North Kaibab Trail

Hot Weather Retreat - North Kaibab Trail


Summer time at Grand Canyon is a wonderful time of year. The bustle of tourists from all over the world, clear beautiful skies in the early summer and monsoon storms crashing the afternoon party later in the season. In June and July, the heat can literally be a killer and if you are wanting to see the lusher and cooler side of the “Big Ditch”, then it’s off to the North Rim.

Although the canyon has an average width from rim to rim of about 10 miles, if you need to get from one side to the other your journey will be about 20 times that! By car from Grand Canyon Village to the North Rim Lodge is 215 miles but what an amazingly different experience. You are in a land 1000 feet higher than the south rim and the North Kaibab trail begins in some of the lushest scenery the Park has to offer. You will drop rather steeply through fir, aspen and ferns and soon come to some vast views of Bright Angel Canyon.

One of the best views can be found on top of the striking layer of Coconino sandstone aptly named Coconino Overlook. You will not be the first to be tempted to sit and just lose yourself looking out at the beauty. From here you can travel down more switchbacks, enjoying the cool weather and painted sandstone walls. A little less than 2 miles down you will find yourself at Supai tunnel. This is a great turnaround for a short day hike and as the views certainly don’t stop, usually the cooler temperatures will. For those feeling good and with plenty of food and water, the perfectly named Roaring Springs is a great long day hike destination. If you make it here, you are looking at the birth of the Bright Angel creek and almost all of the Canyons drinking water. It is truly a powerful site to see!

  • Getting there: There are a limited number of parking spots at the trailhead about 1 mile from the North Rim Lodge. You can also catch a shuttle there from in front of the lodge
  • The Hike: Trailhead to Coconino Overlook = .75 miles one-way
    1. Trailhead to Supai Tunnel = ~2 miles one-way
      Trailhead to Roaring Springs = 4.7 miles one-way
  • Elevation loss/gain = 1400 feet to Supai Tunnel; 3000 feet to Roaring Springs
  • Camping: None along the trail.. Camping found on the rim or 7 miles down at Cottonwood campground. There are quaint cabins at the North Rim Lodge
  • Water: At the trailhead, Supai Tunnel and Cottonwood campground have potable water during the frost free seasons. Check ahead for pipe breaks at any time of year.

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A Day At The Canyon from John Burcham Photography. John Burcham is a commercial, editorial photographer based out of Flagstaff, AZ. You can see more of his work at