This panorama was photographed on February 1, 2009. The following is a transcript of the narration for this panorama. To listen to the narration, enter the project at this location and press the play button.
We have now completed the arc that the South Kaibab Trail follows as it descends around the east side of O’Neil Butte, and are once again sitting right on the spine of the ridge that the trail follows for most of its length. You can see where several hikers have paused right at the spot where the trail reaches the spine to rest and enjoy the view.
We have scrambled up just a bit to the top of a small rise to reach the best panoramic viewspot. Looking to the west, we are now nearly level with the top of the Redwall Limestone cliffs on the far side of Pipe Creek Canyon. Look at those cliffs from here and you’d never think there could be a way through them.
We are now far below the panorama points of Mather Point and Yavapai Point on the far rim. If you haven’tt done so already, take a moment to click on over to and spend a few minutes enjoying the Mather Point panorama. From there you have a wonderful view of most of the length of the South Kaibab Trail, from the trailhead and all the way down to where it disappears into the inner canyon at the Tipoff.
Here, below the Redwall, the Tonto Platform is rising on up towards us like a writhing, heaving gray sea. The closer you get down to it, the more apparent it becomes that it is not really all that flat. The Tonto Trail mostly contours its way around close to the Tapeats Sandstone cliffs at its edge, but you still encounter plenty of ups and downs, particularly at the heads of its many side canyons.
One additional panorama point, Cocopa Point, has swung into view off to the west. It is a very remote point that requires a lengthy off-trail, bushwhack hike to get to, but it will reward you with wonderful views if you care to take it on, or you can just click on over for a look.
Looking off to the east, the Redwall cliffs look just as forbidding as to the west, but of course out at the end of Skeleton Point we will soon see the switchbacks that will take us through them. Pattie Butte and Newton Butte are nicely back lit against the horizon line of the Palisades of the Desert and the East Rim in the distance. A couple of blips have appeared on the horizon, created by Coronado Butte and the Sinking Ship, two features close to and nearly at the height of the rim.
Heading up the trail from here, we climb a steady, even grade up through the Supai to a panorama point with a fine view back to here and the rest of Skeleton Point.
Heading down the trail, we have a brief respite as the trail gently descends down towards the end of Skeleton Point, where we reach the top of the dramatic descent through the Redwall Limestone.