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North Kaibab Trail Professional Review and Guide
"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."
--Ben Adkison, Hiking Grand Canyon National Park (Falcon Guides).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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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