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Rim To Rim Grand Canyon Hike Guide

Rim to Rim Grand Canyon Hike Guide

In This Guide
  • How to Plan Your Rim-to-Rim Hike
  • Training & Mental Preparation
  • Video & Turn-by-Turn Directions
  • South-to-North and North-to-South Directions
Total Distance (?)21 miles (33.8 km)
Other Options 23.5 for North to South
Hike Time9-14 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Very Hard
Total Ascent (?)6,200 feet (1890m)
Highest Elevation8,297 feet (2529m)
Fees & PermitsPark Entry Fee
Dogs AllowedNo
Alerts & Closures (?)Grand Canyon National Park
Park Phone928-638-7888
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The rim-to-rim hike in the Grand Canyon is iconic, spectacular, and challenging. Over my years of hiking the rim-to-rim, I’ve seen people of all shapes and sizes hike across the Grand Canyon, and in this guide, I’m going to give you all the information you need to know so that you can hike it too. Your journey will start months before stepping foot on the trail, as planning is critical for this popular bucket list hike. And then, armed with the correct information and preparation, you’ll know what to expect as you leave 99.9% of the other Grand Canyon visitors behind and hit the trail to cross one of the seven wonders of the world. And in case you’re wondering, although you’ll be exhausted at the end, the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the end is unparalleled.

Want to experience a hike into the Grand Canyon without doing something as strenuous as the rim-to-rim? Check out my Grand Canyon hikes page for options into the Canyon as short as 1.8 miles.

What is the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim?

Although there are many ways to hike from rim-to-rim in the Grand Canyon, a “rim-to-rim” hike generally means hiking from the south to north rim, or the north to south rim.  The hike can be done in a day, or spread over a few days that include camping or lodging. Often it’s done one-way, with hikers taking a pre-booked shuttle bus back to the side where they started.

Rim To Rim Route Overviews
Here is an overview of the two most popular rim-to-rim routes. Although you can technically do a rim-to-rim using other trails, these are the most hiked options. Both routes follow what the National Parks Service calls “corridor trails” which are well maintained, follow standards (steep but not crazy steep), and generally have water and toilets available along the route.

Map locations: South Kaibab TrailheadNorth Kaibab TrailheadBright Angel Trailhead

Rim-to-Rim Route Comparison

South to North North to South
21 miles24 miles
6400 feet total ascent5150 feet total ascent
8-12 hours9-14 hours
South Kaibab to North Kaibab Trails North Kaibab to Bright Angel Trails
Limited lodging at endMany lodging options at end
Less Crowds More Crowds (at end)
Limited facilities at endMany facilities at end
No water first 7 milesWater on whole route

Grand Canyon North and South Rim Comparison

Crowds South Rim R2r
The South Rim is the busy part of the Grand Canyon, with easy access by car, bus, and plane. For the rim-to-rim hiker, that means it’s easier to score accommodation and transportation on the South Rim. The North Rim, only open for 6 months a year, gets only about 15% of the South Rim visitors. Photo NPS

The South and North Rims are only 10 miles apart in a straight line, but to drive between them is 4 hours.

South RimNorth Rim
Main tourist attractionMore remote destination
Very crowded Not crowded
Lots of faciliites and lodging Limited facilities and lodging
Open year roundOpen May-October
Occasional snow Snowed in for winter
Elevation of 6800 feet Elevation of 8297 feet
Closest airport is Flagstaff – 1.5 hours Closest airport is St George – 3 hours

Recommended First Time Rim-to-Rim Route

Whether you’re backpacking or doing the rim-to-rim as a day hike, I highly recommend doing your first rim-to-rim from south to north on the South Kaibab to North Kaibab trails. Here’s why:

Why not Bright Angel to North Kaibab? You can certainly do the South to North hike this way, and plenty of people do. It’s nice because you can park at the trailhead and start your hike. However the South Kaibab option is definitely more popular because of its beauty and shorter distance.

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Itineraries

Phantom Ranch Cabins
The holy grail of itineraries is to do the rim-to-rim in two days, with an overnight stop at the Phantom Ranch Lodge at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. You can stay in dorms or private cabins like these.

There are multiple ways that you can plan out your rim-to-rim hike, and the main question you need to ask is whether you want to do it as a multi-day trip, or as a day hike. While you might have thought the toughest thing about this hike is the distance and climbing, it’s not. It’s actually booking your accommodation. There are limited spaces in the campgrounds and lodges along the route, and the demand is massive. Let’s take a look at the popular itinerary options.

