Explore the most popular camping trails near North Rim with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I’m only rating this 5 stars because the view was beautiful and this trail kicked my butt! If you’re an experienced hiker and want a challenge and/or something to prepare for a Rim to Rim hike, this is the one for you! It was LONG but Ribbon Falls was absolutely magical :)

Decent number of bathrooms and water in the summer too!

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.

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.

hiking
30 days ago

The trail is an easy walk through the forest. Prettier than the Uncle Jim Trail with a few more viewpoints, but they are both similar. The trail itself is likely nicer in the summer with a few wildflowers, otherwise it is a form of getting exercise while getting rewarded at the end with a nice overlook. In November, it provides wonderful solitude. I had the trail and viewpoint to myself which I enjoyed. For more details and pics: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/11/13/grand-canyons-north-rim/

hiking
30 days ago

The distance described includes the walking on Ken Patrick Trail to Uncle Jim Trail. The trail travels through a sparse forest with a lot of fallen trees. It isn't that pretty in the fall/winter though you are blessed with solitude. No mules or people. An overlook of the Grand Canyon all to yourself...that part is great (and you can see the North Kaibab Trail that descends into the canyon). I imagine in the summer, the welcome shade and a few wildflowers would make it more appealing, though then you'll be sharing the trail with the masses. For more details: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/11/13/grand-canyons-north-rim/

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.

We hiked rim-river-rim in one day! It was epic, but definitely wouldn’t recommend it for the casual hiker. We arrived to the North Kaibab trailhead about 11:30p, threw out a couple cots in the 27 degree parking lot, and got a few hours sleep. The star gazing was phenomenal, like there were just streams of stars above you! 4am we were up and readied ourselves for the trek. After 20 min warming ourselves in the car, we set out on the trail at about 5am. Made our way to all the awesome checkpoints of the beautiful roaring springs, manzanita ranger station, cottonwood campground, ribbon falls, etc. Made it down to Phantom Ranch at 12p and enjoyed our sled prepared lunch at a picnic table. Everyone along the trail was delightful. Enjoyed a couple hours exploring phantom ranch and the edges of the Colorado, before headed back. Started about 2:30p. Didn’t seem like anyone else was headed our direction, for good reason, long way out and up! Stopped in cottonwood for our again self prepared dinner, chatted with some other experienced folks. Seems like once you camp in the Grand Canyon you can’t help but come back. Saw about a dozen people headed down from the north after sunset. We trudged along the path and climbed out, arriving back to trailhead at 1am. It was epic, sights unreal, and unlike any “quick” hike we’d ever done. Definitely wish we could have spent more time!

An epic journey to celebrate the two year anniversary of my double knee replacement! Two of my kids joined me for this 15 hour adventure which made it even better. I'll definitely do it again, preferrably earlier or later in the season. September is still pretty warm at PR (96F), and broken water lines on the NK added an extra challenge. Best 'audible' we called was to spend more time than planned at Phantom Ranch. Leaving there to head up at 3:00 pm provided welcome shade on the Bright Angel trail. A fabulous inner canyon sunset, mule deer feeding on the trail, and the last 4 miles under the stars were ample rewards for a long day's walk.

We hiked the North Kaibab trail just last week and spent 5 nights in the canyon. I've detailed my entire hike on my blog here!

https://muskytrails.com/trail-logs/north-kaibab-trail-log-grand-canyon-national-park/

Discussing canyon ecology, trout fishing in bright angel creek, and timing hiking between landmarks and campsites in the canyon. A great read if you are preparing for a backcountry hike of the North Kaibab trail yourself.

See you on the trails!

Musky Trails

This was a casual hike compared to the rim ascent/descent. The signs basically say it's a 12 mile RT from Phantom Ranch. We had 3 different GPS watches in our group and they all came in around 18-19 miles round trip. It's a pretty cruise-y trail so there are not a lot of elevation changes, so we were able to maintain a pretty good pace and even then it took us about 6 hours round trip, not including the hour we spent at the falls. 3 mph+ for 6 hours is at least 18 miles RT. Falls were worth it though. Heading north, you come to a sign that says 'Ribbon Falls via Bridge" that points straight/right. It will take you up a decent hill before coming down to the bridge. I guess they purposely steer people that way because you are able to go left at that sign, but there is a water crossing (at least as of 10/21) that required you to take off your shoes or get submerged.

Doable in a single day - it's practical to go back because of transport. I did it in 10.5 hours. It's smart to leave before sunrise. Think about bringing water, not every water source was open when I went.

Anyway, it's a great hike. Going down the canyon is THE thing to do over there. Hiking on the rim isn't the same - you'll get the full experience of the size of the canyon!

