Explore the most popular 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.

One of Arizona’s most beautifully, peaceful hikes for sure. The first four miles are relatively easy, after this point though, the stream fades off as you start the truer gain in elevation through switchbacks in the mountain. I took the West Baldy Trail and came back the same way and my watch clocked in closer to 15 miles RT.

hiking
20 hours ago

We hiked Rim to Rim (N to S) over 2 days the week of July 4th, 2017. In preparation for the trip, the starting point is to get a resv @ phantom ranch (PR) - they have private cabins and dorms (male vs female); we were in the dorm. I think 2018 they started a lottery, so you will need to investigate that. We left our car on the S side of the rim, spent the nite on the rim in a GC Park lodge and then took a shuttle (private shuttle that picked up a group right at one of the lodges on the rim) to the N rim - it’s ~4 hr drive. We spent the nite at the N rim in the only GC park lodge (very rustic cabins, but have bathrooms). And then the morning of our hike, the same shuttle that drove us to the N rim came and picked up the same group for $5 per person and drove us to the trailhead (about 2m from the cabins). He picked us up @ 4:30am and we were on the trail by 5am. Needed headlamps then. Would recommend trekking poles. 14m down N Kabob Trail (took us 7 hours) to PR and then I think 9 m up Bright Angel Trail (took us 9 hours) (this was the killer; constantly stepping up over logged steps.). Going down, the last part before reaching PR is what is called ‘the box’ which is 7 m long. It is the lowest level of canyon rock, is black rock, and the canyon is very narrow in The Box. Heats up with the sun and can be very dangerous. Supposed to get thru it by 11am; which we were not, and knew we wouldn’t be. We got to PR around noon. We then sat on a rock in the river and cooled off. We had reserved dinner at PR (there are a couple of seatings to choose from; would recommend the early seating since you arrive at PR around noon.) We also reserved a packed lunch for the next day (we also bought early bfast, but left around 4:30am before it was served @ 6am; we did this to beat the heat.) We hiked 4th of July week; crazy hot. It’s a great experience, but need to research the trail (can be a little confusing at a couple of points and not a lot of hikers on the trails) and be prepared as people have died on the trail. We passed a couple of girls in their late 20s and one had been sick on the trail and they spent a very cold nite on the floor of a bathroom on the trail. Have to know about water consumption and not to drink too much or it throws your chemicals off and can become sick. Lots of research. When we got to the S rim, we had lunch and our car was right there. It’s absolutely beautiful seeing the sun come up in the GC. We carried very little with us, ea had a hydration pack, large brim sunhat, cooling cloth, electrolytes , snacks, emergency kit, chg of underware /socks, toothbrush, slept in our shorts and sports bras, ... Some people were doing the R2R in one day (not spending the nite) - wouldn’t recommend unless all are in excellent condition.

Beautiful way to experience the Grand Canyon. Spend 2 nights at Phantom Ranch if you can as there are great side trails and a creekside area

Strenuous trail, but absolutely beautiful! Continuously drink water and snack throughout hike. Took about 3 hours to get about 1/2 mile past Indian Garden and 3.5 hours back up to Bright Angel Trailhead on South Rim. I've done this trail 2x and I'm glad I prepared each time by doing lots of cardio. Much better experience the second time...more prepared. Highly recommend walking sticks...helps when your legs are fatigued in order to help get up the trail steps (which can be a bit tall at times). Enjoy!!

This was an amazing hike! Highly recommended!

Great trail. Lots of vertical. Saw lots of wildlife.

backpacking
2 days ago

My wife an I arrived at the the Desert View entrance to the Grand Canyon on September 16 at 7 am. I immediately called the Grand Canyon taxi service, and was promptly met at the Grandview trailhead 30 minutes later. He shuttled us to the Tanner trailhead where we began our journey. The temperature at the rim was in the low 60's, but with each step deeper into the canyon, the heat became more noticeable.

The first five miles were fun, but below the Redwall and 100° heat we entered a virtual frying pan. Only by digging very, very deep into our energy reserves did we reach the river. We camped right next to the river at Tanner Beach so we occasionally caught a cool breeze.

