North Kaibab Trail

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona 86023

Distance14.1mi
Elevation Gain14,805ft
Trailhead Elevation8,232ft
Top8,232ft
Elevation Min/Max2445/8232ft
Elevation Start/End8232/8232ft

North Kaibab Trail

North Kaibab Trail is a hiking trail in Coconino County, Arizona. It is within Grand Canyon National Park. It is 14.1 miles long and begins at 8,232 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 29.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 14,805 feet. Near the trailhead there is also a parking. The Bright Angel Campground and Cottonwood Campground camp sites can be seen along the trail. There are also drinking waters, restroom, and a ranger station along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Bright Angel Suspension Bridge, South Kaibab Trail, Clear Creek Trail and Phantom Ranch Village Trail.

North Kaibab Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This is a strenuous but rewarding backpack to the very bottom of the Grand Canyon. Roaring Springs, as the name suggests, can be heard long before it is seen. Water gushes out of a cave in the Redwall limestone and cascades down to Bright Angel Creek. Water from the springs is pumped to both the North and South Rims to serve tourists and residents.

About 2.1 miles down the creek is Cottonwood Campground, which is good destination for first-time canyon hikers. Fremont cottonwood, box elder, pale hoptree, Knowlton hop hornbeam, and coyote willow line the creek banks. American dippers may be seen doing their kneebends on boulders in the stream or "flying" underwater in search of aquatic invertebrates to eat."

"Although they are separated by only 10 air miles, the South Rim and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon are worlds apart. Only 10 percent of the millions of people who visit the park each year ever make it to the remote North Rim. For hikers that means a less crowded alternative to the popular Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails.

Beginning at the North Rim, the North Kaibab Trail provides a longer, but in many ways more interesting, avenue to the canyon bottom. Starting out among tall stands of Douglas fir, Engelmann spruce, ponderosa pine, and aspen, the North Kaibab Trail begins descending almost immediately into the upper end of Roaring Springs Canyon."

"This is one of the easier backpacks in the Grand Canyon but still not to be taken lightly. This is the backpack trip that many first-timers to the Grand Canyon give a try. Most go down the South Kaibab because it is steeper than the Bright Angel. This hike can be done as an overnight, but you will have more time to look around (and rest those sore muscles) if you make it a three-day trip.

This is the backpack trip that many first-timers to the Grand Canyon give a try. Most go down the South Kaibab because it is steeper than the Bright Angel. This hike can be done as an overnight, but you will have more time to look around (and rest those sore muscles) if you make it a three-day trip."

"The North Rim of the Grand Canyon forms an alluring backdrop to vistas from the South Rim. Its fringe of tall conifers holds the promise of a cool refuge from desert heat and solitude in a wilderness setting. The North Rim has an atmosphere of great remoteness and unspoiled grandeur. It is this remoteness that makes it such a special place.

The North Kaibab Trail is the North Rim’s only maintained trail, lying within the frequently patrolled Corridor Zone of the park. Unlike many of the Grand Canyon’s trails that follow the path of least resistance in search of breaks in the cliff bands, this straightforward trail forges its way through the canyon’s obstructions."

