The Grand Canyon National Park is getting a new trail. This new trail, which is being referred to as Greenway III, is an eight-mile long trail connecting the park with the gateway town of Tusayan to the south. This trail will pass through both the park itself and the Kaibab National Forest on its way to Tusayan.
The Greenway III trail will consist of both an eight-foot wide compacted soil path for pedestrians and bicyclists. For those exploring the park on horseback, the trail will also include a two- to three-foot-wide gravel path.
Not only will this trail provide people with an easy way to travel between Tusayan and Grand Canyon National Park, it will also extend the well-known Arizona Trail as well. The trail is expected to be completed in fall 2011.
Greenway III will be another piece of the Greenway trail system. This system began as a project which was first launched in 1999 as part of the Millennium Trails Initiative, which recognized and promoted trails to help remember our past and imagine our future.
The purpose of the Greenway trails is to provide guests of the park with easily accessible, multi-use trails, so that they can have a non-motorized form of travel throughout the park.
The Greenway trail system began as a cooperative effort between the National Park Service, what is now the Grand Canyon Association, and a volunteer group of planners and designers known as the Grand Canyon Collaborative. In addition to Greenway III, the project currently consists of four other trails:
- The Greenway I trail, completed in 2002, extends the Rim Trail (from Grand Canyon Village to Yavapai Point) through Mather Point out to Pipe Creek Vista.
- The Greenway II trail, completed in 2003, connects the Grand Canyon Visitor Center to Grand Canyon Village.
- The Greenway IV trail, completed in 2009, connects Bright Angel Point to the North Kaibab Trailhead.
- The Greenway V trail, completed in 2010, extends the Rim Trail to the South Kaibab Trailhead.
The Greenway III trail is being funded by a grant received from the Federal Highway Administration’s Public Lands Highways Program. Kaibab National Forest is also helping out with the construction of the trail, and the forest’s supervisor Mike Williams is quite pleased to be working with the project.
The National Park Service is also providing a 100-car parking lot north of Tusayan’s IMAX Theater for the convenience of people who wish to use the new Gateway III trail.
According to Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga, it is hoped that the new trail will be used alongside the shuttle buses going to Tusayan in the summer months, and that people will soon be able to combine a hike or bicycle ride with a shuttle trip for a truly easy and convenient time at Grand Canyon National Park.
For more information about Grand Canyon National Park, visit nps.gov/grca.