Explore the best backpacking trails in Arizona with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I would rate this as difficult just because of the climb back up to the rim in hot weather. Great trail; took us a bit to find the water at Roaring Springs, someone yelled at us and we turned a hard right and walked further down to the bathroom area.

backpacking
1 day ago

backpacking
1 day ago

Most amazing experience ! Great trails. We went in May and got snow blizzard, rain, wind , hail and extreme heat. Trails can get slippery. Watch out for rabid squirrels. We stayed in phantom ranch for 2 amazing nights. Can't wait to do this hike again!

Such a beautiful way to see the Grand Canyon! Very special to be IN it instead of just observing from above. In my opinion, downhill can be the hardest, since there is so much control required, so it's nice to get that out of the way first. But man is the uphill a killer! Bring PLENTY of water, and snacks for a nice lunch break at one of the outlooks.

Views are good but there was way too much Mule poop everywhere to enjoy the hike! Maybe we went immediately right after the mule tour since there were a lot of steamy surprises

Grueling but worth every vista. First day down South Kaibab there is no shade after you leave the shadow of the Canyon at the start of the trip. Getting to Bright Angel Campground was dope tho cause they had a large cold creek that you could lay in and play about. Get there early to find a spot in the shade right on the creek. Second day hike you start the uphill battle to Indian Garden Campgrounds. Plenty of shade there, lots of Mule Deer and lizards. Creek is small but if you get there early enough you can cut out a private little spot for yourself. Last day on Bright Angel is gonna be tough, the elevation change is significant and you'll pass all these chipper hikers coming down saying hi. start your hikes before sunrise each morning to beat out the excruciating summer weather.

I would recommend this trail to anyone! Best time to go is May or October. A permit is needed since it is on a reservation. The permits can be purchased Jan/Feb of each year. A limited amount of permits are sold each year and most are taken by guided outfits. The waterfalls were amazing and refreshing after a 11 mile hike in, passing 50ft Falls then camping at Havasupai Falls. Once you set up camp you can go further down to Mooney Falls and Beaver Creek Falls.

Amazing trail with an amazing view at the plateau in the bottom ;)

This is one of the best hike I have ever done. We did this on 7/14 and 7/15. The temperature was around 106 and the creek was helpful. The Phantom Ranch was fun and the BEER. (Though it was budweiser, but it was the best beer ;))

We started back our hike at 1:40 am in the morning and we were at the top by 10:00. The last 2-2.5 hours was difficult because of the sun and the elevation gain. But this is a must do hike to check if off the bucket list.

We hiked 1.5 miles down to the restroom and then back up. Easy going down, challenging coming up. Very busy trail and at times had to hike at the pace of the people in front of us because we couldn't always get around them.

Spent 3 days and 2 nights on this trail in early June and had a great time. There is an awesome swimming hole a little over a mile in. As other posts have said, the creek crossings can be a bit hard to navigate but stacks of rocks act as trail markers and help a lot. The weather was great and there is lots of shade. The first mile and half is pretty easy hiking apart from the initial decent into the canyon but the last two miles are considerably more challenging. Went through about 4L of water per day so at this time of year bring PLENTY of water.

Definitely the hardest hike I have done so far. We
Went down south kaibab trail and came up in bright angel trail due to water accessibility. Had to stop and camp at cottonwood as we were tired. A lot of people we spoke with actually did that. Good shoes, water, sunscreen and snacks should get you through the 14 miles with no problem

backpacking
7 days ago

A strenuous hike that takes you from the top of the Navajo Sandstone stratum down into Tsegi Canyon where you walk 8.5 miles to the best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings in Arizona.

This was my first-ever overnight backpacking experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better trail to do it on. Little, if any wayfinding was necessary as you simply follow the white posts the whole way there, which is as simple as keeping your feet on the trail and following the canyon upstream. The feeling of isolation was just right: you’re so far off the grid yet 20 people a day are allowed to hike. The natural environment was fascinating, especially getting to see up-close and personal the erosion of the Navajo sandstone as well as mindblowing populations of cryptobiotic soil crusts literally holding the dirt together in this tough environment. Not much wildlife apart from a pack or two of escaped/feral horses, which don’t seem to mind the humans in the canyon (apart from pooping everywhere).

The ruins themselves are stellar: very well-preserved and/or restored in some sections, with potsherds literally everywhere you step, large collections of dried-up corncobs, and in many cases the original woven rooftops made from sticks and reeds. Feels very spooky to be wandering around a place that looks like it was just abandoned yesterday, very similar to the Upper Cliff Dwellings on Tonto National Monument. You have to climb up a 70-rung (ish) ladder that leans against the rockface, so if you have any fear of heights please keep in mind that this may be a little intense. Heights don’t bother me much but I found my adrenaline pumping and was a little shaky when I got up/down…but it’s a very secure ladder so no need to worry.

At both the ruins and the campground there are composting toilets and anti-critter backpack bins, so there’s a little bit of creature comfort (ahem) out here in the wilderness. Campgrounds were clean and pleasant, although because of all the moisture (and horse poop in the canyon) there were a lot of bugs so spray your bug spray generously. Very tranquil setting, kind of like an oasis in the desert with the lush trees and grasses.

For the actual hike itself, I recommend bringing traditional hiking boots for the mountain descent/ascent and then whatever you prefer for the stream crossings: my backpacking buddies used hiking sandals but I used some old Converses that drained fast and had little fabric/cushion to get soaked.

Bring NO LESS THAN 8 liters of water, either by getting one of those plastic/fabric Dromedary bags from MSR (mine holds 6 liters) or by carrying along a few 1.5-liter water bottles from Nalgene (or Smart Water). The creek is 100% contaminated due to the cattle and horses that poop with abandon, plus there may or may not be trace uranium floating about, who knows.

Don’t worry about fashion; wear a wide-brimmed or floppy hat to protect your face/neck from the sun, and reapply sunscreen every two hours and you’ll be fine.

I did this hike in early June during high summer for Arizona, so the creek was very low (crossings were barely ankle-deep at the highest) and weather was highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s with strong breezes, so a very pleasant hiking experience. I can imagine once monsoon season hits (during July and August) this hike could be very scary given the risk of flash floods and hiker water levels.

Highly recommend this hike as one of the most isolated, most exclusive destinations in the National Park system!!!