Hiking Grand Canyon National Park
by Ben Adkison (Falcon Guides)
© 2016 Ben Adkison/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
I completed this trail on the backend of a solo trip to the bottom of the canyon and back up. I used ths S. Kaibab Trail down, stayed at Bright Angel Campground for a night and hiked back out the Bright Angel trail the next day.
I concur that the hike from the canyon floor is enjoyable up past Indian Gardens (which is a beautiful area by the way)...but about 1 mile up from Indian Gardens the elevation gain really begins to take its toll (at least it did for me). Despite this - and the increased tourist traffic in the last 3 miles (or first 3 miles) depending upon your perspective - it is a legendary trail that every outdoor loving person should do in their life.
Once you backpack past Indian Gardens, the crowd thins significantly and the hike is spectacular. This is a one day backpack to Bright Angel Campground. Planning on backpacking again in 2012. One must wear good hiking boots and fill up your water at Indian Gardens. Don't solo the GC cause 4 to 5 unprepared die in the CG each year.
Two day rim to rim hike with one night in Bright Angel Campground sounds almost boring but it was everything but...Got our permit as walk ins the day before, reserved our bagged lunches, and dinner at Phantom Ranch, and since we didn't care for being human mules, we had our camping stuff shuttled from the North Rim to the South Rim, where it got delivered to the Phantom Ranch Duffle service. (we also had our car driven to the South Rim by a responsible person from Jacob's Lake Inn). So, all we had to worry about on our backs was food and water for the trip. Getting an early start (6am)allowed us to stay cool for couple of hours before the midday heat. We skipped both waterfalls, as we were determined not to be stuck in The Box in the worst heat of the day - forecast called for 105 F! Eazy breaze made it possible for us to move fast, and we were eating lunch at Phantom Ranch by 1PM. Despite the soaring temperatures, Bright Angel Creek stayed cool around 45 degrees, so that's were we spent most of the afternoon. Next day, early start again (even though we were the last campers to leave around 6 am), we made the easy ascend throught the Devil's Corkscrew to Indian Garden in about 3 hrs. The last leg is always the hardest - almost 3000 feet in elevation change on about 4 miles. As if the heat, the elevatation and the mileage wasn't enough, the "turist hikers" heading down are in your way on every step. However, we still made it out of the canyon by 2PM with plenty of time to admire the views on the way out.
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