Rim to Rim: North Kaibab to Bright Angel

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Grand Canyon National Park

Rim to Rim: North Kaibab to Bright Angel is a 22.7 mile point-to-point trail located near North Rim, Arizona that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking.

Length22.7 miElevation gain5,157 ftRoute typePoint to point
BackpackingCampingHikingRiverViewsWildflowersFee
Description
Waypoints (30)

Grand Canyon National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $35 per vehicle or $30 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot or bike the fee is $20 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $70.

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Reviews (220)
Photos (6,838)
Activities (229)
Completed (821)
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Alex Agueros
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Backpacking
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Alex Jander
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RunningGreat!
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Ethan Smalt
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Hiking

I did rim to rim to rim in 19 hours back in July and it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I would strongly advise anybody to be very very careful before taking on a challenge like that. I almost died. On the bright side it was very beautiful and there was plenty of clean drinking water along the way. If you do R2R2R during the summer I would advise you to start in the late afternoon and hike through the night and morning, and then rest during the hottest hours of the day.

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Harsh Lal
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Hiking
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Alisha Parry
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Best hike ever! Can't wait to do this again! We started at Bright Angel and hiked to the North Rim, meeting friends on the trail (Ribbon Falls) for a key exchange and lunch (bagels and cream cheese), which worked to perfection. My kids (17 and 14) and I stayed at the Maswick Lodge the night before our R2R hike. The night we arrived, we hiked down BA about a mile to get a feel for the trail, the ledge, and hiking the trails in the dark. It will be a new tradition we always do moving forward as we found numerous hikers needing a boost (first aid, fatigue, cold, discouragment, light). We found that by trekking down a mile, we could encourage fellow hikers and resupply them. It was awesome. Those final switchbacks and steep elevation climbs for those hikers who have been on the trail over 15+ hours can be grueling, especially if they're blistered or under fueled. For the key exchange, the trail is narrow enough that the only risk you have have missing one another for a key exchange is if you're hiking solo and taking a potty break, which could be easily solved by carrying walkies or having a marking plan in place. Otherwise, just have at least one hiker from your crew stand as lookout while the others are taking care of business. Worked to perfection! We reserved the lodge room for 2 nights so we could have showers, beds, and food ready as the North Rim crew made their way up since they're all at different fitness levels, we knew there would be hours differences for each hiking buddy system pairs. From BA, we left our car keys in the lodge and hiked with the lodge key cards so we could give a key card to each buddy system of the crew coming from the North Rim. The North Rim crew just brought us their car keys and told us where they parked. We hiked the end of October, so the lodge at the north rim was closed for the season. We just drove to Kanab and stayed with friends. *There is NOTHING at the North Rim but a public potty, buffalo, and 90 minutes of driving after mid October! In season, you do have the lodge and camping available. PLAN WELL if you're hiking after the north rim facilities close mid October. **Join the Grand Canyon R2R Facebook groups for tips and trail updates ***check the GCNP website for updates on water station and trail closures. Do this the week before you go and then the night before. You do not want to be stuck on the trail without a water source! We hiked with 2 and 3 Liter reservoirs for water and separate clip on water bottles for our electrolytes. We also packed our life straws just in case water wasn't available on the trail so we could get filtered water from the river/streams. ****GC R2R is NOT a weight loss plan! TRAIN and PLAN before you attempt GC. We trained for a year going on 1 - 5 hikes a month. We hiked in the dark, in the heat, in the cold. We selected a variety of 3 - 8 mile trails with 1000+ foot elevation climbs within a mile stretch to mimic the climbs we'd tackle on the R2R trail. We also ensured we walked at least 6000 steps every day in all terrains. You'll encounter nearly every terrain on GC R2R...beach like sand, streams, river, rock, gravel, stairs. ***** Test your equipment/gear ahead of time...make sure your shoes are good and ready but not over worn. You'll want good traction. Clip your toe nails and make sure your socks are cozy and seamless. We encountered one hiker with super long toenails that cut through the socks and literally left them hiking the last miles in bloody socks and no shoes ******Be prepared for self rescue! Pack that extra set of socks, first aid, calories, caffeine, survival blanket, hand hotties. We had more food than we needed and we didn't need the hand hotties, but a young couple at the north rim was left by their group and they had little food left and no warmth...so we were able to provide them our aluminum blankets, Ibuprofen, food, electrolytes, hand hotties and arranged a ride for them off the rim. True to hiker community, you'll find the nicest people all along the trail. Everyone is so encouraging and friendly. If you're prepared you'll find GC R2R an absolutely delightful hike that you'll want to make an annual trip if not more! The sights are incredible. We hiked late October. We planned for a 19 hour hike, but made it in 12 hours with 2 hours worth of breaks for water refills, lunch, potty and mild first aid due to chaffing. The only thing I would have done differently was added step ups to our training routine (bleachers, box jumps, stair climbs, step ups). Those last 3 miles of step ups and constant switchbacks were the only part of the hike that felt challenging for us (41, 17, 14 year old active family - 51 yo hubby had to pull out of our year long planned hike as he had a mild case of COVID just weeks before and his lungs weren't quite ready to tackle this hike. We live in the high desert of Nevada, at over 7000 feet, so the elevation at the GC wasn't a factor for us) *Trekking poles are a must! They help you...

