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!
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