Rim to Rim

Most Epic – Rim to Rim


** Warning, this route should only be taken by parties very well prepared and accustomed to the hardships that this rugged terrain can bring**

When the Park Service completed the North Kaibab trail in 1928, it opened up the possibility to cross from one side of the canyon to the other on fully maintained trails. Since then, hardy individuals have been testing themselves on this path anywhere from 5 day scenic trips to the current record of 2 hours and 51 minutes (I know!). Whichever timeframe you decide on, one thing is for sure, you will now have a very intimate relationship with one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

The first decision to make is where your hike will begin and end. There are different opinions as to the best route but it mostly depends on your timeline and shuttle. I will begin with my personal favorite. I like to start from the south rim and hike to the north. One reason is that the South Kaibab is the shorter mileage of the 2 options for the south rim and I like to get that part done quickly. It doesn’t have any water sources but you can easily carry enough to get you to Phantom Ranch across the river. Then, I love the gradual uphill along the creek up the north side of the canyon. Finally, when you get to the top of the north rim, there is one of the most beautiful dinner reservations you have ever had awaiting you at The North Rim Lodge!

Either way that you travel, you will need to make your way back to the other side by either doing it all over again (yuk!) or taking a shuttle service. The shuttle ride has always been a fun experience as the drivers are usually very knowledgeable and free to share stories and history with you.

  • Getting there: Begin on the South Rim at either the Bright Angel or South Kaibab trailhead. For Norht Rim starts, begin at the North Kaibab trailhead. There are a few free shuttles from The Lodge to the trailhead each day. *Be sure to make shuttle, lodging and dinner reservations well in advance of your trip.
  • The Hike: 24 miles one-way for the Bright Angel, 21 miles one-way for South Kaibab
  • Elevation loss/gain: A mile down, A mile up!
  • Camping: Indian Garden campground, Bright Angel campground, Phantom Ranch, Cottonwood campground, North Rim cabins
  • Water: Bright Angel trail has water available every 1.5 miles. Water can be obtained at Phantom Ranch just north of the river and after frost danger the North Kaibab has water at Cottonwood campground, Roaring Springs and Supai Tunnel. *Always check with the Park Service for possible pipe breaks!
Written by:

Guided Hikes

Compare South Rim Tours Side By Side

1. Compare South Rim Tours Side By...

Choose from 46 different activities in the Grand Canyon, from helicopter and air tours, to day trips and excursions, to float trips and comb...  More
  • (888) 651-9785
  • 8525 Edna Avenue
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • 89117
Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend

2. Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Ben...

Adventure Southwest offers private group hiking and sightseeing trips to amazing Southwest destinations including Grand Canyon, Horseshoe...  More

  • (800) 514-0884
  • 1515 North Main Street
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • 86004
  • $119.00 - $139.00
Wildland Trekking

3. Wildland Trekking

Join The Wildland Trekking Co. on an epic journey to the Grand Canyon! Services include 1 to 8 day hiking adventures, tasty backcountry cui...  More
  • (800) 715-4453
  • 4025 East Huntington Drive
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • 86004
  • $110.00 - $1500.00
Discovery Treks

4. Discovery Treks

National Geographic Adventure magazine calls Discovery Treks one of the "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth" – Let us show...  More
  • (888) 256-8731
  • 28248 North Tatum Boulevard
  • Cave Creek, AZ
  • 85331
Red Rock Treks Sedona Hiking & Tours

5. Red Rock Treks Sedona Hiking & ...

Journey with us to the most unforgettably beautiful landscapes in all of Arizona. Red Rock Treks offers private hiking, scenic, and vorte...  More

  • (928) 707-9477
  • Sedona
  • AZ 86336, US


Camping overnight, on the rim or in the backcountry, is a popular way to experience Grand Canyon. See All Grand Canyon Campgrounds »


Fuel your adventure on these Grand Canyon South Rim tours by helicopter, airplane, van or train. See All South Rim Tours »


Most Grand Canyon visitors book a tour; go by helicopter, airplane, van or train. See All Grand Canyon Tours »


Book your hotel or lodging at the Grand Canyon, or nearby in Williams, Flagstaff or Sedona. See All Grand Canyon Hotels & Lodging »

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 www.johnburcham.com