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Markitos Cortez
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Hiking
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Ryan DeBoe
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Hiking
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Jennifer Polak
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Hiking

Amazing!

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Jon Mirmelli
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Hiking

Great adventure. Completed 10/17. Started at 6.30 and finished 4.45. Start of hike was 25F and around 100F at Phantoms Ranch. Stayed at Jacob Lake night before and El Tovar night of. Food options were limited at both resorts were full occupancy. Brought Ausprey pack with 3L to start with electrolytes and hiking poles and Hoka Speedgoat hiking shoes. Drank 7 liters during the day. Thought I was in good shape but really wasn’t prepared for the R2R in one day. Fantastic experience and will train more for next visit. Trail was very crowded, but manageable. Last 5 miles were tough

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fred moreno
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Hiking
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Jason Phillips
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HikingGreat!

Super Super difficult but all 18 of us made it out alive...barely! It is physically difficult and then it really gets mental the last 5-7 miles. We went from Bright Angel to North Kaibab which is apparently the harder way. Recommended to be a 4-6 day hike...we did it in our group between 12-15hrs. BRUTAL on the body!!!! A day later...WOW what an accomplishment! I’m not saying it was the smartest thing I’ve ever done (my buddies and I are all limpin around and tryin to stand up straight) but that Grand Canyon was conquered yesterday! Hardest thing I’ve ever done physically! This app says something like 22.7 miles. All of our gps apps logged us around 26+ miles. You will love it and hate it all at the same time! My advice...do stair climbs and parking garage walks for a couple months to prepare for the ascent and descent. Drink ALOT of water and have ALOT of snacks! Train, Train, Train and go do it! You’ve got this!

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Niels Braaksma
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Grady Jett
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HikingGreat!
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bret saxon
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Deanne Shields
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Hiking

A hard hike but the best way to see the canyon. We did this on Oct 9th and left at 5:30 am. Most of the hike was shady and cool. I was concerned about some of the areas between mile 3-4 where the trail was carved into the cliff as I get scared of heights but the trail was wide enough it was no problem! The hottest part was between the Colorado River and Indian Gardens. We did this in one day with friends and it was an amazing experience!

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Michael Pancoe
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HikingGreat!

This is a once in a lifetime experience! My wife and I finally hiked this trail after planning on going for 7+ years. So thankful we did this! It was much more challenging than I anticipated. Wish I got a couple more longer hikes in before the trip and I needed to eat every 15 minutes to keep energy going. We started at 5am at North Kaibab and finished 530pm up Bright Angel. I drank 9L of water and 100oz of hydration fluid. My wife made us a cold cut sub that saved my life and we had tons of other snacks: jerky, trail mix, Apple, orange, banana, muffin, protein bars, GU, PB pretzels, etc. The views of the Grand Canyon and experiencing the Canyon from the inside out was one of the most amazing and challenging experiences of my lifetime. Prepare well, bring enough food, stay hydrated and you’ll love it too!!

