Mesa from Grandview Point along the South Rim east of Grand Canyon village. Horseshoe Mesa (center of picture) is named for the two ridges that extend out toward the inner gorge. Grandview Point was the site of the canyon's first tourist hotel in 1895.
Take short, careful steps...
The Grandview Trail was built in 1892 by Pete Berry and the Cameron brothers to reach their 'Last Chance' copper mine on the mesa below. Many sections of this un-maintained trail can be scary even without the snow and ice.
Two Routes to the Bottom
There are two routes to the bottom of the Grandview Trail. The first (and recommended) route follows the trail straight ahead in this picture and takes about two hours depending on the speed of the hiker. The second route involves going about 10 inches too far to the right and takes about 15 seconds depending on the number of bounces.
About a half mile down the trail, the miners crossed a cliff by using old drill bits to fix logs directly to the rock face. This is one of the most scenic of the numerous 'Oh S--t!!' spots along the upper trail and the setting for several memorable occasions of high adventure on previous trips.
Framed view of western Horseshoe Mesa
After the first mile and a half, the trail becomes a little less scary (and a little less icy) and even occasionally pleasant in places. The western 'arm' of the horseshoe can be seen in this picture. The 'Cave of the Domes' is located on this section of the mesa.
Looking back Up
Looking back up to Grandview Point from the ridge leading out to the mesa.
The Miners Mess Hall
The stone cook house is the most prominent reminder of the small miners camp that was located here from the early 1890s until 1907. The backpacker campsites are located nearby.
Old Mine Hoist
This hoist was used to lift ore and machinery from the mine tunnels in the cliff just below the rim. Mules or men would have turned a wooden arm that was once attached to the metal bracket at the top of the hoist and this would have rotated the large drum containing the hoist cable.
Gotta Feel Sorry for the Mule that Carried this down...
There are several old shafts and tunnels left over from the Last Chance copper mine. One of them on the east side of the mesa still contains this old rusted mine cart for hauling ore.
The Cave of the Domes
A short hike down the western arm of the mesa leads to the 'Cave of the Domes'... a natural limestone cave located just beneath the outer rim. The tiny entrance way (right) gives no indication of how big the rooms and formations are on the other side. It was difficult to take pictures here due to both the darkness and the fine dust.
There are numerous large rooms in the cave extending back several hundred feet from the entrance. Stalactites, stalagmites, popcorn rock and 'cave bacon' are common (though sadly often broken and vandalized). The cave is named for the dome-shaped ceilings in several of the rooms.
Panorama View from the Western Arm of the Horseshoe
The very tip of the horseshoe 'arms' offer amazing 360-degree views of the canyon as well as glimpses downward into the inner Gorge.