Originally Posted by Steve Kahn
yeah, planning on phantom. are there other options?
what is the attraction of marble? how does it compare versus the rest of the canyon?
what about hike in? i heard there is a 5 mile and a 11 mile trail. what is recomended from those that have done it?
thanks again - S
There are tons of trails to the river. Many may not be practical in the winter. For example hiking in at Tanner would get you to the river at RM 72 upstream from Hance and the Upper Granite Gorge. Tanner is a long trail (with great views) and can be pretty rough. I would not be excited about doing it if there was a bunch of ice on the trail. The Bass Trail would get you to the river at RM 108 (downstream from Crystal) but might be an option if you have limited time. However the road out to Bass in rough and is probably not passable in the winter (Tanner is off a paved Park Road). You can even hike in right at Lava - its more of a route than a trail (itís a very long drive on dirt roads to the trailhead but I have done it in December).
Marble Canyon is in my opinion the most dramatic part of the canyon. The walls are shear and its more intimate than the lower sections. That said the whole canyon is amazing. Elves Chasm, Deer Creek Falls, Lava Falls are all downstream from Phantom and are very special places. Do the second half now and the first later.
In terms of deciding which trail to take to Phantom I would call the Backcountry Office before you go and ask which is more snow/ice free.