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Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Hike

North Rim, Arizona



23.5 miles

Elevation Gain

6800 ft

Route Type



Added by Natalie Ramirez

Hands down, the best way to appreciate the wonder of this vast canyon. Hike down one rim, across the bottom and up the other for a total of 23.5 miles all in one day or over 2-3 days staying at the various campsites along the way. Best is during spring or fall, though we did it in early July and though very hot it was still beautiful.

Park your car at the North Kaibab trailhead parking lot, near the North Rim Campground. Starting at 8241' elevation, hike down 6.9 miles to Cottonwood Campground at 4000' (must have permits in advance to camp here). This first part is beautiful and steep, you may want walking sticks especially if you're backpacking. About 1 mile from Cottonwood Campground is Ribbon Falls, a must see beautiful waterfall at the bottom. There are signs for the .25 mile detour to Ribbon Falls off the main trail. Continue another 6 miles or so to Phantom Ranch. This is a beautiful part of the hike at the bottom of the canyon, known as "The Box", with giant granite walls. Avoid this area in the heat of the day during July-August as temperatures can be above 120 on some days. Once you are at Phantom Ranch, enjoy the old stables and beautiful cottonwood trees, even a cold adult beverage and snacks at the air conditioned lodge. You can camp here or stay at the lodge (with AC but permits required). Campsite is by a nice stream. Last leg is 9.6 miles from Phantom Ranch ascending 6860' up the Bright Angel Trail to the South Rim. You can camp at the South Rim Campsite or stay at the various hotels there. Either take a shuttle back to your car (5 hours and $70 each ticket) or go on this cool forum called Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers Association http://gchba.org/ and find a hiker going in the opposite direction to drive your car back to meet you at the Rim you end up at.

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Grand Canyon: Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim

Ribbon Falls in Grand Canyon NP

Bright Angel Point

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Phantom Ranch to Ribbon Falls via North Kaibab Trail

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