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AMAZING hike! We started at the North Kaibab trailhead around 3:45am and arrived at Phantom Ranch just before 10am. Stayed two nights in the dorms at Phantom and then hiked up Bright Angel at 3am to avoid the August heat in the sun and arrived at the South Rim just before 11am. Plenty of water sources along the way, but they’re unpredictable, so check with the rangers on which sources are running before you leave!

I do the rim to rim to rim hike usually 4 times a year but I have never done it in August. Just finished yesterday. Left Bright Angel on 8/5 at 3:30 am. I had shade all the way till cottonwood campground. I was up at the North Kaibab trailhead by 12:30. Met a few folks on the way down on BA then a few coming down on North Kaibab but other than that it was pretty deserted compared to other times. Spend the night at the lodge , had a great morning then hit the trail about 2pm. Some parts were already in shade going down on NK. Few people on the trail till the tunnel then nobody till Phantom Ranch. It was pretty hot down there. I started climbing up at 6:30 pm from Bright Angel campground and finished by 10pm.
If you want solitude on the trail, this really works.
I was able to avoid the sun for the most part on day one, on day two - the only bad part was from cottonwood for about 4 miles. Then it got shady. The hike up was after sunset. I was always a bit apprehensive about August hiking but it worked out great. One of my favorite hikes. Just amazing. Highly recommended

on Bear Wallow Trail

11 days ago

We went down the Reno trail then east on the Bear Wallow trail. About 4.5. Left a bike at the begging of Bear Wallow to ride back to the car. The trail down was easy to follow but be careful the trail back up to FR 25 is very hard to find. Glad I brought the GPS.

12 days ago

We did this in late July, we had a good time. The first day was pretty easy, we got to camp site # 5 around 2:00 ish. The second day was harder than I thought it would be, mainly because it is longer than 15 miles and because of the crowds of people. Walking sticks or poles are a must, as you get tired it gets harder to walk on the rocks. This was a must do for us and I’m glad we did it!

17 days ago

This was the best hike I have done. We did this as a two day backpacking trip and stayed at campsite 8. Campsite 8 was nice because it had an alcove in the canyon wall large enough for a 2 or 3 person tent. It was useful since it rained both days we were in the narrows and we were able to keep our tent dry. Try to do this hike during the dry season so the threat of flash flooding isn't as great.

Amazing hike. Here are a few things you need to know about top-down.

- Permit is required for top-down
- this is a very long day. It says 16 miles (as the river flows) but you really do about 22 miles. It’s because you’re constantly zigzagging across the river for the best route. This mileage was recorded by multiple devices in our group, including the AllTrails app.
- trekking poles or walking stick aren’t just a must, but an absolute necessity. I recommend trekking poles for better balance as you cross the river about 100 times.
- canyoneering boots or a good pair of wading boots are a must. A couple from our group did it in shoes but it will wear your ankles out. Lots of rock hopping.
- the top 10 miles are amazing because you are all alone. Way too many people doing bottom-up. Once you hit the crowds on the way down, it’s a zoo.
- some of the best scenery is actually close to the end.
- get there early. It took us 8 hours but we were cruising. Some miss the last shuttle by starting too late. Adding 8 miles of walking back to town would suck.
- you either need to arrange a shuttle to the trailhead or park at the trailhead and get a shuttle the next day.
- it’s a long drive to the trailhead from Springdale. Took us almost two hours.
- bring plenty of water. You can’t filter until about halfway because the water source is unsafe from the cattle until you start hitting the clean water coming in from other creeks.
- bring food. We burned 8,000 calories that day and 50,000 steps.
- it’s not rated as strenuous because it’s all downhill and more of a marathon. Subway is way more strenuous but shorter. But I was more tired at the end of the narrows.
- you will get wet. Just plan on it and you’ll be fine. Small dry bags inside a backpack do the trick. Some sections are chest deep wading. Most is ankle to knee deep.
- you can’t see the sky for most of it. Know the weather risks before you leave town. No reception outside of Springdale. Flash floods happen often. Watch for murky water and debris, know the nearest high-ground. Always be making note of how far behind you the high ground is. Use a Topo map or the alltrails map and know where you are at all times. There are multiple sections where there is no high-ground.
- be prepared. If you’re doing it in one day, it’s a beating. Recommend getting a camping permit if you want to take it slower. You will be very sore even if you run marathons. Different muscles when you’re wading through water and rock hopping all day long.
- be prepared for amazing. I actually liked subway better but this hike is absolutely beautiful. Do your homework, be prepared.

