Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Grand Canyon National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

We hiked this trail in February 2015 and it was the perfect time to have cool and comfortable temperatures. It was in the 60's when we started on the rim and it was 78 when we got to the bottom. The first day, we hiked to Indian Gardens Campground and spent the night in our tent. It is a good campground and has pit toilets and water. Very quiet. The next morning, we hiked down to Phantom Ranch. We spent approx. 2 hours resting there and bought more food to eat at the snack bar. We hiked back up that same evening to Indian Gardens and spent another night there. I would recommend, after my own experience being very challenging, that you spent a night at the Phantom Ranch campground or the cabins down there BEFORE heading back up to Indian Gardens. Then spend a night at Indian Gardens and hike out. Bring plenty of light weight snack food, dehydrated hiker meals and a pocket rocket for warming up your water and adding to your dehydrated meal for a light weight, quick meal. It was very helpful that you could fill your water down in the canyon at several water stations. Also, it was great that they had lots of drinks and snacks to purchase at the Phantom Ranch snack bar. You can also pre order a full meal at Phantom Ranch before your trip, if that is what you prefer. This trip is a trip I will never forget. Don't attempt this hike without proper preparation and when it is too hot.

It was awesome! it's easy going down with gorgeous views, but dont underestimate! Coming up is the hard part. pay close attention to what the park rangers say. the weather is really unpredictable. wear lots of layers, take alot of water, food and salty snacks.

I’ve done the R2R five times and can’t imagine getting tired of it. If you’re thinking of it as a bucket list item, it’s worthy. Don’t skip Ribbon Falls.

Take dinner with you and eat at Plateau Point at sunset. If you’re ever able to be out there during a full moon, you’ll never forget it.

This hike is a perfect way to get a good work out and take in spectacular and vast views of the canyon without completely tiring yourself out or eating up your entire day. There was still some ice at the beginning of the trail. Those parts were quite slick, but they were less than 25 ft. I was wearing hiking boots, but my partner did just fine in treaded sneakers.

Has anyone hiked this with kids? Considering taking my 5 year old

Did it first with my wife when I was 66. Second time with my two daughters at 68. Spent three nights in the canyon and would do it again. I don’t agree that you have to be in tip top shape but it would help. Take your time, observe and enjoy. It’s not a race and as long as you hike out you WIN!!! That being said you must be careful with the heat and hydration.

The last 3 miles are tough!

Went from bright angle, down to the river and phantom ranch, and then went back to south kaibab. We were about to do the trail to plateau point, and started at 9:50 a.m. Changed our mind to do this trail when we arrived at Indian garden. It was about 1 p.m when we went across the bridge. Finally got back to south kaibab at 5 p.m. We were totally exhausted after finished the trail though, the scenery is great.

epic and awe inspiring — there is no substitute for experiencing the canyon and its river close up like this. that being said, be realistic about your abilities. have a set turn around point: if you don’t make it to Tip-off Point in around two hours, consider taking the Tonto trail across to Bright Angel. This alternate route saves about 1500 feet of elevation gain, and is still a rewarding hike. If you haven’t made it to Tip-Off in three and a half to four hours or so, the canyon has defeated you and you should consider turning around. My boyfriend and I did the full route — we started at 6:15AM and ended at 4PM. Like a bunch of other reviewers, we are fit(ish) but not ultramarathoners or anything, but we did prepare by hiking several 10-mile 3,000 footers until we got comfortable with the distance. We took the orange rim route shuttle bus from the visitor center to get to the trailhead, but the park also has a “hikers express” that runs from bright angel lodge. I highly recommend talking to a ranger at the backcountry information office before doing this hike! they have awesome maps of the trails and great advice. They are there to help you, even though it is official policy for them to never advise anyone to do this hike. Be sure to bring enough salty snacks and gatorade (we had about 1500 calories each and 1L of gatorade each plus water), and take breaks often. We were so intimidated by this route and by the reviews, but it was an amazing experience that I’m so glad we did!!

