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

HARD 224 reviews
#7 of 100 trails in

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

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

For all hikers that want to do this in one day, here are some tips. Prepare months in advance for this hike. Run and hike and get your body used to being in hot conditions. Also, eat a lot of the right foods and the right amount. Don’t forget your sodium intake. Eating at Phantom Ranch is the worst possible thing you could do. Eat some salty snacks a couple miles before PR. Fill your water and go to the bathroom but that’s it. It is too hot there and will zap your energy. Eat lunch at the resting spot right before you turn away from the Colorado river. There is a stream you can soak in and eat in the shade. Most people have problems within the first couple miles heading up to Indian Gardens. It is steep, hot and no shade in this section. Drink plenty, you should be consuming 7-9 liters of water. Headlamps are good to take, just in case something happens and you're in the canyon longer than expected. Cooling towels, rags are great to provide extra cooling. Check the nps.gov website to make sure water stations are working. Trekking poles just might save you!

hiking
14 days ago

Coming from an first time hiker, I was able to hike from the north rim to the south rim going up bright angel trail. It was very very hard - it took me 11 hours going down, taking breaks and soaking in the scenery and 9 hours going up. I was very sore the first day so I went to bed around 6 and stayed at Bright angel campground. Woke up and left the next morning around 7am (which was too late in my opinion) and thought I can get the 1:30 shuttle back to the N Rim. I had heat exhaustion and at the 1.5 mile rest stop, my body couldn’t move. I ended up taking an hr break before finishing. Now that I look back, I’m so glad I did it. Next time, I’ll make sure to bring electrolytes and more gum!

hiking
20 days ago

Did it in a day, 2 days ago (8/31/19). Didn't have a car at the other end so we arranged for Trans-Canyon Shuttle to take us at 1:30pm (which is the last shuttle on any given day from South Rim to North Rim unless you pay a lot more and have at least 8 people--but it was just my buddy and me on this one, so we went for the 1:30). Started at 1:15am and hauled ass; took us 9 hours total (we gave ourselves 12 hours to do it, not having done it before). Starting that early also helped us escape a lot of the brutal heat. Total distance is more like 22 miles. The first 14 miles or so (until Phantom Ranch / Bright Angel Campground) are a steady decline, great for running/shuffling down (in the dead of night haha). Last 3 miles ascending are a grind, especially in the hot sun and after the previous mileage. We each carried 4L water and I pumped from the Colorado twice (keep hydrated, and bring a filter!). Amazing, unforgettable. I hike a lot in Utah (am acclimated) and stay fit; looks like typical & fit one-day RTR North to South hikers take 10-12 hours to do this, so bear that in mind.

hiking
23 days ago

Fabulous world class hike. I spent a night at the south rim and shuttled to the north rim the next day. Hiked down the following day, stayed at Phantom, and hiked out the next day. Bring plenty of electrolytes (power, gel, etc.) if you do this in the warmer months. I carried a 3 L water bag and refilled it at every opportunity.

hiking
1 month ago

Did it 2 days ago. Started at 3:15am from North Kaibab trailheads, got to Cotton Woods at 7:25. It’s a nice camp site. Might try to camp next time. The bridge to the Ribbon falls was broken. We saw a guy crossed it by hanging on the rails. We didn’t go to the falls, want to save the energy for the entire hike. We arrived Phantom Ranch at 11:30. Took a 30 minutes break and had lunch there. Got to the Colorado river bridge at noon. It was very hot and sunny. We managed for another 1.5 miles and saw the Riverside Rest-house. We decided to take a rest until 4pm. We continued at 4pm. Still hot, but most trails were in shade. Got to Indian Garden at 6:30pm. From river to Indian garden, it’s 5 miles and 1200’ elevation gain, which means the rest 4.5 miles has 3000’ gain. Getting harder and harder. Took us 2 hours for the 1.5 miles to get to the “3.0 miles rest house”, and it was dark. Got to the 1.5 miles rest house at 10:07 and took a break until 10:30 pm. Final 1.5 miles became easier because we knew we were getting closer and closer to the destination. Arrived at the Bright Angel trailheads at 11:46pm. Glad we made it within one day. Took us 20.5 hours to complete the entire trail. Well worth the hard work.