I completed this hike July 29, 2018. I would have preferred to hike a cooler time of the year, but I was in Phoenix for work and decided to make it happen.

Stayed at Kaibab Camper Village (hour drive to Kaibab)
Left Kaibab trailhead at 3:15am
Arrived at Phantom Ranch at 7:40
Started feeling sick about two miles past PR and didn’t want to risk over-heating. The next seven miles were touch and go.
Arrived at Indian Garden 11am
Arrived at South Rim 3pm

I was sick with a fever in the days leading up to the hike and I’m sure that affected me. But the heat was still pretty awful, even at 8am at PR. If you’ve never done a hike like this, don’t start with this one. Know your limits and be careful with the heat.

This hike is 23-24 miles if you take Bright Angel trail. Definitely not 21.6 like it says here.

AMAZING hike! So happy I did it, but if I had to do it over (which hopefully I will!), I would Backpack it instead of a day hike. So peaceful on the top section before you hit the tourist crowds at the bottom!

26 days ago

This hike was worth every minute!! The following of the river and then camping right next to it was breath taking. The views from top-down are something so beautiful. The hike itself isn’t awful, however we camped at campsite 5 and hiked 16 miles to get there. That’s from where the shuttle drops you off to the campsite.

28 days ago

Once in a lifetime hike. Amazing views throughout entire hike, just have to remind yourself to look up. Walking through water most of the time, I recommend high-top boots with synthetic socks. Ski poles or a walking stick are necessary, as you are constantly stepping on mossy rocks under the water surface.

1 month ago

This is mostly a deer path and not a trail. It is blocked and obscured by fallen trees at least every 100 yards slowing progress to 1mph or less. The photos added here are not good representations of this trail. If you must go here for the solitude keep to the first 2.5 miles as there are a few old campsites. A GPS device is a must. We would not recommend this trail.

Has anyone done this trail Out and Back in One day? I have done Half-Dome in 6 hours, and finding myself still have plenty of power after reaching the bottom. I wonder if it would be possible to do a round trip of this in a day since given the elevation gain, it seems to be just double of half dome.

Thought I’d only get to see places like this in heaven.

1 month ago

I couldn't recommend this hike strongly enough. We feel privileged to have been selected for one of the limited number of permits issued each year to hike into Keet Seel. The hike was recently selected by Arizona Highways as the hike of the month, which will only serve to increase the demand for permits.

Our party of 4 decided to do the hike in 2 days vs a single day so we could take our time and fully enjoy the surroundings and exploring the Keet Seel cliff dwellings. We opted to stay at the Monument's camp grounds the night before we hiked into the canyon so that we could get an early start while the air was still cool.

I would rate the difficulty of this hike somewhere between moderate and hard. Hard, primarily because of the amount of water you are required to carry and having to traverse thru so much sand. We carried 7 liters of water each into the canyon. We cache about 1/3rd of our water near the first marker once we were in the canyon so it would be available for the climb out. This worked well for us, and we never ran out of water. I would strongly discourage anyone from considering filtering their water. Cattle and feral horse droppings quite literally line the stream bottom. In fact, it's virtually impossible to avoid walking thru it.

For shoes I would recommend "WATERPROOF" hikers or trail runners, preferably medium height. You could also consider low gaiters if you prefer low shoes. I definitely would not recommend trail runners that are not waterproof unless you like to remove you shoes every couple miles to dump out the copious amounts of fine sand that will filter into your shoes. Your shoes will get wet as you will be continuously crossing the shallow stream bed. Luckily the Arizona sun will dry your shoes quickly once you get the camping area.

The camping area near the cliff dwellings is a beautiful spot, surrounded by fencing to keep the cattle and horses from entering the area. The composting toilets are clean and well kept with virtually no smell.