Rim to Rim In One Day

Trans Catalina Shuttle
If you’re hiking this in a day, you’ll probably take the shuttle from one end to the other. The 4-hour ride includes a couple of rest stops and lots of nice scenery.

This is a popular option, and is doable by almost everyone with the right training and preparation. In my years of doing the rim-to-rim, I’ve seen people of all shapes, sizes, and ages hiking it in one day, and you can too, even though the distance can see daunting if you are not a regular hiker. If you can walk at a 2mph average (probably faster on downhills and slower on uphills), it’s just 10.5 hours of walking. Assume you have 12 hours of daylight, and will take 1.5 hours for breaks and snacks, and you will probably hike somewhere from dusk to dawn.

Generally a one-way rim-to-rim hike is coupled with an overnight stay at the rim you’ve arrived at, and then a shuttle bus ride to bring you back to the rim where you started. The shuttle bus is generally easy to book. Here are the two options, assuming that you are starting on the popular South Rim.

You do not need a permit to day hike the rim-to-rim!

South to North in One Day

  1. Hike from South to North Rim
  2. Stay in North Rim Lodge or Campground
  3. Shuttle bus back to South Rim

North to South in One Day

  1. Shuttle bus to North Rim
  2. Stay in North Rim Lodge or Campground
  3. Hike from North to South Rim

Rim to Rim and Back in Two Days

If you’re a fit hiker or runner, you also have the option of hiking one-way, staying overnight at the rim, and then hiking back the next day, for a total of 45 miles in 2 days. If you’re new to hiking or just a casual hiker, this may seem crazy. But for those who are strong enough, it’s a nice option that lets you experience all of the corridor trails.

Overnight at Phantom Ranch

Phantom Ranch Meal
If you get a bed at Phantom Ranch, you can also book hot meals and a “duffel service” that will transport your gear to the lodge and back by mule. Even without the duffel service, staying at Phantom Ranch means that you can hike with a day pack that just has a change of clothes.

The best of both worlds is to book a room at Phantom Ranch Lodge, located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, close to the Colorado River. As you would imagine, the lodge is basic but provides everything you need to stay comfortably overnight. The lodge is booked by a lottery one year in advance. I have a friend who has entered the lottery for 20 years straight and has never got a bed. It’s a tough one to score. If you are able to book a night at Phantom Ranch, then your rim-to-rim can be a more leisurely experience with the 21 miles (South to North) or 24 miles (North to South) broken up into two days, without having to carry camping gear.

Busy Day At The Canteen
If you’re doing the hike but not staying at Phantom Ranch, you can still experience the lodge’s charm with an en-route stop at the canteen and a bite to eat or cold drink (with ice!). As you can see from this picture, it’s a popular option. Everyone writes about the lemonade here, but my favorite is the (unsweetened) ice tea.
Phantom Ranch Menu
Here’s the menu at the canteen. Just note that sometimes items are out of stock. Everything comes in on a mule train. And your trash goes out on a mule train, FYI.

Rim to Rim Camping

Grand Canyon National Park: 2019 Star Party South Rim 3394
My favorite part of camping in the Grand Canyon are the night skies (as seen here). The Grand Canyon is an official Dark Sky Park site. On a clear, crisp night the sky is spectacular.

While I love camping in the Grand Canyon, it does have its downsides.

That said, if you have your heart set on camping, go for it. I’ve stayed overnight in the Canyon several times and it’s awesome. But if you’re just focused on making it across from rim-to-rim, a day hike might be a better option.

Booking Rim-to-Rim Campsites

Unlike other National Parks with an online permit system, you have to go through the Backcountry Office for camping in the Grand Canyon, and the system is old-school. Check out the Backcountry Permit page for the latest links and info, but in a nutshell this is the process.

  1. Check the availability of spaces on a paper chart that’s updated a few times a month.
  2. Pick your campsites and itinerary.
  3. Fax or mail in a printed form requesting the dates four months before your start date.
  4. Wait three weeks for a response.

You can also show up at the Backcountry Office (in person) and request a last-minute permit. If you don’t get a spot, you get put on a waitlist with better odds every day you are on it.

The Rim-To-Rim Campsites

Rim To Rim Campgrounds
These are three campsites along the rim-to-rim hike where you can camp. Note that there are no campsites on the South Kaibab Trail.

All of these campsites have toilets and running water.

