Uncle Jim Trail is a short trail on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim with a scenic destination overlooking the switchbacks of the North Kaibab Trail, Roaring Springs, and the Bright Angel Canyons.
Just like many shorter trails on the park, Uncle Jim Trail is more of a detour to Uncle Jim Point. The main trail you’ll follow to get there is the North Kaibab Trail, also the Ken Patrick Trail, depending where you turn at the fork (south for Uncle Jim Point).
The trail’s namesake, James T. Owen or “Uncle Jim”, as the park knew him, was a game reserve warden who killed half a thousand mountain lions with the misguided idea that he was protecting the local deer population. Uncle Jim lived on the North Rim for a decade, his good intentions earning him the commemoration at the end of the loop trail.
A five-mile (8 km) round-trip is quite short, which makes Uncle Jim trail the perfect length for a day hike, especially considering that North Rim trails are notoriously lengthy. While the trail starts out amongst evergreens- ponderosa pine, spruce, and fir, much of the first section is damaged by a wildfire that went rogue. The first section along Uncle Jim proper is a steep descent into an area known for holding snowmelt well into the summer.
Next, the trail climbs toward the loop- in less than a mile you’ll come to the viewpoint after which you’ll face some slight hills before reaching the end of the loop.
A fairly easy hike, the Uncle Jim Trail can be completed in a little over an hour and a half, three hours maximum (if you happened to come across dangerous conditions). If you find you have some extra time at the end of the loop, walk a little further down and locate a faint path made by hikers to access a canyon view. Following the trail will lead you to an extra view of the Bright Angel tributary, Roaring Springs Canyon, and sections of the South Rim and North Kaibab Trail.