Rim-to-Rim: North Kaibab to Grand Canyon Village

HARD 148 reviews

Rim-to-Rim: North Kaibab to Grand Canyon Village is a 21.6 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near North Rim, Arizona that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, camping, and backpacking and is best used from May until October.

DISTANCE
21.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
5,298 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

camping

hiking

trail running

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no dogs

Four days across the Grand Canyon you will never forget! There is a secret to a Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hike: Take four days to do it, even if you can do it in one. - Spend time at Ribbon Falls? It's a destination unto itself. - Spend a couple of hours at Phantom Ranch hanging out with other hikers - Feel the incredible night breeze at Cottonwood Camp. - See the sunset at Plateau Point, which must be seen to be believed. So, take your time--take four days for the hike. Each day's trek is six miles or so, and you have all kinds of time to actually see the Canyon and marvel at its beauty. Spend your first night at Cottonwood Camp, and marvel at the lights from the North Rim Lodge twinkling a mile above you. Spend the second at Bright Angel Campground, and enjoy a steak dinner at Phantom Ranch. Spend your third night at Indian Garden, and just relax. The fourth day's hike out is much easier, since you are already nearly halfway up the south rim.

hiking
4 days ago

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!

hiking
9 days ago

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

17 days ago

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.

trail running
1 month ago

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.

trail running
1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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

1 month ago

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

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!

hiking
2 months ago

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)

Gear/Food
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

hiking
2 months ago

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.

2 months ago

Made this awesome hike with my wife and daughter last week for out 36th Anniversary. Impossible to describe! We did the hike in 3 days and spent two nights at Phantom Ranch. Be sure to see Ribbon Falls it is worth the extra distance.

3 months ago

Accomplished this epic hike in one day at end of October 2017. Total time 11 hours with about 1 hour of stops, including 30 minutes for lunch.

North Rim campground was still open but not the lodge - it was the last weekend they were open. We dropped in at 6:30 am and it was 36 degrees. When we got to the tunnel we stripped down to base and kept moving. In all my prep hikes I focused on the ascent and underestimated the beating my knees would take going down and I tweaked my left knee. Could only step down with the left and up with the right so slowed pace to about 2mph going up. We stopped every two hours for protein and salt/electrolytes. Temp was a cool 80 degrees through the box and we carried 2L of water and refilled at each stop (the water was still turned on). My hiking partner missed eating protein at one stop and we had to make an unplanned stop in the box to eat (we were trying to get past PR before eating lunch). We stopped at the river house on bright Angel Trail for 30 minutes to eat and change socks. Then we started the climb out - kept a steady pace but I could really feel my knee - more on the incline then the steps. We climbed out at 5:30 to our shuttle group who set up camp. Nice shower, meal and Ice for the knee

Getting ready to do South to South in 2 days (May 2018) and will consider my lessons learned. I will take my knee stabilizers and wear them the entire trip. I will use my trekking poles the entire way. I will stay with our protein/electrolyte plan. Ultra electrolytes, pickles, almonds, tuna packs, cut veggies with full fat dressing and we will start with 4L of water since there is no water on South Kaibab and it will be close to 100 at our he bottom

hiking
3 months ago

One of my favorite hikes, good advice to take your time, we had to shorten this to a 3 day hike so skipped on past Indian Garden right to the south rim, but if we had the choice staying there at Indian would have been better. My son and I did this hike starting at the north rim on the first day it opened, around middle of May. The weather/temps were perfect then. Make sure to spend some time at Ribbon falls it was my favorite spot.

backpacking
5 months ago

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.

backpacking
6 months ago

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.

hiking
7 months ago

Exhausting and epic!! The vast and varied scenery along the way is unbelievable. Be prepared! Do not do this without adequate training and supplies. Hiking poles are a great asset! Make sure shoes fit correctly. I bruised my toes going down eight miles not having my boots laced correctly or not fitting right.
Bring layers. It was cold at the rims and very hot crossing the box at the bottom in May. I love this place. It’s a very Grand Canyon indeed!

8 months ago

amazing way to spend a day hiking.

backpacking
8 months ago

This was my first time doing the R2R. I just want to say it was so amazing! Loved every moment backpacking through the north to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Amazing waterfalls my group saw along the way was spectacular! I would totally do this again.

backpacking
8 months ago

One of the best trails in the country. Highly recommend it.

backpacking
8 months ago

This was such an awesome hike. Took four days to hike it.

backpacking
9 months ago

Absolutely awesome introduction into backpacking. Spent 3 nights in the canyon. Cottonwood, Bright Angel and Indian Garden Campsites. Must see is Ribbon Falls and Plateau Point. Views are breathtaking throughout the hike. Day 1 is a tough downhill decent and day 4 is uphill the whole way. Highly recommend.

9 months ago

We went the opposite way of Bright Angle to N Kaibab. Steep climb and with a pack was brutal, but what amazing views

9 months ago

We loved this one second time for me and wife wants to do it again

9 months ago

was amazing and the climb up the north rim was tough 7 miles and about 5000' in elevation. loved it!!!!

hiking
9 months ago

Spectacular!!! Did it as a long day hike. Later in October gave us some very favorable weather. Never too hot and never too cold.

backpacking
9 months ago

Hard- yes but worth every sore muscle. Absolutely amazing!!

hiking
9 months ago

We did 3 days and 2 nights. Just amazing and beautiful. Looking for to do it again.

hiking
10 months ago

What a hike! Seemed as though every bend brought new beautiful views. This is a must do for anyone that enjoys a challenge. Planning on making this hike a yearly tradition.

hiking
10 months ago

10/10/2017 We hiked North Kaibab down to Phantom Ranch in about 5 hours. The weather was cool and the fall colors in the canyon were beautiful. We played too long at the beach and didn’t leave until 3 pm. Didn’t have time to see much of Indian Garden just passed right through. Had to use our cell phones for light on the trail as the sun goes down around 6:15 this time of year. Made it out at 8pm. Wasn’t planning on hiking in the dark but saw the most spectacular star show in the sky!

hiking
10 months ago

I hiked this on 10/12/2017. Left the North Rim about 5:45am, and made it down to the Coconino overlook just before dawn. I stopped at Phantom Ranch for a little lunch break, and water refill, and then started up the Bright Angel Trail. Indian Gardens is a nice place to rest and soak tired feet in the creek before finishing up the last few miles. I wasn't setting any speed records, but the scenery was well worth taking my time, and the fall weather was perfect. I poked my head out of the canyon at the BA trailhead about 5:45pm, and enjoyed a much deserved pizza and beer over at the pizza place near the backcountry office.

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