I would highly recommend this backpacking experience. Especially if you enjoy beautiful/remote locations, star filled night skies w/ virtually no light pollution, and some of the most incredible ancient cliff dwellings to found anywhere. Remember your hats, sunscreen and insect repellent.

Zion is one of the most beautiful places in the United States and has some stunning trails. None of which come close to this narrows hike. Every corner is another picture. The full hike gives you so much more than hiking up from Zion, and the hike let’s you enjoy the best Zion has while limiting the people.

1 month ago

Did the hike last weekend. It was awesome!!!! Stayed in camp site 12. The first 11 miles or so were mostly just the 3 of us. After we camped and got going again the next day around 11, we ran into a lot of people at the bottom. Kinda annoying with all the people, but it was still the best hike I’ve been on yet! Get out there!

Just finished top down. Wore hiking shoes and swim trunks. Don’t let the rental companies get you. The final stretch of the narrows gets super crowded after about 830. Camped at campsite 10, woke up at 5 and got into the long stretch of narrows before the day hikers got going. Once the crowd gets thick it slightly ruins the aura. Overall everyone should try this at least once.

This trail is a must to do we did the bottom up last year and wanted to do the top down well worth the effort. The water temperature was 67° the flow rate was at 27 CFS and we have bright blue skies. We stayed at the Zion Pondarosa and paid the 20 bucks for their shuttle which worked out well all we had to do is call when we were done and ready for pick up after the brewery of course. We started at 6:30 had the first 11 miles to ourselves. We weren’t in much of a hurry stopped and took a lot of pictures and swim in some of the holes and we still finished in 11 hours all in all it was a trip of a lifetime.

Will push your limits if not prepared. Not a lot of time to appreciate the wonder if you’re moving at pace, but a whole different level of beauty when your spent and climbing out. Be ready and be sure but do this and you will be rewarded with a memory for life.

The hike is an established is 23.9 miles. We just did it on Friday.

We did south kaibab up north kaibab in 14 hours. Going down was easy and we got to the Colorado river in under 3 hours. Poles were helpful. Up north kaibab was long and brutal in the 107 degree weather, swimming in ribbon falls was a lifesaver that kept us from overheating. I constantly soaked my clothes in the river and that was a huge help. But oh man, the most beautiful and amazing hike ever.

2 months ago

I just got back from backpacking through (top to bottom) of the Narrows. It was gorgeous. We camped overnight to enjoy the peaceful views and to allow more time to relax in the refreshing river. I would suggest renting neoprene socks and boots that drain from a place in Springdale. They really came in handy and were comfortable. This 16 Mile hike includes climbing over or between large fallen rocks, swimming with your pack in deep water areas, switchbacks through the river and every step takes navigating since it is very rocky. I have to say that I was ready for a break when we got to camp 10 miles in due to the extras (listed above) that you navigate through. About 6 miles in there is a waterfall and was a good place to take a lunch break. Overall, this was a wonderful experience that I’m so fortunate I was able to do! Permits are required and check the weather. If there is any sign of rain or flash flood warnings do not go. In Wall St. there is no place to climb for higher ground! Happy hiking!!

Awesome hike!!

My favorite hike so far!! Staying at Ponderosa Ranch was a must because we were already more than halfway to Chamberlin’s. We were able to book a shuttle with them for 5:30am. The Whole top down hike in one day took us a little under 10 hours and I clocked in 20 total miles due to the cross crossing and rock scrambling that you do in the river. The first 8-10 miles we saw no one and then after Big Springs more and more people until it got kinda crazy. I went through 5 liters of water even though it was not that hot yet. Water level was pretty low which made the hike easier. Will definitely do it again!

WOW, hands down one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done. My husband and I did the overnight 2 day top down hike, and we were glad we chose that over the one day top down. We rented shoes, neoprene socks, and waterproof bib for me, and pants for him. The shoes/socks were a saving grace! They kept our feet warm and toes protected from getting stubbed against the rocks. Personally, I was happy with the bib because water rose to my chest and I was protected. For most people, I think the waterproof pants should do fine. By the end of day 1, I felt pretty exhausted as the hike is different and challenging. There is no clear path to take - often, you are balancing on rocks and stomping through water.