hiking
1 month ago

first "big time real trail" I've done. awesome experience! painful but fun

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

It’s hard, but amazing!!!! You MUST do it early or choose another season to do it. In summertime is really really really hot when you approach the bottom. We started at 03:30 from North Rim. The trail is easy, not steep as we thought, and the terrain is ok. The cottonwood campground is in the middle of the way to Phanton Ranch, and it was the place where the sun started to bother us. It was hot (very hot!) since 09:00. From that point on , every spot that arrives in the creek was an invitation to get soaked wet. Soak your cap, your shirt, and ,if you can , soak all your body. And don’t forget to enjoy every shadow that you find!!! We know people that left at 5am and were so regret of not starting earlier. The worst part of North Kaibab is the last 2 miles. You will be in a place called THE BOX. As soon as you get there better, because you will want to get away faster!!! It’s where the canyon becomes narrow and the granite walls keep all the heat inside of them; you fell like you are in a toaster. We just keep moving to get out of it quick!!! But, as soon as you survive the beautiful but hot The box, you will be very close to Phanton Ranch and a cool lemonade!!! Despite the heat, the trail is amazing, especially when the canyon starts to become narrower. But, as I say, you will enjoy better if you leave early. Phanton Ranch is amazing! It’s like a oasis in a desert. It’s worth to walk around, go to the creek and specially walk until the Colorado River and cross the both bridges that link the ranch to the trails that go up. And if you can, spend a lot of time doing nothing in Boat Beach. It’s a white sand beach in Colorado River. You can swin in the green and cold waters of the most amazing river on earth!!! We spend two days in Phanton Ranch. That was veryyy nice! The first day we are so tired of the hiking that we didn’t do anything. The second day we spent enjoying the beach, the bridges and resting for the hiking up. To go up, the best choice is Bright Angel’s, as it has water and shadow - the most important things when you have to go up , and they are not available ate South Kaibab. Again you have to get up early to go up. You should have in mind that it will be hot when you leave Phanton Ranch even at 3 am!!!!! And that you will be at the hottest part of day in the worst part of the trail!!! We leave Phanton Ranch at 3am. We had lucky because the day was cloudy and it rained a little bit when we arrived Indian Garden. When the sun comes up, you can see the amazing views of the canyon and as you go up, you can see almost all the way that you’ve done since North Rim. It’s amazing! The worst part of Bright Angel is the last 3 miles!!!! After that you will find a steep hiking with almost no shade!!!! And don’t forget that you will be tired from the hiking down and the 6 miles that you have already done going up. The secret here is going slow, enjoying every single shade and getting soak in the 3-mile and the 1,5 mile stops. Look back, enjoy the amazinggggg view, take a breath and hike some more steps. We have took 8h30 min to go up. It’s a challenge, but it’s so worth it. It worth every steep you take. The views are awesome and been in the river is one of the most exciting experiences that anyone can have. I finished very tired and exhausting and don’t want to hike this trail anymore but my wife already want to do it again!! (We have done it on July 22th 2019. We’re frequently hikers, and I am 57 years old; my wife, 48; and my daughter, 14).

hiking
2 months ago

Stayed at the Phantom Ranch. Great Rim to Rim hike!!

hiking
2 months ago

Completed this trail over a three day period just to enjoy the views. The climb out was very strenuous. We went May 2018 and weather at phantom ranch reached 100. So needless to say you don’t need “cold weather clothing” at the bottom.

hiking
2 months ago

Did this hike with 2 of my closest university buddies, back on May 29th. Definitely a bucket list item, it took us just under 14 hours, Started from North rim at 5:15am and ended just after 7pm. Wet on the way down yes it was raining the day before. Trail was well groomed plenty of traffic, great to meet up with people along the way. The second part of the hike was very difficult and seem never ending. A must to get it off your list.

hiking
2 months ago

did this with 14h15m on May31, 2019. phantom ranch was upper 80 a little hot. overall was perfect very tough and slow after Indian garden.

hiking
2 months ago

North to South. Left North rim at 4:00 a.m., great temp around 60 which dropped quickly to about 45 once in the rim. Carried 2 liters in bladder and one in bottle. I’m a heavy sweater and this worked well. Turned off headlamp at about 5:15 am and made Roaring Springs by 5:45 and Cottonwood by 6:30 and Phantom Ranch at 8:15 - stayed 30 minutes. First direct sun at a Phantom. Made Indian Garden by 10:45 - stayed 20 minutes. Averaged 40 minutes each (plus 10 minute breaks) to 3 mile, 1.5 mile, and finally South Rim at 1:45 pm. I’m 6’3”, 205 lbs, 60 years old, pack weight 15 lbs ( including 3 liters). Jog/shuffle downhill - tough on knees but speedier. Experienced high mountain climber. Altitude out will get you if you aren’t acclimated. Hope this helps - great challenge!