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Steve Call
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Hiking

Hard, very hard

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Alex Johnson
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HikingGreat!
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Caty Wilhelm
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Hiking

Very challenging but beautiful

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Paul Sedlet
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Hiking

Long hike!

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Pete Anderson
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HikingGreat!

This was an excellent day hike. I recommend early or late season to avoid high heat, hiking poles, hat & cotton shirt that holds water from water stops and streams, good trail shoes, salty nuts/snacks, pb&j’s, train for this hike unless you have a high level of endurance.

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Adam Goodman
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HikingGreat!

This hike should not be taken lightly. This was our second time and it was as hard as the first. Started at the North Kaibab trailhead at 6am and it was 30 degrees and windy. But it reached 100 degrees by Cottonwood. Pay the extra $1 for the lemonade refill at Phantom Ranch. It is worth it. The temps were hotter than we expected and slowed us down on the climb to the south rim. Overall a successful and rewarding day.

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Sergio Alvarez
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David Reiley
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HikingGreat!No shade

Epic hike

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Angelika Garcia
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Hiking

Trail itself was beautiful and not too difficult. Incline is not too difficult if you’re well trained on incline. The most difficult part for me was just the distance doing the entire rim-to-rim in one day. Definitely a bucket list experience. Would love to go back and camp at Phantom Ranch to split the hike into two days. Definitely recommend training hard with at least ten mile hikes once a week for 4 to 5 months prior to attempting this.

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Ryan Arkoudas
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Rhonda M.
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BackpackingGreat!
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Matt Modern Alchemist User
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Hiking Yoda
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Hiking

Hiked this 9/30/2020 as the conclusion to my R2R2R. Since the shuttles and campgrounds were closed I stayed overnight at the north rim lodge. I had nothing on me but my pack from the day before so that made planning a bit tough. It was about a 45 minute walk from the lodge to the trailhead. I started at about 515am and it was 46 degrees. Considering the bottom gets in the hundreds, this added more complexity as you had to carry more weight and layers. Luckily I had just done SK to NK the day before, so I knew exactly what I was getting into but in reverse. The first 3 miles were entirely in the dark and very cold which kept me moving quickly to stay warm. Between Supai tunnel and manzanita rest, it warmed up a bit and you were able to hike without layers. Another 4 miles and you were back at cottonwood camp. The best part about these 7 miles was that you couldn't see the sunrise from the NK rim. Therefore every photo was perfectly clear with not a shadow in site. Compared to the south rim where as the sun rose you had shadows in your photos. Still a beautiful site in my opinion so the lesser of two evils is up to you. I tried to operate similar to my R2R hike the day before so I stopped at cottonwood for my first lunch break. The weather was already in the 80s when I made it to cottonwood by about 8am. After cottonwood was the reverse trek through the box and then carving through the canyon. Despite having just been there the day before, it was 10 times more beautiful for whatever reason. I even saw an elk grazing below. Instead of stopping at phantom ranch, I continued on to the river to have my second lunch at boat beach like I had done the day before. By now it was noon and the temperatures were back in the 100s which is where I started to heavily burn out having covered R2R the day before and 14 miles that day. Luckily you never feel alone on the trail and a group of hikers gave me some motivation before I continued up to bright angel. These last 7 miles were brutal as the bright angel trail is entirely exposed with no shade and you are ascending up to the 7500 foot rim. I stopped at Indian creek campground, the 3 and 1.5 mile rest stops for snacks and breaks as these locations all had running water at the time. I think I blacked out during the last 1.5 miles because the next thing I remember I was at the BA trailhead at 5pm cheering and crying and more emotional then ever. So many people congratulated me and taking a photo with the BA sign was such a cathartic lassitude. Another 12 hour day under my belt. 50 miles total over 2 days with little sleep and I hiked it ALONE! Never before have I done such a feat. Going NK to BA was much tougher then SK to NK and added a few extra miles too. I drank 11L of water this time (3 just in the 4 miles from the river to Indian creek), 1L of Gatorade and ate 3 sandwiches plus snacks and electrolytes. I am not even sure how I found the strength to push myself but it was a once in a lifetime achievement I will never forget. Anyone can do this hike with the right attitude and training. Can't wait to make R2R2R a tradition. Next up lets try cactus to the clouds ;)

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