Also, if you have to choose south rim vs north rim...I'd vote for south rim because it's closer to the colorado river. You also have more decent choices (hermit, britgth angel, tanner)

Doable in a single day - it's practical to go back because of transport. I did it in 10.5 hours. It's smart to leave before sunrise. Think about bringing water, not every water source was open when I went.

Anyway, it's a great hike. Going down the canyon is THE thing to do over there. Hiking on the rim isn't the same - you'll get the full experience of the size of the canyon!

Also, if you have to choose south rim vs north rim...I'd vote for south rim because it's closer to the colorado river. You also have more decent choices (hermit, britgth angel, tanner)

Great hike. Very doable in a single day if you are fit, however think about starting before sunrise - it's not just for the time, but also for the heat. Everytime, I've reached phantom ranch around 10AM, which is smart.

Transport might be complicated, but otherwise go for it! You can do several days, but you need permits for camping.

Great epic hike. Very VERY doable in a single day - but you have to organize transport, which is annoying. And I'd highly suggest leaving before sunrise.

hiking
1 month ago

There is so much nicer hikes! The distance is "long" for such a view. If you do it because you want the miles, I'm sure you can find a more rewarding hike. There is really mostly just the end that is nice. The trail is very easy. It's probably a nice place for sunrise

Amazing. I wasn’t expecting the vegetation, streams, and overall beauty of the canyon. We did it straight though in 13.5 hours, which included our breaks and lunch at Phantom Ranch.

October 16, 2018

11 hours 45 minutes

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, super easy and quick. A great view at the end and well worth it.

We finished this hike on Oct 13, 2018. We have a group of 5 people from N2S and a group of 3 from S2N. We started from the north kaibab trailhead at 5 am and finished at bright angel trailhead at 5:30pm.
Downhill with a lot of people, a wall of headlights zigzagging, at a beautiful starry sky background. Detoured for ribbon falls, but did not went too close. Meet our friend around 10:30 and did a funny ‘car key exchange ceremony’. Arrived at phantom ranch at 11:10 am and took a 1.5-hour break, including sending postcard with ‘transfer by mule’ stamp. Arrived at Indian garden at 2:30 pm. The final 3 piece of 1.5mi were difficult as we felt really tired. Not very steep with a lot of switchbacks, but seams endless. Our three other friends arrived around 7pm, caught the heavy rain started around 6:30pm T^T. Our opposite direction S2N friends finished their hiking in just 10 hours!
The scenery along the trail were astonishing. Pushing ourselves to the limit was amazing too!

Hiked down North Kaibab trail to Phantom Ranch and up Bright Angel on Oct 7th, 2018. I have hiked the GC before but this was my first time doing Rim to Rim. The entire hike had amazing views!!!The best hike so far! The hardest part is the last 5 plus miles out. I carried too much in my back pack (clothes) fearing rain that was in the forecast. We had hardly any rain leaving a heavy backpack. We had a group of 15 hikers and started in the dark at 5:30am. The first one out was at 1:20pm and the last two out was at 7pm. I got out at 3:20pm. Only stopped twice, once at Phantom Ranch for only 15 min and once at Indian Gardens for 10 min. I think if I rested a little longer and ate more I would have felt better coming out. For most of the hike I felt pretty good, but somewhat worn out for the climb out. I am 53 and plan do do it every year as long as I am able. It is a must do for every serious hiker!!!!

My husband and I started at the North Kaibab trailhead at 7 am on Saturday Sept 30. We felt great the first 18 miles but the last five were brutal. We took about two hours worth of breaks along the trail and ended at Bright Angel Trailhead at 8 pm. I would say it’s essential that you take hiking poles, they honestly saved us. The views are incredible and it’s so interesting to see how the vegetation and rock formations change as you travel through the canyon. It’s rewarding to see how far you’ve come! Incredibly hard but beautiful day.

Definitely worth the extra half mile to check out Ribbon Falls!

I went with my 11 year old son and my 63 year old dad. We stayed at Cottonwood, Bright Angel, and Indian Gardens. The trail was well maintained and wide enough that I never felt it was unsafe for my son. However, bring a filtration system because the pipe line breaks constantly. This was very exhausting for us because we are not in shape but it was do able and would recommend to anyone. We will never forget our trip here. Despite all the blisters and pain we are already planning our next trip via South Kaibab.

Beautiful trail. We started at 0710 and finished at 2215 with a couple of stops to dip in the stream and stare at ribbon falls.

hiking
2 months 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

worth every bit of the pain.

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.

backpacking
3 months 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.

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