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This is a great challenge. I do this hike every year in January or February.

This is my favorite hike in the valley. It is a good challenge and you can also backpack on top flatiron.

So this hike I’ve been on several times growing up and definitely a hike to go on in the late winter or spring to see the waterfalls. Which in the past have seen up to three climaxing with the third in the canyon. I enjoy the difficulty especially because it keeps it relatively quiet of lazy hikers and people who leave trash behind. They seem to avoid harder trails which is great for the rest of us. Beautiful views and water keeps me coming back every year!

Fantastic trail. Remember to stay night over in your sleeping bag

Hiked from the South to North Rim spending 2 nights at Bright Angel Campground and 1 night at Cottonwood CG. I found the S. Kaibab trail to be steep and by the time I reached Bright Angel CG I was beat.There are restrooms and water on the way down. A dip in Bright Angel Creek cooled me off and was very soothing. Temperature on the thermometer at the CG was 105....Steak dinner at Phantom Ranch is money well spent. Cottonwood CG is a pleasant hike from Bright Angel CG and toilets and water are available. The hike from Cottonwood CG to the North Rim is very pleasant for the first few miles and then turns into what I found to be a grueling accent. Overall, I would rate hiking the Grand Canyon a tough but spectacular experience with breathtaking views.

Me and my 2 brothers (ages 22, 26, and 27) just completed this in 2 days/1 night. We started at Rainbow point. Caught the shuttle at 9 from the visitors center and arrived at rainbow point th after the scenic shuttle ride. The bus driver gave a tour through a mic on the way. Views of beauty begin instantly and never end. Difficult mostly downhill hike to our first rest at iron springs. We were fresh so the difficulty was no problem. Iron springs had plenty of water. We were warned of E. coli to be present at all water sources and advised to filter and boil or filter and treat with tablets or drops. I used a Sawyer squeeze only and have not felt any issues as of this review (will edit if the bugs catch up to me). We then hiked to natural bridge which is were we reserved to camp but had plenty of gas left so we had a lunch and kept hiking. Natural bridge campsite had flies that bothered us. They didn’t bite but were pretty annoying. The campsites itself was in a lower wooded area. Right past the campsite there was some puddles of water but we did not fill up. We kept on hiking to swamp canyon campsite where we decided to set up camp. My brothers hiked down the trail a little bit past to find water (they found cloudy still water in a creek bed about 1000 ft down the trail from camp) while I secured camp against heavy winds. A heavy rainstorm fell on us thru the night. It was epic. We woke up to the sunrise, had coffee, and tore down camp to start day 2. We hiked past the creek where my brothers found water the night before to find clear flowing water due the night’s rain. Filled up here water here which was our last time to take water from a water source on the trail. Long hard day of hiking led us past the last half of the epic trail. Breaks along the way. Water was plentiful at yellow creek but there were E. coli warning signs posted that were not at the previous water sources so we were scared to drink it. I wish I would have anyways because we were low on water and ran out 2 miles to the end. There was flowing water up to the right fork yellow creek campsite which we also didn’t test. The last few miles were hard and constant elevation gain. Lots of breaks due to fatigue but we made it to Bryce point to catch the shuttle back to the visitors center. No water on the bus which I was praying for but at one of the stops on the way to the vc I spotted a water fountain so we all ran off the bus to quench our megathirst while passengers were getting on. We jumped right back on the bus and got dropped off at the visitors center where we started this long, hard, hot, beautiful, amazing journey.

7/28/2018: Day 1 ~11 miles
7/29/2018: Day 2 ~12 miles

Be mindful not to completely rely on backcountry water sources. We got lucky and found flowing water at 3 or 4 different sources.

Trail is pretty easy to follow except a few parts where we had to back track due to dried creeks looking like trails. But cairns (rock stacks) guided most of the tricky parts.

Lots of downed trees to dodge, dip, dive, duck, and dodge

Mosquitoes non existent from my experience, but annoying flies would buzz in your ear at some spots if you sat too long to rest.

Heavier than necessary packs, low water, and 2/3 of us live at sea level played apart in my difficulty rating.

10/10 would do again
10/10 would bring more water or secondary purification method for ease of mind
And always remember: dehydration will kill you a hell of a lot faster than E. coli.

Hopes this helps.

backpacking
18 days ago

Super fun backpacking trip! We did this in 2 leisurely days in the northbound direction, camped one night at Right Fork Swamp Canyon. Strongly recommended hike, and very suitable for beginners with decent legs.

