Below you’ll find some answers to questions I am often asked. You can also find a more in-depth page of FAQs on Grand Canyon National Park’s Backcountry Hiking Frequently Asked Questions page.
Are campfires or cooking fires allowed anywhere in the inner canyon?
- No fires are allowed anywhere at all below the rim. Stoves must be used for cooking. On the rim, wood and charcoal fires permitted in provided campsite grills only. No gathering of down wood, wood may be purchased at the general store.
Can someone carry my pack for me?
- Xanterra offers a “mule duffel” service to/from the South Rim and Phantom Ranch. Find out more about this service on my page, Pack Hauling/Duffel Service. There is no service available from the North Rim.
- You may be able to find someone willing to do it for a fee by going on the Yahoo Email Group site and asking!
I am going to hike from the North Rim to the South Rim. Can I leave my vehicle on the South Rim and get transportation to the North Rim?
- A shuttle service is provided seasonally between the between the North and South Rims for a fee by Trans Canyon Shuttle (a park permittee).
- One trip each way daily. Call (928) 638-2820. Scheduled service available until Oct. 15. Charter service available until Oct. 31.
- Reservations required. Departs North Rim 7:00 a.m.; Arrives South Rim noon; departs South Rim 1:30 p.m.; arrives North Rim 6:30 p.m.
- Current prices on Trans Canyon Shuttle website.
I will be hiking north to south rim in September. How far a walk is it from the hotel on the north rim to the trailhead? Does the hotel offer shuttle service?
- It is three miles from the lodge to the North Kaibab Trailhead. A hiker shuttle to the North Kaibab trailhead is available 5:20 a.m. and 7:20 a.m. daily.
- Purchase tickets at Grand Canyon Lodge front desk. Pick-up point is in front of the lodge. Contact Lodge for current price information.
- If you are staying at the Lodge, they offer this service as a complimentary service. Check in the with the desk the night before to make arrangements.
I am planning a trip to hike to the river and back this Memorial Day weekend. I have a few questions that I’m wondering if you can help with. My intention is to hike down the South Kaibab. I have reservations at Phantom Ranch. And hike back up Bright Angel. My questions are:
- Is the South Kaibab trail on the way down appropriate for a moderately skilled hiker? I am a person who exercises regularly and hikes several times a year – moderate hikes of approx. 5 miles.
- Is a backcountry permit needed to hike the maintained trails with reservations at the Ranch?
- What is recommended dress for this time of year?
- Do you have suggested hiking trails while at the river (plan on a late afternoon hike after arriving at Phantom Ranch)?
- The South Kaibab is my favorite trail for hiking down. It is a bit steeper but then it is also two miles shorter than the Bright Angel. No matter what, your leg muscles will probably be quivering by the time you hit the last switchbacks near the bottom, but if you use two hiking sticks, your fatigue will be greatly minimized. Get an early start, and I do mean early. It could be getting close to 100 degrees during the daytime around Memorial Day. If there is any moonlight, I would recommend getting a start before dawn. I cannot stress this enough!!!! The heat will be your worst enemy and can exhaust you even more than the actual hike. And DO TRAIN to prepare for this hike; don’t wait until the week before to start an exercise program. Check out my Training & Physical Fitness page to view some ideas to properly prepare for this strenuous activity.
- A permit is not required for hiking, only for camping in the backcountry campsites.
- Recommended wear is SUNSCREEN and lots of it! A long sleeve white or light-colored cotton or lightweight Supplex-type shirt is best for keeping the sun off of you. Cotton is actually good this time of year since it stays wetter longer and wet is good in the summertime. In fact, many of us will pack an extra wet t-shirt in a Ziploc bag to put on in the middle of the hike to cool us off. Carry plenty of water and drink it. Wear a large brim hat that you can wet down as well. Wearing a wet bandana around your neck is also very effective at keeping you cool.
- For this hot time of year, I would recommend that you stick to day hikes near water. Hiking up the North Kaibab Trail is a wonderful choice since it follows Bright Angel Creek. I recommend spending a lot of time in the creek to keep yourself cool. Watch for pools that have been dammed by fellow hikers that allow you to submerge yourself. Fun stuff!!! A great sunset hike is the 1.5-mile loop where you walk across the Black Bridge along the South Kaibab Trail and then follow the River Trail to the Silver Bridge on the Bright Angel Trail. The views are spectacular! Check out my Phantom Ranch/Bright Angel Day Hikes page for more detailed descriptions and maps.