Distance: 4 miles round-trip
Duration: 2 hours
Elevation change: 150 feet
Trailhead: A dirt parking area 17 miles up Cape Royal Road, 2.5 miles from road’s end
This wide, pleasant trail passes through a forest of ponderosa pine on its way across Cape Final (a thumb-like extension of the Walhalla Plateau ) to rim overlooks with views of Unkar Creek, Chuar Valley, and the Painted Desert.
From the dirt parking area on the left (east) of the road, the trail climbs a forested ridge before meandering toward a rim clearing, about 1.25 miles. Here, a dramatic drop reveals views of the Chuar Valley, with Gunther’s Castle rising above its soft folds. The trail narrows as the cape, a peninsula of land, becomes narrower.
The trail turns south and west to cross the cape, and the vegetation changes to piñon and cactus. An intersecting path heads east through scrubby vegetation to the very tip of Cape Final. Far below, Unkar Delta, a wide, sandy curve in the Colorado River, marks the site of a large Ancestral Puebloan village, occupied seasonally until A.D. 1150.
The main trail continues to the southern edge of Cape Final, where Freya Castle rises above Unkar Creek Canyon. With a backcountry permit , it’s possible to camp overnight on Cape Final, and you might find yourself envying those who chose to spend the night in this beautiful area.