Named after Gunnar Widforss, a painter whose inspiration came the Grand Canyon’s scenic beauty, Widforss trail is a five-mile (8 km) pathway located on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. The trail follows the plateau along The Transept’s rust-colored walls, into a forrest of pine, maple, firs and aspen, and then opens onto a revealing outlook, from which views of the south and west can be seen. To the east, visitors can see part of Haunted Canyon.
The trailhead lies slightly west off Route 67, roughly two miles (3.2 km) north of the Grand Canyon Lodge. You’ll find it right along the path leading to Point Sublime.
Widforss Trail is a two-faced wonder; the 10-mile (16 km) round-trip will take hikers across two sections, The Transept and an evergreen forrest. Between the walls of the narrow gorge (one of six small ravines in this area), the path snakes to and from the rim, allowing glimpses of The Transept’s upper walls. From here, bits of the Kaibab, Redwall, and Coconino cliffs can be viewed. While the trees are a constant obstruction to the view, much of the inner gorge as well as parts of Bright Angel Canyon are clearly visible.
The forested part of the path offers a tranquil atmosphere, first passing through sparse woodland scarred by wildfire and then ascending into a deep green forrest of pine, blue spruce, white fir, aspen, and Englemann. If it’s the famous Kaibab squirrel you’re looking for, this is the place to find it. Actually, this area is teeming with wildlife- at any time of the day, you could glimpse everything from deer, mountain lions and wild turkeys, to lizards and porcupine.
Widforss Trail is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic, as the trail leads to a clearing set up with tables and chairs, overlooking the steep drop off at the edge of the canyon. While visitors can gaze out at Buddha Temple, Manu Temple, Isis Temple and The Colonnade, as well as some South Rim cliffs, the real view lies about 300 yards (270 m) farther along slightly more challenging terrain. You’ll have to scramble up a steep hillside and through a brambly ravine to get there, and then climb back out, but the extra effort is well worth it. Given that the trail is smooth-sailing most of the way, the physical challenge will be welcome.