Sunday, myself and this beautiful girl, with amazing green eyes, spontaneously went up to the Grand Canyon for our first time. Walked the rim for about three miles and found Bright Angel and well, just did it. Awe inspiring views. The traffic was heavy, as well as mule manure with icy trails. Doesn’t matter tho because again, you’re like walking inside of the Grand Canyons belly. Mmm.
Believe me, I wanted to lay face down on the trail, simply throw in my white flag and pass on. However, when you got someone like her...guess what, you keep going!! She was/is a boss and kiiilled it.

Disclaimer: However, unless an experienced hiker, not recommended to do the hike down and up in one day.
-Shout out to the water boy at the hotel by Bright Angel, where we stuffed our mouths with amazing veggie quesadillas and burgers.
Stay true bruh, stay true.

backpacking
22 days ago

I’d always wanted to take this trail after visiting the Phantom Ranch area on my first backpacking trip to Grand Canyon. The lure of that trail taking off across the north Tonto platform excited my imagination. Where did it lead? What was at the other end?

I took a solo trip of five days in January to find out. I’m going to skip the corridor portion of this hike, since it’s so well known.

If you’re looking for solitude without having to drive to a remote trailhead, Clear Creek is a good choice. Once you depart Phantom Ranch, you’ll see few people. And once you reach the Tonto, you might be lucky enough to find yourself totally alone for a couple of days.

Depending on the time of day, you’ll experience different hikes. For me, departing my camp just past the cairns as the sun was coming up, I walked alternately through sun and shade, rising and falling with the contouring trail as it moved into and out of washes and canyons.

Throughout my walk, I experienced exceptional views of Grand Canyon’s prominences surrounding me, and of the Colorado river below. Yucca and cactus of several species dot the landscape. Along the way, an eight point buck passed on the slope above me.

The route rises overall until it reaches the bright orange Hakatai shale above Clear Creek, where the trail narrows to sometimes as little as four boots wide, and begins a 600’ descent into Clear Creek Canyon. This section of the trail is filled with loose, broken bits of rock, and though not excessively dangerous, should be taken with care.

At the bottom of the switchbacks, I reached a trickle of a drainage that feeds Clear Creek. The trail was a little difficult to find, and may actually have been washed out, but following the creek leads to several obvious campsites. There were no food storage boxes, but there is a primitive toilet.

Several of the campsites are near the creek itself. The water is clean and cool (but make sure you treat your drinking water). The sound is relaxing, and makes for a wonderful stay.

Clear Creek can be windy place. The air races up and down the canyon, trying to equalize pressure. Plan ahead and make sure you have enough guy line for your tent.

Leaving the canyon, I faced the climb up the switchbacks, but was clear of them in 45 minutes. In another three hours, I had covered the remaining ~6 miles back to the cairns. It was way too early to make camp, and I continued another hour down to the Bright Angel ranger station where I secured a site at the campground.

This is a trail I’ll definitely return to do again, planning on spending an extra day or so at Clear Creek to explore Cheyava Falls up creek, or the drainage into the Colorado river below.

Lots of ice/snow and people with tennis shoes on, I slipped many times in good hiking boots. A hike not for the faint of heart right now. But absolutely breathtaking and beautiful.

hiking
27 days ago

Stunning views!

hiking
27 days ago

INCREDIBLE! Be sweet to yourself and get there a little early to have a cup of coffee as the sun’s coming up. Got to the trailhead at 8 and it was absolutely freezing. The trail heats up quickly on the descent and I had to peel off a bunch of my layers and stuff them into my pack. The trail down in those first few hours offers the best, most dramatic views of the entire hike in my opinion. The wind was pretty strong near the top and the tail gets pretty narrow with steep drop offs at some spots, so it can be a little freaky but steel yourself- you can handle it

made it to the 2nd tunnel. amazing views the further you hike down into the canyon! loads of people and even mules. watch out for the mule poop!

made it to the 2nd tunnel. amazing views the further you hike down into the canyon! loads of people and even mules. watch out for the mule poop!

5/5 wouldn't do in reverse again. We started with bright angel and went to phantom ranch for a 30 minute break and then started on South Kaibab. We did it all in one day and while extremely taxing, what a view and what a rewarding experience. Doing it all in one day is really challenging but if you want a tough one then go for it!

Load More