Pros:
1) Great variety of scenery, from up-close views of the rim, to panoramas of the canyon, to dense forest. Memorable sections for us included the initial descent into the canyon from Rainbow Point, a spooky section of the park near the middle of the trail that was devastated in a forest fire, Swamp Canyon, and the Hat Shop.
2) Altitude varies throughout the trail, but apart from the last few miles where you have to climb back up to the top of the canyon, it's a very manageable hike. Apart from the distance, would rate it a moderate.
3) Off the beaten track, you'll feel like you have the entire park to yourself. We did this trip in May. We saw nobody the first day, and two pairs of hikers the second day (until we met the throng of tourists waiting for us at Bryce Point).
4) Logistically pretty straightforward. We did virtually no advance planning (apart from bringing our gear). We arrived one day ahead of time to get our permits and book our seats on the Rainbow shuttle. The park lends bear canisters for free and gives a basic map that we found sufficient for our hike. We camped in one of the official campsites the night before setting off. The Rainbow Shuttle drops you off at one end of the trail, and all you do is walk back, which means you don't need to worry about transport back to your car. Campsites and forks are well marked. The trail passes through multiple paths that go back to the highway, if you need to return to civilization earlier than expected.

Cons:
1) Water sources are unreliable, so you will probably have to bring enough water for the entire trek (very doable since it's a short hike).
2) The trail is easy to follow 98% of the time, but there are parts where it seems to disappear. Usually, this happens when the trail meets a creek or wash. Keep a lookout for Cairns, we never had to walk more than a few yards to find where the trail continued. Also, expect to jump over a lot of logs.
3) Loved the views on this trail, but those expecting to see tons of hoodoos and the rock formations Bryce is known for will be disappointed. Take an extra day to do some day hikes in Bryce amphitheater to get the best of both!

Bring lots of water! We were lucky and found two tiny streams (more of a trickle really) and had great water filters. The trail was beautiful and fellow backpackers have done a great job of not leaving anything behind. Some parts are washed out so bring a map and compass. Sunscreen is a must. It’s a great trip for beginners because it’s so close to the road for most of it.

hiking
25 days ago

This is probably a nice hike in the spring, but in mid July it was hot, brown and dry. I enjoyed the 4-mile dirt road with cattle and huge jackrabbits. Approximately 1/3rd of the hike is rocky/gravely. I encountered 2 rattlesnakes on the trail. The “waterfall” at 2.5 miles still offered small pools of water (possibly from the monsoon storm the previous day) and barely a trickle down the rock formation, which is quite scenic. Follow the creek bed upward and off the trail, just around the corner, for some really scenic, shady respite. Back on the trail after this highlight is fairly flat and monotonous. I turned around at 3.9 miles because of the heat and unchanging, flat terrain. Elevation gain was 3670 ft. My hike started at 7:40 am after an easy 90 min drive from Phoenix and took 4 hrs 15 min including a couple short breaks. I drank 3 of the 4 liters I brought. Sunscreen is a must. Wish I had had some bug spray, too. Only saw 2 other hikers. The only thing “difficult” about the hike was the elements (heat, humidity, rattlesnakes). The incline and path is moderate at best. I was surprised that the temp was about 10 degrees hotter than that in Payson.

Amazing views throughout, but a bit of an anti-climatic view at the end unless you decide to continue on the Mazatzal trail. Saw 2 bobcats, a tarantula, and several hummingbirds. Also note: this trail is not 10.2 miles like it says. We clocked 13 miles round trip. So if you do this, plan for a longer trip. First 3.3 miles were most difficult, but then it levels out. I would rate the first half of the trip as hard but the second half after the waterfall as moderate. The waterfall was dried up when we got there. Gravely at some points where you want to be careful with your footing. We didn’t see anyone else on the trail. I recommend starting early in the day before it gets too hot.

hiking
1 month ago

Somewhere in one of the guidebooks about Grand Canyon an author once referred to Boucher as "a classic Grand Canyon beatdown of a trail." We've gone down Boucher twice (Feb '11 and May '16) and I couldn't agree more. I love that description.

A decent snow storm hit the day before our February trip, which was our first time seeing the trail. Shaded parts of the canyon still had 12-18" of snow, obscuring large portions of trail. There were no footprints to follow, either - we were the first to go down.

It became quite stressful. We simply could not find the crucial break in the wall that you need to get down to the next level of canyon safely (see pic from May '16). It took us at least a solid hour of cold, impatient hunting out on those slippery ledges before we spotted an old piece of iron hammered into the top of the chute.

By the time we reached the beach at Boucher Rapids we were in great spirits. Great beach, by the way! One of our guys was so exhausted upon arrival that he fell asleep immediately after setting up his tent. He never made it fully inside -- he just face-planted into the opening, out cold with his butt in the air. It was hilarious. It took at least 20 minutes before someone noticed his legs sticking out in the sand, which made it even funnier. We nudged him in. He was fine, just had his dinner for breakfast the next day.