We started each day's hike by 5:30 am, using headlamps for a bit before the dawn light showed us the path. We finished each day around 1 pm. While hiking we never passed up a chance to rest in the shade. We carried a topographical map and Delorme GPS - both of which proved valuable as route finding is not to be treated lightly. Cairns are frequently spotted but in the some places the trail is lost in rocks and scree.

Day 2 was a hot, brutal, beautiful trudge, and for some reason Springsteen's "The Ghost of Tom Joad" became my trekking song. We passed Cardenas Beach and doused our shirts with cold river water and refilled our water bags and bottles. We eventually reached the Escalante Creek beach at the Colorado River, where we enjoyed the most beautiful campsite on this trek.

Day 3 was a blast, as we navigated our way through the labyrinth of 75 mile canyon, then over the 30' high Papago wall, a class 3 scramble. Make sure that you don't go too far up the pitch here as we did! We missed the cairns and struggled to find the trail until we backtracked a bit. Fortunately, we prevailed and eventually found the Papago Slide, which was tricky but fun. 30 minutes of moderate walking took us to Red Canyon and Hance Rapids, where we set up camp in the shade. The temperature never dropped below 90° that night, so sleeping was fairly miserable.

The only people we encountered for 3 days were Colorado River rafters, and we did appreciate that they checked to see how we were doing.

We were especially fortunate to have cloud cover on day 4, as we ascended the Tonto 2500 feet to Horseshoe Mesa. A small stream of cool water provided relief at Hance Creek. Page Spring was also a delight. We were hit by a thunderstorm here - and quickly set up our tent and hunkered down for the night, listening to the rain and rocks sliding down the canyon sides.

On day 5 we made the final push back to the rim under clear skies, mostly in the shadows caused by the cliffs. The temperature dropped into the 60's, which felt like Heaven!

Carol and I were both overcome with emotion as we reached the end of our journey. I think we have earned the right to be called "advanced" backpackers.

I was concerned from reading the reviews. Went down to Phantom Ranch from S Kaibab and back up Bright Angel. My tracker (GPS stopped just prior to reaching the top) indicated trip in 6:50 hours (4,100 calories!)
It is hard but definitely not "brutal". Although I can see how it would be doing it during the summer (I did 9/21/18). To give you an idea, hiking Yosemite's Half-Dome is almost the same distance but that one is much harder. Brought 3 bottles of water and 2 of Gatorade (refilled one water at Indian Garden on the way back up). Left @ 6 am and was back up @ 1:50 pm... Drank every drop of fluid. Beautiful hike!

backpacking
3 days ago

My wife an I arrived at the the Desert View entrance to the Grand Canyon on September 16 at 7 am. I immediately called the Grand Canyon taxi service, and was promptly met at the Grandview trailhead 30 minutes later. He shuttled us to the Tanner trailhead where we began our journey. The temperature at the rim was in the low 60's, but with each step deeper into the canyon, the heat became more noticeable.

The first five miles were fun, but below the Redwall and 100° heat we entered a virtual frying pan. Only by digging very, very deep into our energy reserves did we reach the river. We camped right next to the river at Tanner Beach so we occasionally caught a cool breeze.

We started each day's hike by 5:30 am, using headlamps for a bit before the dawn light showed us the path. We finished each day around 1 pm. While hiking we never passed up a chance to rest in the shade. We carried a topographical map and Delorme GPS - both of which proved valuable as route finding is not to be treated lightly. Cairns are frequently spotted but in the some places the trail is lost in rocks and scree.

Day 2 was a hot, brutal, beautiful trudge, and for some reason Springsteen's "The Ghost of Tom Joad" became my trekking song. We passed Cardenas Beach and doused our shirts with cold river water and refilled our water bags and bottles. We eventually reached the Escalante Creek beach at the Colorado River, where we enjoyed the most beautiful campsite on this trek.