One of the rangers warned us not to drink water from the Virgin River, as it has become contaminated from humans. Rather, he recommended collecting water from the small creeks flowing into the river - first one is at campsite 1, second is at campsite 6. Fill up at the one by campsite 1! When we went, the creek at campsite 6 was dried up.

We did the top-down in one day. We loved this hike because it was like a giant “chose your own adventure” strategy game. Would you rather balance along a thin ledge 2 feet above water, or scramble down a rock slide? Would you rather wade through waist-deep water, or climb around a 6 foot high boulder? And of course, in one of the most beautiful and unusual settings.

We researched this trip a fair bit ahead of time because we were nervous about the commitment. We were a group of 4 girls with zero canyoneering experience and minimal hiking experience, but a reasonable baseline of fitness (e.g. the occasional half marathon). We completed this hike in 9.5 hours with low water flow (30 cfs) and including about one 10 minute break every 90 minutes. It is very tiring but definitely doable and it feels like a great accomplishment. The last ~3 miles are the worst because of how busy it gets with people.

A few tips: a) Rent the equipment, the canyoneering shoes are amazing. b) We hiked in June and did not need a fleece, just a long-sleeve top for the earlier sections. c) We needed about 3 -4 liters of water per person. d) We did not need to swim. The deepest we got was waist deep. e) Invest in a real daypack. I had a less expensive one and the straps cut painfully into my shoulders within the first hour.

All in, definitely recommend the full day top down over the bottom-up for those that are on the fence.

2 months ago

This was one of my favorite hikes I’ve ever done. I rented neoprene socks and shoes through Zion Adventure Company and used my own hiking poles. I had no issues with the gear other than a small blister from the neoprene sock seam on day 2; but my feet were warm so I was happy. We stayed overnight at campsite 12. Campsite 11 and 12 were easy to miss from the river. The river passage is dicey near 12 because of a recent rock slide which forces you above ground and through campsite 12, unless you want to be fully submerged. It was an incredible experience and I highly recommend for those wanting a unique and challenging experience.
Proper footwear, quick drying clothing (not cotton) and hiking poles are a must.

Hiked from north rim to south rim via north kaibab to bright angel campground then bright angel trailhead out. It was an incredible 3 days! We spent 2 nights at bright angel campground. We loved every day and it was truly an unforgettable adventure. It was so peaceful, relaxing and rewarding. I should have packed lighter and should have planned way earlier but it was still really amazing!

Hiked from North Rim to South Rim in a day via North Kaibab and Bright Angel. Here's what we did over 2 days (5/23/18 - 5/24/18):

Day 1:
Parked at South Rim Lot D
Used Trans Canyon shuttle to get to North Rim
Stayed overnight at Grand Canyon Lodge (motel)

Day 2:
4a - Started hike at North Kaibab TH
6a - Arrived at Cottonwood Campground (10-15 min rest)
9a - Arrived at Phantom Ranch (20-30 min rest)
11a - Arrived at Indian Garden (45 min rest)
1:30p - Arrived at South Rim

Useful Info:
Water was available at all stopping points (this varies year to year)
N. Kaibab to Phantom was almost entirely in shade based on our departure date/time; temperature was cold when we started
Last 4.5mi (from Indian Garden to S. Rim) was the most difficult by far; uphill slog the whole way in the sun
You should train for this hike, especially the downhill (tough on knees)

Food: (2) Clif Bars, (2) PBJ sandwiches, jerky, fruit leathers, mixed nuts
Water: 3L bladder
Shoes: La Sportiva Wildcat
Socks: Injinji
Clothes: Patagonia R2 fleece for early morning, Columbia PFG hoodie, REI sun hat, Champion running shorts
Daypack: Camelbak Cloud Walker

Strava data:
25.98 total miles
7:56:08 moving time
18:19/mi pace
9:40 elapsed time
8,193 ft elevation
3.500 calories

Started at 5:30 on 5/26/18 and was at Phantom Ranch by 10:30. The climb down is fairly easy but taxing on the knees. Heart attack hill and then the strenuous corkscrew. Ever since leaving PR you’re in constant heat/sunshine until you come out. The last 5 miles up the Bright Angel trail is steep and brutal and it will take everything out of you. 54 year old male in good health and hike occasionally-it was on my bucket list and should be on yours as well.

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