So yes, Boucher is a classic Grand Canyon beatdown. We did find it much easier the second time around because there is no real guesswork (and no heavy snowfalls, hopefully). I enjoyed it the first time (minus the stressful part) and really loved it the second time. We got a late start the second time, and found a decent dry camp about halfway down.

Boucher is tough and challenging but the views are fantastic and the trail sees very little foot traffic. You could easily have the entire thing to yourself.

I love this hike. I try to do it once a week. Just hiked Saturday, June 30 and again today July 4. I’ll be hitting it again on Saturday morning. I love getting there before sunrise and then back off by 9.

Such an amazing hike! Most definitely the hardest hike I’ve done so close to Phoenix. Watch for the spray painted blue and white dots on the rocks when you’re going up or down, or else you WILL lose your way! Having this app running while your hiking can lead you back on track, certainly helped me! It’s a bit challenging since you are literally climbing vertical rocks at some points on the trail. The views are soooooo worth it at the top!! I suggest going early in the morning, as the whole way up you’re in shade (thank goodness!) and all the way down, you have the sun on your back so be sure to use sunscreen! Got a bit burnt on the way down.

trail running
1 month ago

This was a fun trail. A little daunting driving past the cattle (including bulls) and human-sized jackrabbits on the 4 mile dirt road on the way in, but fewer animals on the actual trail. We drove a sport sedan, so you don’t need an SUV. The beginning of the trail was a little rocky, but it cleared out and you could get a nice pace. The switchbacks have shade cover if you get an early enough start. We started 8 am. 2L water was sufficient for just over 11 miles. The backside was even nicer for running, but after 5.6 miles out I never saw the intersection with the AZ Trail. I assumed I would since this is marked as an Out and Back, but I may have misunderstood. No water on the waterfalls in Late June.

Awesome scenery and wildlife. saw a pair of rabbits, multiple road runners, hummingbirds and Gila monsters. Only downside was poor trail marking. Look for faded arrows, faint blue blazes, but mostly little white marks the size of a quarter that look like bird poop!

Definitely start early and bring plenty of water. We started at 630 and were able to hike in the shade most of the way up. we took 4.5 liters a piece and drank close to 4

fantastic hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Took the 9am shuttle from the lodge to drop us off at Rainbow Point. So got a late start hiking at 10am. Water available at iron springs, at about the halfway point just pass Swamp Canyon campground, and a couple miles before the end. Lots of up and down as you meander through the various amphitheaters. Heavily forested which did blocked some potential views of the rim but beautiful nonetheless less. But there was ample places to see views that one could not see from the top. Must have had to step/climb over 80 fallen trees and plenty of sandy ascents. Towards the end of the hike make sure you look back as you can see across the canyon at where you started. Overall beautiful hike and would do it again. We completed the entire trail in just over 10 hours. Be careful as you arrive at Bryce point the last shuttle leaves at 7:37pm. Good thing we packed our hitch hiking thumbs. Otherwise it’s another 2 mike hike back to the lodge.

Extremely difficult trail, but well worth it! Took 4L of water and wished I had more. Make sure to keep left on the ascent. It's easy to get off trail and if you do, the dirt is very lose and it requires climbing a 15-20 foot boulder at the top.

backpacking
2 months ago

Amazing backpacking hike! We did Bryce Point to Rainbow Point since the Rainbow Point Tour bus was full for the day. (Call at least 24 hours in advance to secure a spot on the bus!) Did the trek over one night. The lady who gave us the permit thought we were crazy. This trail is tough! One night was hard but it was awesome. We stayed at Swamp Canyon campground and holy crap, best camp spot on the whole trail. It's up top with amazing views of the valley! Water was hard to find (which the visitor center told us), but we ended up finding more than expected. We carried what we should have in case we didn't find small water spots. E. Coli is present in the water so you must filter and use iodine tablets or boil all water. We did see a bear in Swamp Canyon. The visitor center offers free bear canisters as hanging your food is not enough! We started at noon on Friday and got to Rainbow Point at 1pm on Saturday. The last tour bus leaves Rainbow at 3pm and takes about an hour to get back to your car, so be patient. Overall, this hike was a 11/10! You will be sore if you complete it within 24 hours :)

backpacking
2 months ago

5/10: Day 1 we started the hike at Rainbow Point and ended the day staying at Right Fork Swamp Creek. There was no water from the start of the hike until we found some about a mile before camp. The E. coli warning had not come out yet, but we filtered and boiled the water and didn't get sick. The next day we hiked to Bryce Point. We underestimated how clear the trail would be. There were a lot of fallen trees that covered the trail. Overall, it was a fun backpacking trip but DO NOT underestimate the difficulty of this hike. We are in really good shape and struggled through parts.

