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Alpinejo.tripod.com: Backcountry Trails Guide
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Arizona Backcountry Trails

Bridge near Bright Angel campground


Grand Canyon

A view of the Grand Canyon at sunrise

Definition of terms below
Location: Grand Canyon National Park
Directions: Head on over to Arizona. Find a good spot in the campground and do some of the touristy things. Stop by the general store, it has everything you will need if you forget something at home.
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation +/-  +2300 Feet (- 600 feet out)
Distance: 10+ Miles Roundtrip
Rating: 8 out of 10
Fishing: We did not even try when we were down there in March due to the dark brown color of the river at Phantom Ranch.
Scenery: Amazing views.
Map: Printable Topo Map


The Grand Canyon is well worth a weekend visit. 

On our trip, in March, we encountered blazing hot sun, rain and on our third day we even hiked in a white out that dumped 3 inches of snow. We hiked the south Kiabab Trail down to Phantom Ranch and spent the night in the campground. Then we hiked up to Indian Gardens and endured a wind/rain/snow storm. 

Contrary to what we planned- I would suggest mailing in and getting reservations before you go, you must a reservation in a campground to stay there. 

We arrived at the park in the afternoon, enjoyed the scenery and the 'great' general store and we located the hiking reservation center. The next morning we got up at the crack of dawn to get in line to try to get a hiking permit--no luck they ran out of permits a good 3 parties before us. So instead of hanging around the park to wait for the next morning, we jumped into the truck and headed down for a day at Baseball Spring Training, Mariners vs Angels. The next morning we did get our permit.

Day one hiking : We we caught the first bus of the morning, it had been blazing hot the last couple of days. The trail heads steadily down, down and down. We set out early enough to where we had the trail almost all to ourselves. We did meet a couple that were planning on going down to Phantom Ranch and back out the same day--I hope they made it they were in tough shape on there way down alone. We got to the Bright Angel campground and picked out our spot, then we played a bit of frisbee in the Colorado river. Believe or not there is running water and flush toilets.

Day two hiking: We headed to Indian Gardens campground. It was a pretty easy hike that day. We were the first ones here so we picked a great camp spot out of the valley, near the bathrooms. A wind/rain/snow storm came in that night a took one groups tent and put it up in a tree, the craziest thing I think I have ever seen--we heard some screaming below us and we watched a medium sized dome tent fly up into the air like a kite. Also with all the rain we received this day most of the people who camped in the valley had there tents flooded.

Day three hiking: After a miserable windstorm we awoke to a dusting of snow. it was so beautiful but that beauty soon faded when you waked out of the canyon in 5 inches of slush. This days hike was no walk in the park it is strenuous anyway then with the biting cold. But hey we were in the Grand canyon and there are so many things to look at I soon forgot about the hiking part of it.

One small note: take plenty of water, some sunscreen and allow as many days as possible in the canyon-there are numerous side trips to take and the views are well worth soaking in for hours of relaxation. 

 Do it again? Yes, probably a south rim to the north rim route. When we went there was about 5 feet of snow at the North Rim.

Other Links:
Kaibab.org - great info on hiking the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon Trails

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