Day 3 was a blast, as we navigated our way through the labyrinth of 75 mile canyon, then over the 30' high Papago wall, a class 3 scramble. Make sure that you don't go too far up the pitch here as we did! We missed the cairns and struggled to find the trail until we backtracked a bit. Fortunately, we prevailed and eventually found the Papago Slide, which was tricky but fun. 30 minutes of moderate walking took us to Red Canyon and Hance Rapids, where we set up camp in the shade. The temperature never dropped below 90° that night, so sleeping was fairly miserable.

The only people we encountered for 3 days were Colorado River rafters, and we did appreciate that they checked to see how we were doing.

We were especially fortunate to have cloud cover on day 4, as we ascended the Tonto 2500 feet to Horseshoe Mesa. A small stream of cool water provided relief at Hance Creek. Page Spring was also a delight. We were hit by a thunderstorm here - and quickly set up our tent and hunkered down for the night, listening to the rain and rocks sliding down the canyon sides.

On day 5 we made the final push back to the rim under clear skies, mostly in the shadows caused by the cliffs. The temperature dropped into the 60's, which felt like Heaven! Carol and I were both overcame with emotion as we reached the end of our journey. I think we have earned the right to be called "advanced" backpackers.

Not the most experienced hikers, so the trek back up was pretty rough. Worth the views. Try to avoid mid-day sun and bring lots of water. You’ll need it on the way back. Beautiful trail, just remember you’ll need to walk all the way back up to the top.....so be cautious not to tire yourself out on the way down!

Great hike. Only made it to the 1.5 mile mark cause I started late afternoon and it was hot. Amazing views the entire hike.

I traveled this trail las July down to phantom Ranch and back up the same way . It’s a difficult climb if your not prepared. Bring a good hat , plenty of water for the trail is dry except for the river water . I’m from Texas so the heat was not so bad for me but others people on the trail was dropping like flys. lol lots of tents set up on the trail the next morning. Beautiful views but come prepared to high step 5000 times !

Did this hike/trail on 9/9/18.

I left the hilltop and parking area just after 7 a.m. and the forecast for the day was in the low 90’s. I never had any issues with heat as the vast majority of the trail was in the shade of the canyons. I know many people leave the hilltop in the very early morning hours, some as early as 3 a.m. or 4 a.m., however, after doing this hike, I personally don’t see a need to leave that early. Even with a headlamp, I think some safety could be compromised given the rocky and uneven terrain if one were doing it in the dark. Made it to the village in just over 3 hours at a pretty decent pace.

A couple of words of advice... I stayed at the Grand Caverns Inn and I would highly recommend getting fuel for your car before driving to the hilltop parking area as the closest gasoline is in Peach Springs (I was driving from Las Vegas so I can’t speak to those coming from the Arizona route. This is important as there is no fuel in the area or on Indian Road 18, and it’s just over 60 miles each way from the highway in so one must plan for 120 or so miles of driving to get in and out.

Also, do heed the warnings about animals in the road and on the highway, particularly at night. I came very close to hitting a large deer during my drive in on the highway just outside of Peach Springs. I also saw horses and mules on the road to the hilltop in both directions.

Some of the food shops in the village close before their posted hours, so plan on getting there early if you’re wanting to try the local, traditional food or get a hot meal.

I stayed at the lodge and it was simple and basic, but I wasn’t expecting anything grandiose. I appreciated having a bed and some a/c when it did get pretty warm in the afternoon.

There is cell signal in the village with the signal being stronger in some areas than others. I found the best reception in areas near or around the lodge. I had two phones, one Verizon and one AT&T and my Verizon phone by far had the best reception. There is also free public WiFi in the village and the signal is best near and around the lodge also. If one is staying in the campgrounds, there really is no signal but if you do have Verizon, you can get signal at the top of Havasupai Falls if needed.

Overall, a great experience! Was incredibly beautiful and I’d love to do it again sometime.