North Kaibab Trail Reviews

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5/1/2013
Great adventure. Plan ahead and take your time to do some side hikes before getting to Phantom Ranch. Best times to hike are May, early June and fall (less heat).
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6/10/2010
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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5/30/2010
We decided to do a rim to rim day hike, which turned out to be pretty excellent. Left on the N. Kaibab at 5.30 am, it was chilly for the first hour, than lovely all the way down. We made pretty good time on the way to the river (probably too fast, because I was pretty sore afterwards and I do a lot of hiking) but we got to the river in time for lunch. We chilled out in shade and soaked our feet for awhile, then headed up on the S. Kaibab trail, which was a little shorter and less crowded, but we had to carry enough water for the whole trip. Views got bigger and bigger the whole way up. Finished around 5.30, tired, sore, and very pleased with ourselves.
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6/1/2009
We were not prepared for a long hike, so enjoyed a half day on the North Kaibab. About 1.5 hours down and 2.5 back up. The views of the Grand Canyon from here are beautiful and the trail was in good shape. Met one mounted hike bunch coming out. But this trail doesn't get nearly as much traffic as Bright Angel Trail so is in better condition.
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5/28/2009
We had just completed a 3 day trip to Phantom Ranch from the South Rim and loved it. We decided to to a North Rim to South Rim hike in a day. We did it in 11 hours.
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9/15/2008
Just did a rim-to-rim. An amazing trip, and I'll do it again next year. Note that the 27-mile distance isn't from the North Rim to the River. It's from the North Rim to the South Rim. A great four-day trek.
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8/30/2008
Excellent hike....A friend and I did this trail as part of a 2-day rim-to-rim hike, staying the night at Phantom Ranch. First of all, let me say that we were lucky with the weather...starting sunny in the morning but clouding over and eventually raining heavily. For the end of August, that was a godsend. I would also like to say that a single-day hike from the North Rim to Phantom Ranch is very possible...I couldn't find much written about that, most people seem to stay at Cottonwood Campground. However, if you prefer not to pack camping equipment and hike lighter, reserve ahead at Phantom Ranch and it's definitely doable. We had a brief stop at Supai Tunnel to remove a layer of clothing (and enjoy the great views), then again at the Pumphouse...we skipped Roaring Springs as we wanted more time at Ribbon Falls, later in the hike. Ribbon Falls was wonderful and we were the only persons there. After that, it began to rain, very heavily when we got into the Box, but we took a chance and waited under a broad rock ledge....hoping that there was no flash flood but frankly we were so far in the box I don't think we could have done otherwise. The hike took us 8.5 hours, from 6am at the trailhead, until 2:30pm at Phantom Ranch, including about 15 minutes at Supai Tunnel, 15 minutes at the Pumphouse, 45 minutes at Ribbon Falls, and 30 minutes under the rock ledge in the rain. A fantastic hike with incredible views....do it!
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8/16/2008
This was a family trip. Our kids were 11 and 12 yrs old. We were 51 and I was 30lbs over weight. I still managed it. We hired the mule service to carry part of the camping load to Phantom Ranch to make the hike down South Kaibab easier. My husband and kids enjoyed every minute. The views were so amazing. But we started a bit late (7A) and took too many scenic breaks. By the end I had problem. I drank lots of water but not enough electrolytes. Since I was out of shape the hike caught up to me. The rangers were AMAZING. One of them talked to me for 1/2 hour as I begged for a mule ride out. The answer was NO - with a calm "you can do it" speech. He was right by morning and 1/2 gallon of Gatorade later I was better. We had our full gear for the hike via Bright Angel up to Indian Garden for our 2nd night . This trail was not as scenic but it provided wonderful shade and a brook to wet down in occasionally. I wish we had done the flat hike from Indain Garden out to Plateau Point. NEXT TIME!
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10/17/2007
North Kiabab is Spectacular!!! A Wonderful, Fast moving trail that is clean, well mainatained and the narrow canyon towards the bottom was spectacular!!! A friend and I did this trail (10/10/07) as part of a one day rim to rim hike. We came down the North Kaibab to Phantom Ranch, over the Silver bridge, and up the Bright Angel Trail. 12 hours exactly. North Kaibab is in beautiful shape, clean, well maintained and spectacular. We started at 4:30 am and had complete darkness till almost 5:45. Seeing sunrise from the Bright Angel Canyon will be remembered forever. Bright Angel Trail is really not in very good shape, the mules have beaten all hell out of it. A hiker must slow down to go over the logs that prevent erosion because the mules step between them and rut them up something fierce. It has tons of loose rocks and debris in comparision to North Kaibab. The total Rim to Rim the way we completed it was right around 23 miles, but the last 3 miles from 3 mile house was mean. Certainly the hardest 3 miles of my life, with altitude increasing and energy waning it was best to just keep moving my feet.
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5/16/2007
My husband and I hiked down this trail as part of a rim to rim hike. It was very steep, but very beautiful. We both suffered "canyon toe" by the time we reached bottom. (Get you some dancer's gel toe cups to prevent this, wish we had known about them beforehand._ By leaving early, we stayed in shade most of the way to Cottonwood campground. We really enjoyed stopping and resting at the pump keepers house. There is a table, shade and drinking water available there. It is a very refreshing and pleasant place to take a break. This trail was in much better shape than the Bright Angel. Cottonwood campground should be renamed Death Valley campground. Very little shade and the creek is not easily accessed from the campsites. It was very hot and unhosptiable. Most of our fellow campers were in agreement as well. I would not plan to camp here again. The rest of the trail from Cottonwood to Phantom Ranch was very good and enjoyable. We enjoyed the proximity to the creek and all of the footbridges to cross. Ribbon Falls, which is a short side hike, was very beautiful. Another refreshing place to hang out. Hopefully, Bright Angel Trail will be restored to be in this condition someday.
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Trail Information

Grand Canyon National Park
Nearby City
Grand Canyon National Park
Parks
Difficult
Skill Level
Grand Canyon National Park
Local Contacts
USGS Bright Angel Point, Phantom Ranch
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018