Started cold with snow, ended with jumping in the Colorado river to escape the heat!

First off let me just say - super rewarding hike. Really hard but definitely gives you a sense of accomplishment. The views at the top are awesome.

The bad?
- It is annoying to pay $7 to get in and then have the trail so poorly marked.


The advice?
- This trail is camelback/echo x5 in difficulty. It is super challenging and super steep. It is great but very difficult. My hike registered at a little over 8 miles on my Apple Watch.

- Once you make it to the top of the first scrambling ridge - don’t go to the right. You’ve gotta stay to the left. I did this wrong and really really paid for it. On the way down I got on the correct trail and it was substantially easier.

- The entire hike is very rocky. From scrambling to minor climbing the majority of the hike is uphill rock. Don’t wear trail runners - get something with ankle support.

- I’d really strongly recommend doing the hike early in the AM before the sun comes up. I started at 6:30 and if I had it to do over I’d go earlier.

backpacking
2 months ago

5/26: Hiked south from Bryce Point with intentions of camping at Natural Bridge and finishing the morning of Day 2. I either underestimated the trail or overestimated the group I was with because we ended up camping at Swamp Canyon and bailing out there the next day. This is probably best done in 2 nights, unless you want a suffer fest. Water was found at Yellow Creek and just north of Swamp Canyon. The E.coli warning is no big deal since you should be filtering or boiling water anyways. Sawyer Squeeze Mini worked fine. If planning on taking a shuttle to or from Rainbow Point, you need to call ahead and make a free reservation to use it (4358345290). I believe the bear threat to be a little exaggerated as well. Trail was well marked from Bryce Point to Swamp Canyon. Lots of deadfall trees the further south you get though.

It's a difficult one. prepare for 4 hours of hiking time. beautiful view from the top. kinda like rock climbing

Tough trail, but very fun with beautiful views at the summit. Lots of climbing! We each brought about 120 oz of water, and started at 6 am, but definitely could have benefited from bringing more for the trip back down.

on South Bass Trail

backpacking
2 months ago

This is a breathtaking way to experience the Canyon and miss all the crowds, but you're going to have to work for it. A wisely operated high-clearance, two-wheel drive vehicle can make access to the trailhead. Plan on spending two hours + or - 30 minutes on the dirt road heading out and back. Six hours down and seven to eight coming out are reasonable time estimates for fit, experienced backpackers with base pack weights of less than 20 lbs without water. As noted elsewhere, cache water on the Esplenade, (Immediately before dropping down toward Bass Canyon is a great place.) One gallon per person will get you back to the trailhead in hot conditions. We did this hike with daytime highs on the river of 100 degrees and are Phoenix heat-acclimated. I would NOT recommend doing this hike in 80+ degree river temps if you are not used to hiking all day in the heat, as you will find no shade during most of the day. When you get first sight of the river on the way down, start looking for an old fireplace ruin on the left side of the trail. When you reach it, turn right and drop steeply down to the river. There are several beach sites to choose from for camping. Mind the ants and the cold water, and guy out your tent to keep it from blowing into the river. 5 AM is a fine time to start heading back out if you're expecting heat. The last two hours of the hike in are the hardest of this trip. If you can make it down, you can make it out. The load on your feet and legs will feel different going uphill compared to down. Trekking poles and a light-as-you-can make it pack are a must. A practical trip plan might be to drive in and hike down to the Esplanade on the first day, hike to and camp at the river on the second day, then hike out and drive home or camp at the trailhead on the third day. Breaking up the descent would take a lot of stress off of your knees and eliminate any question of ability to make it to the river in one day. For reference: We're in our mid-40's, are reasonably fit and have a lot of backcountry experience. This hike is not for unguided beginners.

Challenging but extremely rewarding!! The views are spectacular, and I felt a great sense of accomplishment upon completion :)

Challenging but do-able! Amazing View at the top!

Beautiful hike. I’m 22 years old and in good shape, this still kicked my ass. You will essentially be rock climbing for the majority of the hike, so make sure to where actual hiking shoes and not Nike running shoes! You may think you’re not on a trail most of the time- but you are. There’s a lot of big step ups and you will be climbing essentially. The first 1.5 miles is easy, don’t let it deceive you. The last 1.5 is TOUGH. This is not a glorified nature walk, be ready to hike. We got off trail 3 times on the way back, luckily I had my AllTrails on. Once you’re on the correct path headed down, stay right and avoid going DOWN into the valley. We ended up following the Draw for a bit and eventually got back to high ground.

All in all a VERY REWARDING hike, but be ready to go!

4* because I really wish they'd have a few more trail signs or markings.

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