hiking
3 months ago

June 12, 2019. - Took about 9 hrs 50 min. - Started at 3:15AM from North Kaibab. - Headlamps are required for descent at this time (some say moonlight suffices, but you’re on a cliff in the dark so you decide). - Got to Phantom by 8:05AM. - Temp in The Box was pleasant before 8AM. - Ascent was hot, soaked our bodies/heads/clothes in creeks and at water stops. You can also do this at Phantom before you ascend. - Last 3 mi suck, lots of people from the South Rim not following trail etiquette. Also it’s hot as balls and not flat. Took about 40-50min/mile for last three miles. Bring electrolyte tabs/gels and drink lots of water. Soak your body/head as you ascend out of the canyon, keeps you moving quick and you don’t roast. Temp in the box today was 110, but we barely felt it until the end. Awesome hike.

Not bad! It was too hot to go down into the canyon, but was enjoyable.

hiking
3 months ago

My 16 year old son and I did this route June 5th with plans to stay the night at the south rim and hike back the next day. We listened to our bodies and decided to take the shuttle the next morning. The last two water stops on the North were off as well. We started at 4:30 am and temps were 33 degrees. Temps were in the 90s at the river. Our actual walking time was 8 hours. As many have stated, the mileage on the map is off. We logged 26.3 on our Garmin. This is an awesome trail! We plan to go back and do a rim2rim2rim

Rim-to-rim north kaibab to bright angel trail. we were up to the Challenge!

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked it June 1st and had perfect conditions with no precipitation and pleasant temps most of the hike. Started a little after 5am heading southbound and had shade for about half of the hike. Took 8.5 hours but the last 3 miles were pretty tough as others have mentioned. Trail is very well maintained, travels through varied and beautiful areas of the canyon. I brought a water filter but never used it with numerous water spigots along the trail. The upper most water spigot on the north Kaibab trail wasn’t working as of June 1st.

hiking
3 months ago

I did this gem double time, rim to rim to rim, last July. I absolutely loved it! Dont underestimate the descents, they take a toll on your knees and refill your water at every available stop. try not to hike the portion between cottonwood campground and phatmon ranch between 12 and 4pm because the canyon heat and sun exposure is exhausting. Im excited for a repeat hike in June. :)

hiking
3 months ago

Did this on May 26th 2019. Weather was perfect, not too hot and breezy. Going down was harder than expected and the last 3 miles was tough. My GPS clocked in 27 miles vs. 24 miles for the trail. Make sure you refill water at most stops. I drank 5 liters that day!

hiking
3 months ago

Bucket list one day rim-to-rim ... check! Great hike. Cool, cloudy day was perfect. Mileage closer to 25 miles.

hiking
3 months ago

This is a great hike!!! Did it on 5/20/19. 4” of snow on the NR. After a couple of miles the trail was clear and nice. Started at 5:45 AM, stopped for an hour at Phantom Ranch, topped out at the SR at alittle before 5:30 PM. EPIC hike!!! We had 28° when we started at the NR and it was in the 60’s going across the bottom, and 40° when we finished. The GC is so beautiful, so impressive, so vast, so very impressive!!! What a marvelous creation that our Lord provided us here!! This was our first R2R. I want to do it again!!!

hiking
3 months ago

The perfect way to experience the canyon. Obviously not for the inexperienced but if you're up for the challenge, go for it. There's plenty of water along the way on both sides so you don't have to carry too much water weight on the hike. The longest you'll have to go is the 7 miles between cottonwood campground and phantom ranch without water. (it's flat though). This is a 24-mile hike, not 21. Wouldn't advise doing this between at least June and August as the temps at the bottom will reach triple digits. Took me 10:30 overall to walk across including breaks.

