The Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Trail

I love the Grand Canyon. I have been there on two different occasion, but really didn’t get to spend enough time there.  One of the great hikes that I want to complete is the Rim to Rim trail.  I have heard that people actually hike it in one day, but I like Scott Cundy’s take on it better.  We have added one of Scott’s articles on this site before.  Because he can really explain things well, we decided to add the Grand Canyon rim to rim trail article.  Enjoy!

The Crown Jewel of Grand Canyon Hiking – The Rim to Rim Experience

By Scott Cundy

There are ultimately only three ways to experience the inner depths of the Grand Canyon: by raft, by horseback, or by foot. And the only way to go from one rim to the other is on foot, as rafting obviously isn’t going to suffice, and horseback tours only operate from and to the South Rim. The Rim to Rim adventure is one you’ll always remember, and it’s actually only rated as a moderate difficulty hike by Grand Canyon standards. On top of that there are rangers at every campground and plenty of phones along the way if you happened to get into any trouble. All of this combines to make the Rim to Rim a doable, enjoyable, memorable, and adventurous experience you’re likely to never forget!

Most people begin their hike at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which sits at an elevation of 8,000 feet. The descent is approximately 7 miles to Cottonwood Campground, and enroute you have a amazing opportunity of hiking past Roaring Springs. Roaring Springs is a river literally erupting from the canyon wall across from the North Kaibab Trail. Once down to Cottonwood Creek, it’s time for setting up camp, perhaps taking a quick dip in Bright Angel Creek, eating some dinner, and settling down for the evening.

The next morning takes you 8 miles to Bright Angel Campground, which lies at the confluence of Bright Angel Creek and the Colorado River. This is the spot where John Wesley Powell and his team of courageous, and at-the-time starving, men found a welcome respute from the Canyon’s muddy water, steep rock walls, and dry washes. It was at Bright Angel Creek that they found fish, clean water, and shade beneath the cottonwoods that kept them going. And so it is on the Rim to Rim, Bright Angel Creek and campground are a welcome site, as is Phantom Ranch’s “Canteen” where you can purchase cold lemonade, snacks, and even a cold beer.

The next morning it’s off to Indian Garden, which is a 4.5 mile hike up the Bright Angel Trail. After traversing the Colorado River to the west for a mile and a half, you’re going take a sharp left up Pipe Creek. The trail follows Pipe Creek up to the “Devil’s Corkscrew,” which is a wicked series of switchbacks up to the top of a steep, shadeless ridge. From the top of this ridge it’s a short 2 miles to Indian Garden Campground, where a great night of sleep awaits you beneath the ancient cottonwoods that shaded Native Americans here for millenia.

The next morning takes you the final 4.5 miles to the South Rim by continuing up the Bright Angel Trail. It’s relentless and strenuous up the final 2,000 feet but the top ushers in an amazing sense of relief. If you planned well ahead, you’ll have a room waiting for you at the Bright Angel Lodge or El Tovar Hotel. Either way, plan on eating dinner at El Tovar, overlooking the Canyon and the North Rim in the distance as reminders of how much you deserve the steak and beer you’re wolfing down!

For information on guided tours to the Grand Canyon, see the Wildland Trekking Company’s Grand Canyon Hiking Tours.

For information on guided hikes to other destinations, see Wildland Trekking’s list of hiking adventures.

For information on obtaining permits in the Grand Canyon for your own hiking trip, see the park service’s Backcountry Permit Page.

Article Source:—The-Rim-to-Rim-Experience&id=4512700

Scott has impressed me again with another great Grand Canyon article.  Now I really want to complete the rim to rim trail.  His explanations of the trail leave me wanting to pack up and head out.

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One Response to “The Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Trail”

  1. Christina says:

    Thanks for the great article! I can’t wait to check the Grand Canyon rim to rim off my list 🙂