Beautiful on the way down, strenuous hike on the way up. In actuality, it's a total of 10 miles round trip.
Here are some helpful tips:
- don't take your dog unless it's in good shape and you bring it booties for its paws. The trail is VERY rocky and tore up our little girls pads :( we also had to take a lot of breaks for her in the way up. If you do bring your dog, make sure you have a bowl, and plenty of water for cooling body temp and drinking.
-take enough water for the way down. I'd say 2 liters per person. When you get down to sign that says dam (right) springs (left) go right to the dam which will take you to the waterfall. On you're way out, go back toward the spring to fill up your water supply. YOU WILL NEED IT GOING UP. The water bubbles straight from the earth and is the best water I've tasted. It's not that far back... it's off to the right, you'll see it feeding into the springs from underground- very cool!
- start early! It'll take time coming up and you'll want to spend time swimming, etc. We hit the trail at 9am, got to the bottom around 1130 (we had dogs and kids), left at around 1pm and didn't reach the top until 4. But again, took several breaks to water our dogs, kids and selves.
- watch for Rattlesnakes! Stay to the middle of the trail when you can, and be aware. My friend almost got bit, but was able to jump outta the way. Beautiful 2 yr old rattler off to the side sunbathing, but could have been the end to a beautiful day.
- I cannot stress enough- water, water and more water, especially if bringing pets. They get thirsty and their body temps rise quickly. Ensure you keep you're pup alive if bringing. Our 5 yr old barely made it out. Might take her again, but with booties next time.
-kids do ok, they'll slow you down a bit, but as long as they have enough to drink they'll do great and absolutely LOVE swimming under the cave.
Water is cold, refreshing, and perfect in September. Best time of the year to go, in my opinion.
We'll be back!

worth every bit of the pain.

I haven't hiked much and was looking for a challenge. This certainly was a challenge on the way back up. Had to take frequent breaks, but I made it.

Great hike! Lots of trees and babbling brooks. Took the grandkids .. they did great!

Did the whole loop with the spring, absolutely amazing and worth it. All that's written is correct, so take a lot of water (I drank 6.5L, not sure it was enough), bring salty foods and use this fantastic app to help you find the way, as it's not marked at all (if you zoom in on all parts of the trail when you're online, the map will remain clear even when you're offline and the GPS signal is great throughout the trail, so you can see exactly where you are all the time).

Gorgeous trip. Might be obvious to some- but note that this trail starts halfway down Bright Angel, NOT at the rim.
The beach by the river was really nice, lots of fire ants though, so watch out.
The trail crosses a lot of small streams, you might get your feet wet if your shoes are not waterproof. Quite a steep incline through parts of it, others are very flat.
Took us 1.5 hours in and about 1.75 hours on the way back, with a half hour stop for lunch by the river. We were hiking at a very fast pace, chasing the sunlight.
There are places to rest in the shade. It’s worth getting all the way down there!

Hiked in one day on Sept 11. On trail at 3:35 am, make sure you go to Ribbon Falls! Arrived at Phantom noon. 102 in the shade. Took frequent stops to dip shirt, hat & bandanna in Creek. Amazingly refreshing that Bright Angel Creek is near most of the way til PR. Hardest part was from River Resthouse to Indian Garden because of intense heat. We powered through, reached IG at 3:15. Soaked in the Creek, ate more salty crap and trudged on. Passed 3 mile and 1 1/2 mile without stopping. Watched the sunset and asked ourselves WTH is that TH?!? Arrived BA TH at 6:53 with that feeling of accomplishment you get when you train really hard for a year. I wouldn’t change one single thing-if you do this hike in one day: train, train, train.

Fabulous!
Did the hike on 9/12/18
The downhill was a killer on the old knees .gorgeous!

Very challenging hike. Agree with others that there was lots of mule dung, but it didn’t really bother myself or my husband. However, we both grew up near farms in the country. The sand was difficult to hike up. Every aspect of the trail was beautiful. We especially liked the trail past the bridge because it was cliff side hiking which made it even more fun. The spring was a trickle and the restrooms were closed which was unfortunate. We both loved all parts of this trail. Wish we could have went further and camped.