Bright Angel Campground
Bright Angel Campground is located just off of the Colorado River, and next to Phantom Ranch. The tent sites are right on Bright Angel Creek. You are only a few minutes from the Phantom Ranch canteen and can get food there.
Cottonwwood Campsite
Cottonwood is about 7 miles from the North Rim, along the upper reaches of Bright Angel Creek. It’s a nice spot with campsites alongside the North Kaibab Trail. It’s the most remote camping option on the rim-to-rim.
Indian Garden Campsite
Indian Garden Campground is the only campsite on the south side of the Colorado River, just off the Bright Angel Trail. It’s a nice spot but you get a lot of passing foot traffic from South Rim day hikers. Don’t let that stop you though. If you can snag a spot here, you’ll have a good time.

Rim Lodging

North Rim Lodge
Whichever way you do the rim-to-rim, most folks end up staying at the North Rim Lodge, since it’s the only non-campsite on the North Rim. If you do stay here, try to make a reservation for diner in the main dining room, which is the highlight of the lodge.

Generally doing a rim-to-rim involves staying in a lodge, hotel, or campground on either side of the rim. Here are the options for staying on the rims at either end of your hike.

RimOptionNotes
SouthBright Angel Lodge – Yavapai Lodge – Thunderbird Lodge – Maswick Lodge – El Tovar Hotel – Kachina Lodge Cool Spots – Hard to book – Expensive – Walking Distance to Trailhead and Hiker Shuttle
SouthMather CampgroundCan be Loud – Have to Walk to Shuttle and Trailheads – Inexpensive
SouthHotels in TusayanTons of Options – Short Drive From South Rim – Can Be Booked at Short Notice
NorthNorth Rim LodgeOnly Hotel on North Rim – Iconic Dining Room – Hard to Book – 30 min Walk to Trailhead
NorthNorth Rim Campground Close to Trailhead – Scenic – Affordable

Rim to Rim Guided Tours

Another option that’s probably not for most of you, but worth mentioning in case you can’t book lodging or permits, is a guided hiking tour. Generally these take 3-5 days to do a one-way rim-to-rim, and cost a couple thousand dollars. The nice thing about them is that they handle the logistics. Several guided outfitters are working in the Grand Canyon, and a Google search will reveal all the options. While they’re not cheap, they can often include gear, food, lodging, fun guides, and sometimes even a porter to carry your gear.

Dates For Hiking Rim to Rim

Rim To Rim High Temperature Thermometer
There are a couple of weather windows that are best for hiking from rim to rim. The main thing to avoid is the heat, which can be up to 120F in the shade. Hikers who venture out in the heat of the Grand Canyon die every year. This is real.

To add some more complexity to the lodging situation, let’s talk about the small window when hiking across the Grand Canyon is possible. You want to go when the North Rim facilities are open (May 15-Oct 15) and when the heat isn’t too extreme at the bottom of the Canyon. What that practically equates to is doing the hike between May 15-31st, or between October 1-15th.

Hikers have died from the heat in the Grand Canyon. You need to take the heat seriously.

You can still do the hike outside of these dates, but you’re going to have to plan on resting somewhere cool during the hotter parts of the day. So that could mean laying in a shaded tent in a campground, resting under a tree next to the Bright Angel Creek, or whatever gets you out of the sun and into the cool.

Staying Cool Feet
Even when the temperatures are not extreme, it still gets hot, especially at the lower altitudes. Small things like soaking your feet or a hat will help keep you cool.

Timing Your Hike

Grand Canyon Heat Warning
Here’s a picture of me at my bachelor party. Just kidding. It’s a heat warning that you’ll see on most rim trails at the Grand Canyon. The key is to time your hike to avoid the hottest hours of the day at the bottom of the Canyon. Even if you don’t get extreme symptoms of heat exhaustion, hiking when the temperatures are high will take more energy out of you, especially if you are overnighting with a heavy backpack.

Ideally you should start your hike at sunrise and plan on hiking until sometime before sunset. This way you have daylight and can enjoy all the beauty that the Grand Canyon offers as you hike. Generally if you can get a day in the late May window, you’ll have over 14 hours of daylight to do your hike.

Even when you manage to get the ideal dates, the heat can still be extraordinary at the bottom of the Canyon. Temperatures rise about 5.5F for every 1000 feet that you descend into the Canyon. The bottom of the canyon is often 20-30F hotter than the South Rim. Microclimates in the 0% humidity area, among the slot canyons of hot black rock, can get even warmer. You don’t want to be hiking at the bottom of the Canyon when it’s above 90F.