3 months ago

Well that is pretty beautiful.

hiking
4 months ago

I did this hike yesterday, May 18. It took my just under 12 hours to complete it. The hike was closer to 24 miles. The consensus of the group I traveled with indicated that we climbed 380 flights and walked around 60,000 steps. The weather was perfect. Roaring Springs is awe inspiring! The hike across the Colorado River via Silver Bridge is thrilling! And the excitement when you finally reach the Bright Angel trailhead can’t be described! I look forward to doing this again soon!

hiking
4 months ago

Both God and the Devil live in this Canyon.

hiking
4 months ago

I did this hike in mid-May 2013. I was 62 and had a total knee replacement just 15 months earlier. I don’t recommend anyone doing this hike without being totally recovered from this kind of surgery. I wasn’t and by the time I reached Indian Gardens Campground I was done, but being the badass that I am I rested for about 40 min then continued the climb. We had started on the north rim at 5:45 am and I was at Indian Gardens about 2:00 am. With a lot of stops it took me until 9:45am to make it to the top. Some people might say why or I’d never do that, I say it was worth it. I’ve been back 4 more times over the past 5.5 years. In June 2014 we went South to North that one took me 23 hrs but I needed to stop to treat an early onset of heat exhaustion, then it rained for about an hour when we were coming into Cottonwood Campground, I also got a little bit of altitude sickness after the Supi tunnel. The in May 2015 I went down the S Kaibab to Tip off then took the Tonto trail to Bright Angel then up.15 hours for that one. I couldn’t hike the following year in 2017 due to needing hand surgery. So I made up for it last year in 2018 did South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch and up Bright Angel once in May and once in September. I had just turned 67 on the last hike and when we were at Tip off one young lady asked me how old I was and when I told her she said aren’t you afraid something will happen to you. I said look around and tell me what you think of this place. She said it was beautiful and breathtaking. I said what a place to go. One day when I’m old I may need to spend the night in each of the campgrounds to make it across, but until then I’ll keep going back.

hiking
10 months ago

Most amazing hike. I am not a “serious hiker,” however I did train for 3 months to do this hike. We did Rim to Rim in one day, from North to South Rim via Bright Angel on October 20. Weather was PERFECT! Chilly in the morning (started a little after 6am in the dark), but warmed up very quickly. We took 30 hikers with us, from 16 years old to 60, but didn’t all stay together. A few things to note: * It’s actually 23.9 miles. I verified with a Park Ranger. * Water is available often, but I always kept at least 3 liters on me at all times, and that was during the fall. If you hike in the heat, you will need MUCH more! I would not do this hike in the summer. * Electrolytes are not optional. * You need to snack the entire way down the rim. Then stop to eat your packed lunch at Phantom Ranch. You won’t feel like eating much after that (even though you should) so almost all your calories & electrolytes needs to be in the morning. Salty tastes way better than sweet. * There are NO garbage cans...you will need to pack out every tiny bit of garbage with you. * I finished in just over 12 hours. It’s doable for the most physically fit in about 8-10 hours. The last of our group finished in 15 1/2 hours with a knee injury. * The switchbacks on Bright Angel are not as steep as I expected. They are just extremely relentless and never ending. The last 3 miles will take FOREVER. * Have a head lamp with you. * Use every bathroom you pass. There are no “hidden areas” to squat behind. No matter where you go, you will be seen! * This is not a loop, nor an out and back. You will need a driver waiting for you at the Rim you finish on. We met some people who didn’t think that through, and were trying to figure out how to get back to their car on the North Rim, which was about a 4 hour drive away! * I was terrified to do this hike, but am so glad I did! You will not regret doing it, as long as you are PREPARED! Hike a few times each week, walk a lot, and do the stair stepper as often as possible.

10 months ago

Absolutely amazing hike. We went slow purposefully to stay 1 nite at each of the 3 campgrounds and soak it all in. The views and stars at nite are exceptional. I recommend hiking it in October as the heat isn't brutal. 23.9 miles starting at north rim and using BA trail to reach the south rim. A must do for all serious backpackers. Highly recommended.

backpacking
10 months ago

What can be said about this trail that hasn't been said a thousand times already? The Rim to Rim experience through the Grand Canyon was a physically demanding, refreshingly emotional adventure. If you have the means and the ability, there are few greater short-term backpacking experiences to be found in the US. My friend and I completed the trail in September of 2018 and both came away from the experience exhausted and inspired. From the cliff face trail at the north rim to the lush and vibrant Phantom Ranch, Indian Garden and the village, this trail allows you to see so much in only a handful of miles. The detour to the Canyon overlook is a must. The short side trail to the waterfall is also a must. Cracking a beer at Phantom is a must and so is their world famous family-style breakfast. Only one percent of visitors make it down into the canyon itself and an even smaller percentage actually traverse the entire thing by foot. To be among that group is an honor and a welcome addition to my memories of adventuring.

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