I loved every moment of the trip. People were amazing and helpful, we started to hike around 0430 hours reached there at 1030 hours. It won’t take long if you have a day pack. But it’s not a place for day hike, you have to carry tents and all other gears to stay there. There are mule carriers that you can use to get your luggage transported to campgrounds. Beautiful places, water feels soothing, of course after that long hike you need it. Overall my experience was really awesome. Try to start as early possible in both ways to avoid heat.

hiking
14 days ago

Beautiful hike! You go down, down, down and more down to the waterfall which was hard on my hips. Also meant you will be going up, up, UP all the way back!! Like everyone else said bring LOTS of water and save most for the way out. I filled my hydro at the waterfall. The water is crystal clear, cold and moving quickly so its fine. I'm still alive after drinking! I wet a towel there and wrapped on my neck for the way back. That helped a lot. I wouldn't recommend kids or dogs going, but they could do it if in good condition. We left our kids and dog home and were very happy we did so. Its very very rocky so you have to be constantly looking down so you dont trip. The group I was with are all in very good shape. We gym several times a week and hike a lot and the next day we could hardly move! The way out seems like never ending and gets tough with all the rocks. Take your time. Get there early and bring lots of water and snacks. You won't regret it!
There is a ranger there checking permits, so make sure you have one and its for the correct lot.

backpacking
15 days ago

This is an honest wilderness trail. GCNP only allows 1 group in this zone at a time, so you have a canyon full of steep descents, bushwhacking, routefinding, complex geology, and intermittent water all to yourself. As the GCNP trail description puts it, "this is the quintessential Grand Canyon trail."

Trails are rough. The first descent is clean trail, but the sections which follow the creeks are thick with brush and easy to lose within the wash. You will get cut up and whacked in the face. Rocks can/will slide and dislodge. If possible, bring pruners/loppers to trim some of the plants obscuring the trail.

Recommend starting early, because the first couple miles descend along the west-facing side of the canyon. The Redwall descent (4.5mi in) is probably the toughest section of the trail. Steep switchbacks down rocky debris drop 650ft over about a half mile. Poles were a lifesaver for this descent/climb.

About a mile or so downstream, a bedrock stream gives way to a north-facing wall directly below Emerald Point to the east. This is a great spot for a midday siesta, and is the last water available until Shinumo Creek.

Past this point, the trail follows White Creek (look out for cairns) until jumping up onto the lower plateau to the west. this section is dry and fully exposed, and recommended for late afternoon where canyon shadows and afternoon cloud cover can work to your advantage. A final major descent is required down the shale before reaching Shimino creek, but is doable.

After reaching Shimuno, the trail criss-crosses the creek until reaching Shimuno camp, which hosts a display of old mining tools on the southeastern bank. Past this point, there are two routes to the Colorado: one which follows/intersects the creek and one which ascends a small ridgeline to the south, offering a big view of the Colorado and base of the canyon.

FUCK THAT ASCENT, it sucked and absolutely destroyed our momentum and morale. I would recommend NOT climbing 600ft at the end of the hike and say you should just try to follow the creek to the river along the bank or just strapping on some sandals and just wading down.

Completed the hike in 2 nights:
on-trail at Swamp Point by 8:00a, siesta 11:30a-2:30p, Colorado River by 7:00p.
Left Shinumo camp @ 3:40a, siesta 11:00a-3:30p, camped 3.5mi below Swamp point 5:30p. Hiked out the following morning with no issue.

This is a tough hike which will exhaust and drain all but the most dedicated to the wilderness experience.

Everything I wanted. We went early afternoon and it was way too hot but cooled down perfectly once the sun went behind the hills. So go either early morning or mid afternoon. It is gorgeous and fun climbing around on the top.

hiking
15 days ago

Great trail for an easy trek to see some mountains. Not much to explore once you’re at the end but it’s a very pleasant trail. Shady about half the time. Wonderful sounds of winds and curves.

16 days ago

Nice, moderate 3+ Mike hike which loops around Thunderbird Mountain between 55th Ave and 59th Ave on Pinnacle Peak Road. Better to park on 55th Ave as there is more parking space, and just cross the road near the signal, which immediately takes you to Cholla Loop.

Long hike, started at 0400 there and 0200 on the way back to beat the heat. The falls were magnificent, each site with its own personality. Loved every second of it!!

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