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Grand Canyon National Park - OutdoorPlaces.Com
 DestinationsGrand Canyon NP > North Rim > 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 67 | 8  >>> Marble Canyon

 Corridor Trails, North Rim

 

 
There is only one maintained trail that leads into the canyon from the North Rim.  The North Kaibab Trail descends 6,000 feet in 14 miles to the Colorado River below.  Hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon is serious business.  Extreme heat and terrain make for difficult hiking conditions.  Every year there are senseless tragedies at Grand Canyon mostly due to ill-prepared hikers.

You must be in very good physical condition to hike to the bottom of the canyon and back.  It is a 28 mile round trip that can not be completed in a day.  As you descent 1,000 feet in altitude, the air temperature will go up from 3 to 6 degrees.  That means if it is 75 at the North Kaibab Trailhead and could be as hot as 111 degrees on the canyon floor.  When the editors of OutdoorPlaces.Com were at the Grand Canyon this year, there were two fatalities, one heat related and one a tragic fall from one of the observation points on the South Rim.

You should start your descent as early in the day as possible.  Arizona does not follow daylight savings time so sunrise in late June can come as early as 5:10 AM.  Sometimes trail access is restricted due to extreme heat at the bottom of the canyon.  You can call 520-638-7888 and press 1-3-1 to get the latest trail conditions.  You should not hike during the heat of the day (10:00 AM to 3:00 PM).  Make sure to carry plenty of water, and a full complement of gear, even if you plan to stay at the Phantom Ranch at the base of the canyon.

Backcountry permits and a reservation at the Phantom Ranch, if you plan to stay there, are required for hikers going to the bottom of the canyon.  Backcountry Permits need to be obtained well in advance of your hike, at least six months before is ideal.  You can write to the Backcountry Office, PO BOX 129, Grand Canyon, Arizona 86023 to request your permit.  You can fill out an online form to print and send to the above address or fax to (520) 638-2125.  You can also call (520) 638-7875 to speak with some one in the Backcountry Permit office directly, keeping in mind that they will not be able to take your application over the phone.  If you complete the online form you will have to print it out and mail or fax it. The National Park Service has no provisions to apply online for a backcountry permit at this time.  Click here to fill out the form  If you have an advanced reservation at the Phantom Ranch you do not need to apply for a backcountry permit.

Hikers wishing to go on a waiting list for permits can apply in person at the North Rim Backcountry Office located at the Ranger Station close to the North Rim Campground.  There are no guarantees you will get a slot to hike down if you are on the wait list.  Cost for the permit is $20, and there is a $4 per-person User Impact Fee.

A shuttle service from the Grand Canyon Lodge to the North Kaibab Trailhead is available.  The shuttle leaves at 5:45 AM and 7:45 AM daily and cost $5.00 for the first person in your party and $2.00 for each person after that.  Tickets for the shuttle need to be purchased in advance and can be bought in person at the front desk of the Grand Canyon Lodge.

Ultimately you are responsible for your own safety when hiking into the canyon.  You should never hike the inner canyon alone.  Make sure to take a map, a navigation device and know how to use them.  GPS receivers can have problems in some areas in the canyon so make sure you have a compass.  Carry at least one gallon of water and know your limitations  Hikers that are deemed to have put themselves or others at risk, or are ill-equipped can be arrested and/or fined.  People requiring a rescue effort can be billed for the associated rescue costs.  The National Park Service responds to approximately 400 medical emergencies in the Grand Canyon each year.

