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Ribbon Falls via North Kaibab Trailhead

North Rim, Arizona

based on 2 reviews



17.57 miles

Elevation Gain

4521 ft

Route Type



Added by Jake Young

Hike to a secluded waterfall oasis at Ribbon Falls in Grand Canyon National Park. The falls provide a wonderful juxtaposition to the hot and dry environment of the canyon. 

Although this hike can feasibly done in a day, it is highly recommended that you spend more than one day in this area and visit the falls as a side trip on a larger trip. The closest campsites to Ribbon Falls are Cottonwood Campground and the Bright Angel Campground at Phantom Ranch. 

Ribbon Falls is on the North Kaibab Trail which has a trailhead at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The trailhead is located roughly 1.5 miles from the Grand Canyon Lodge. 

Ribbon Falls is a 8.4 mile hike from the North Kaibab Trailhead and 5.2 miles from Phantom Ranch. The trail loses 4521 feet from the North Rim as you pass the Supai Tunnel, Roaring Springs, Manzanita Rest Area and the Cottonwood Campground. There is seasonally available potable water at each of the previously mentioned areas. 

After passing the Cottonwood Campground, look for a sign pointing to Ribbon Falls. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the falls after leaving the main trail. If approaching from the North Rim, there is a foot bridge that takes you across Bright Angel Creek. If you are approaching from Phantom Ranch, it is possible to take a spur trail that crosses the creek without the use of the bridge. However, this route should not be attempted if there has been a recent rain storm. 

This hike should not be taken lightly. The total mileage of the hike is 16.8 miles with a total elevation change of 9042 feet. If you are hiking or backpacking in the summer, get an early start to avoid the peak heat of the day. Bring a large amount of water and caloric foods to ensure you don't succumb to dehydration or hyponatremia. It is also recommended to constantly soak your clothing to keep cool. 

The Ribbon Falls area is a in a small canyon filled with lush vegetation. This area is an extremely fragile environment so be sure to stay on the designated trails and treat the falls with respect. 

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Ribbon Falls via North Kaibab Trailhead Reviews

Last summer, I did the Ribbon Falls hike in the heart of the Grand Canyon National Park. It is such a great trail. The trail starts at the North Kaibab Trailhead on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The hike to Ribbon Falls is about 8.4 miles from the trailhead or a shorter 5.2 miles if you're coming from Phantom Ranch. The hike is a bit of a challenge, with an elevation change of about 4,521 feet downhill from the North Rim. But don't let that deter you. The trail offers stunning views of the canyon and the creek, making every step worth it. Along the way, you'll find water sources at Supai Tunnel, Roaring Springs, Manzanita Rest Area, and Cottonwood Campground, which offered perfect spots for a quick refill and filtering of water. About 20 minutes after leaving the main trail, you'll see a sign indicating the path to Ribbon Falls. If you're approaching from the North Rim, you'll cross a bridge over the Bright Angel Creek. If you're coming from Phantom Ranch, there's a spur trail that crosses the creek without a bridge, but I wouldn't recommend it after a rainstorm since it can be slippery. When you finally reach Ribbon Falls, you'll be greeted by a secluded waterfall oasis. The falls are a sight to behold, with water cascading down a 140 ft high travertine spire. There are two small pools, one at the base and another about 50 ft above the travertine. If you're brave enough, you can soak your feet in the pools. But be warned, it was pretty chilly when I was there!

I’ve hiked the Grand Canyon twice and on this third time we stopped at this hidden gem and it is so secluded. so far it’s my favorite part of the whole Grand Canyon!!!! The bridge is out, but don’t let that stop you, go under it, around it, or over it, figure it out and get there because it’s worth it!!!! Oh, and don’t forget to go inside a little cave, it doesn’t look like you can but once you go funder the waterfall and inside it’s really neat!

Leave No Trace

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


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