Hiking the Grand Canyon via the North Kaibab Trail
January 18, 2012 9:03 AM Subscribe
Questions about hiking the Grand Canyon -specifically the North Kaibab Trail. Can we hike the 14 miles up in one day?
posted by yeti to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total)
My bride-to-be and I are going on trip to the American Southwest including three days and two nights at the Grand Canyon (North Rim). We have a campsite reserved for June 1st at the North Rim and I have my heart set on descending into the canyon to the Colorado River. Unfortunately I don't see much online about doing this specific hike in two days (14 miles down, 14 miles up) - it's mostly people taking leisurely 4 day treks or endurance hikers doing Rim to Rim in a single day. It seems like the south two trails rather than the North Kaibab are more commonly hiked up and down in a two days.
Our Options would be:
Option 1. Day 1 Hike down 14 miles. Stay at Bright Angel overnight. Day 2 Hike up 14 miles. Obviously this is ideal if possible, hence my main question.
Option 2. Hike down 14 miles on Day 1. Spend afternoon at Phantom Ranch, then in the evening Hike up 7 miles to Cottonwood Campground. (Total of 21 miles on one day, mostly downhill). Day 2 Hike up the final 7 steeper miles.
Option 3. Day 0 Skip the night at the North Rim altogether and immediately hike 7 miles to Cottonwood. Day 1 Hike 7 miles to the River and back 7 miles to Cottonwood. Day 2 Hike final 7 miles back to North Rim.
Option 4. Day 1 Hike down 14 miles. Stay at Bright Angel overnight. Day 2 Hike up 9.8 miles to the South Rim by 1:30 PM. Ride shuttle for 4.5 hours (not ideal) back to North Rim car. Then we'd have to drive even more to get to Page that same night.
We are in decent shape. I've run two marathons in the past few years although at the time of the trip I'll be in more half-marathon shape. She runs regularly as well. We hiked the Inca Trail a couple years ago (25 miles in 3.5 days, biggest day was 9.5 miles in a day) and it was more the steep stairs and the 14,000 ft altitude that made that strenuous, and we still finished hours ahead of schedule each day.
Finally, she doesn't like the heat at all, but is tough when it's asked of her. It appears the hottest temperatures (90-100+) are at the easier section between Cottonwood and Bright Angel Campgrounds? Is this at all accurate?
If we bring tons of water, take breaks, and leave early in the morning to avoid the hot temps in the inner canyon, is it fine hiking out the North Kaibab in one day? Or should we plan on one of the other options?