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

HARD 135 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
5298 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.

16 days 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
20 days 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
20 days 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.

23 days 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.

1 month 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
1 month 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
3 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
4 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
5 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!

6 months ago

amazing way to spend a day hiking.

backpacking
6 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
6 months ago

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

backpacking
6 months ago

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

backpacking
7 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.

7 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

7 months ago

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

7 months ago

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

hiking
7 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
7 months ago

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

hiking
8 months ago

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

hiking
8 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
8 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
8 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.

hiking
8 months ago

Left North Rim on Oct 9, 2017 about 8:30am and arrived at Phantom Ranch about 2:30pm....gorgeous fall scenery and weather. Overnighted in one of the cabins and left the following morning at 6:30 and got to South Rim about 12:00. Temperatures were very accommodating, portions of hike were quite challenging.

hiking
8 months ago

The hike was challenging, but well worth it ! Trekking poles came in handy. Hydrate and electrolytes are a must. The scenery was breathtaking and was a perfect time of year to do the hike. Fall colors were out.

hiking
8 months ago

Saturday we went down the North Rim as far as Ribbon Falls and came back up the same way, through Cottonwood Campground and the Manzinita rest stop (17 miles total). Scenery is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS, but it's definitely a tough trail if you're not as experienced. Make sure you're taking in electrolytes when you hydrate, pace yourself accordingly and listen to your body!

hiking
8 months ago

Just finished this trail and loved the views throughout. The stop off to ribbon falls was worth the pain once we got to the phantom lodge for the evening. I look forward to planning the next hike through here.

hiking
9 months ago

Rim to Rim yesterday, September 11, 2017. Started at 1:30a on the North Rim and finished just before 6pm.

Hike down the North Kaibab went fast. Cool temps (40s) made it an easy hike. Temps fluctuated all the way down with hot and cold pockets. Taking a thermal just took up space and weight because I didn't wear it for the vast majority of the hike. Should've left it in the car.

Got to Supai tunnel in about an hour and made it to Cottonwood just before sunrise. Bats came out at dawn but didn't bother us. The stretch from dawn to Phantom Ranch (about three and a half hours) seemed especially long but was a pretty easy trek. (I put away my hiking poles for most of it.)

Sun came out just before Phantom Ranch which warmed things up. Made it to PR around 9:15 and stayed there about thirty minutes. A lemonade and a post card later and we were ready to head out. PRO TIP: Buy a bag of ice and fill your Camelbak/water bottle with it. Another hiker shared some of his with me and it made all the difference during the upcoming hot hike.

Left PR about 9:45 and both the heat and uphill areas began. Long stretches of full sun and intermittent shade sapped my group's energy. High got to only 97, but after 15+ miles, it's a beating. Took water and shade breaks about every 45 minutes until we got to Indian Gardens about 1:45-2:00.

My other companions decided to take a long break here, but I needed to catch a flight and left around 2:30pm. This last stretch is an absolute beating. Cloud cover cooled off the trail, but didn't make it any less steep. Add that to the massive increase in traffic and you've got a slow climb up up up to the top. Took about 45 minutes to reach the 3 Mile rest house and then another 45 to reach the 1.5 mile rest house. The final ascent took about an hour landing me at 15:56 total time. My other two companions made it in just under 19 hours.

An unbelievable hike from top to bottom to top. Rest, hydrate, and refuel whenever you can. Went through 6-8L of water and 4L of electrolyte drink plus two dozen or so energy gels.

A fantastic, beautiful, rugged, unforgiving, unbelievable hike. But train well, come prepared, and just keep moving forward. You'll make it.

backpacking
9 months ago

Probably one of the best experience in our life.

hiking
9 months ago

We hiked this trail in 12 hours in the hottest day of the year at the end of July. The temperature at Phantom ranch is the same as Phoenix and it is even 15 degrees hotter in the 'box'. We left at 3 am hiking down using headlights, We were at Cottonwood Camp by 6 am. When you reach Cottonwood Camp, don't stop, keep going. It's a race between you and the sun. YOU DON'T WANNA BE IN THE BOX FROM 10am-4pm. We were in the Phantom ranch at 9 am and after a short rest we started hiking up. Bring a lot of water and don't risk getting stuck in the box in the middle of the day.
Perfect adventure and a must do. If you are in good shape, just bring water and some snacks and enjoy the perfect views and hike ....

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