View Of The Colorado River, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, United States, Copyright 1999, OutdoorPlaces.Com, All Rights Reserved

North Kaibab Trail to Coconino Overlook

Trailhead Location & Access:  North Kaibab Trail Parking Lot, about 1/2 mile north of the North Rim Campground, on the National Park Service Access Road
Type:  less than half-a-day
Length:  1.5 miles (round trip)
Hiking Time:  1-1/2 hours (round trip)
Difficulty:  strenuous 
Description:  Descends about 500 feet in altitude in 3/4 of a mile to canyon overlook.  Excellent hike to take if you want to get a good idea of the interior of the canyon, without taking a full trip

North Kaibab Trail to Supai Tunnel

Trailhead Location & Access:  North Kaibab Trail Parking Lot, about 1/2 mile north of the North Rim Campground, on the National Park Service Access Road
Type:  less than half-a-day
Length:  4 miles (round trip)
Hiking Time:  3 hours (round trip)
Difficulty:  strenuous 
Description:  Descends about 1,400 feet in altitude in 2 miles to canyon feature called Supai Tunnel.  Best hike you can take if you want to descend into the Canyon but not commit to a full day or overnight trip.  Seasonal water and toilets are available here.  Check with park rangers for specific conditions prior to taking the hike or call 520-638-7888 and press 1-3-1.

North Kaibab Trail to Roaring Springs

Trailhead Location & Access:  North Kaibab Trail Parking Lot, about 1/2 mile north of the North Rim Campground, on the National Park Service Access Road
Type:  full day
Length:  9.4 miles (round trip)
Hiking Time:  7 to 8 hours (round trip)
Difficulty:  very strenuous 
Description:  Descends about 2,800 feet in altitude in 4.7 miles to Roaring Springs.  This is as far as you should go if you plan a day trip.  Drinking water is available May to September, you should check with park rangers for specific conditions prior to taking the hike or call 520-638-7888 and press 1-3-1.

North Kaibab Trail to Cottonwood Camp

Trailhead Location & Access:  North Kaibab Trail Parking Lot, about 1/2 mile north of the North Rim Campground, on the National Park Service Access Road
Type:  full day
Length:  13.8 miles (round trip)
Hiking Time:  overnight
Difficulty:  very strenuous 
Description:  Descends about 4,000 feet in altitude in 6.9 miles to Ranger Station at 1/2 mark to the canyon floor.  From May to September water, toilets, emergency phone, a ranger station, campsites, and picnic tables can be found here.  You should check with park rangers for specific conditions prior to taking the hike or call 520-638-7888 and press 1-3-1.

North Kaibab Trail to Ribbon Falls

Trailhead Location & Access:  North Kaibab Trail Parking Lot, about 1/2 mile north of the North Rim Campground, on the National Park Service Access Road
Type:  full day
Length:  8.4 miles, 5.6 miles to the Phantom Ranch one way
Hiking Time:  overnight
Difficulty:  very strenuous 
Description:  Descends about 4,300 feet in altitude in 8.4 miles to ribbon falls.  Spectacular waterfall along the Bright Angel Creek.  Seasonal water, water from the creek should be filtered and treated.  You should check with park rangers for specific conditions prior to taking the hike or call 520-638-7888 and press 1-3-1.

North Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch

Trailhead Location & Access:  North Kaibab Trail Parking Lot, about 1/2 mile north of the North Rim Campground, on the National Park Service Access Road
Type:  full day
Length:  14.0 miles one way
Hiking Time:  overnight
Difficulty:  very strenuous 
Description:  Descends about 5,400 feet in altitude in 14.0 miles to Phantom Ranch.  You are less than 1/2 a mile from the bottom of the canyon and the Colorado River.  Water, toilets, food, lodging, and emergency phone are available.  There is no camping or ranger station.  Reservations are required.  You can call 303-297-2757 to make your reservations with the Phantom Ranch.  They should be made at least six months in advance.  You should check with park rangers for specific conditions prior to taking the hike or call 520-638-7888 and press 1-3-1.

North Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Camp

Trailhead Location & Access:  North Kaibab Trail Parking Lot, about 1/2 mile north of the North Rim Campground, on the National Park Service Access Road
Type:  full day
Length:  14.5 miles one way
Hiking Time:  overnight
Difficulty:  very strenuous 
Description:  Descends about 6,000 feet in altitude in 14.5 miles to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  You are 1/10 of a mile from the suspension bridge to the South Rim.  Drinking water, toilets, a ranger station, picnic tables, campsites and  an emergency phone are available.  You should check with park rangers for specific conditions prior to taking the hike or call 520-638-7888 and press 1-3-1.