Grand Canyon Temps Nws
Here’s a typical forecast from early September. Heat stroke generally occurs when your body heat rises above 104F. Diagram from NWS Flagstaff

The move is to keep your eyes on the forecast at Phantom Ranch. Plan on leaving early enough to clear the lower parts of the Canyon before it gets too hot. If it’s extraordinarily hot, then you may have to put a headlamp on and leave before sunrise. It’s not ideal but it’s prudent. It’s why I recommend going South to North. If you leave at 5am, you can usually get to Phantom Ranch by 9am and then start up the semi-shaded middle section toward the North Rim.

Doing It In Winter

Snow On Grand Canyon Trail
Here’s what hiking over well-worn snow and ice on the warmer South Rim looks like in the winter. Having done this before, I can tell you from experience that hiking on a 4-foot wide path covered in ice is not too much fun.

Doing this hike in the cooler months of winter may seem like a good option, but it’s not ideal for beginners. Generally the North Kaibab Trail is covered in snow and ice during the winter. It’s usually well-trodden and easy to follow, but you need proper winter hiking equipment. If you’re asking yourself what that is, you probably don’t have enough winter hiking experience to do it.

And the big thing is that the North Rim facilities are closed. People will hike to and overnight at Cottonwood Campground, the last camp before the North Rim. The next day they’ll hike up to the North Rim and back down to the camp. And then on the third day hike back out to the South Rim.

Workflow For Booking and Planning the Rim-to-Rim

Okay, to wrap up the planning part, here’s how I’d recommend tackling it.

  1. Pick the dates that you’d like to go.
  2. Book your rim lodging. Generally you can (and should) book these a year in advance.
  3. Book your travel to the Grand Canyon.
  4. Book your shuttle.
  5. If you are camping, apply for your backcountry permit as early as you can. If you can’t get the permit you are looking for, try for a walk-up permit. If that doesn’t work, consider doing it as a day hike.
  6. Show up and do the rim-to-rim!

Training for the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim

Sunset Sar
“There’s no shuttle bus from the bottom to the top” is what they say here. It’s important that you’ve trained your body and mind to tackle this challenging hike, especially the climb out. If you are exhausted and can’t make it, you’ll likely be joined by a ranger who will very slowly walk you uphill into the nighttime hours. And generally only the critically injured warrant a helicopter evacuation;  for all other rescues expect a long carry up the trail in a litter by a search & rescue team as you see here. Photo NPS

The trickiest thing about training for the rim-to-rim is the “reverse” nature of the climbing. It’s pretty easy to find lots of hikes of up to 20 miles with a big climb of 5000 feet. The problem is that you climb up, then descend. Whereas in the Grand Canyon, you descend, and then the toughest part of the hike, the steep climb out, is at the end. So unless you live on top of a 5000 foot mountain that you can walk down and then back up, it’s tough. Here are some recommendations.

Mental Training

Don’t underestimate the power of your mentality and outlook when doing this hike. If you mentally give up and tell yourself that you don’t have any more left in you, you won’t. If you say goodbye to negative thoughts and follow them up with positive thoughts, you will make it. Here are some tips to win the mental game.

Gear For the Hike

Heavy Gear In Grand Canyon
The more gear you have on your back, the more gear you have to haul up the climb out of the Canyon. That’s the basic equation, so be prepared but leave the extras at home.

The key to gear in the Grand Canyon is to carry the minimum that you need. Reducing the weight that you are hauling on your back will save you energy and help you climb back out of the Canyon. You don’t really need much gear to do this hike safely. Here’s what I recommend.

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Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

Garmin inReach Mini
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost.

Latest Prices: Amazon | REI | Backcountry
My Review & Guide

Lone Peak 5

Altra Lone Peak 5
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice that will leave your feet feeling great at the end of any hike. The feel is cushy and light, and if it had a car equivalent, this would be a Cadillac or Mercedes Sedan. The grip is great and they’re reasonably durable for this type of trail runner, which I think is better in most conditions than a hiking boot, and here’s why. The downside of this shoe is that it won’t last as long as something like the Moab 2 (see alternate footwear choices at the bottom of my gear page). I’ve been using mine for many miles and my feet always feel great. Watch my video explaining why they are a great shoe here.

Women’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon | Backcountry
Men’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon | Backcountry

Black Diamond Ergo Poles 2

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles
I’ve gone back and forth on trekking poles, but I think for most people they are a good investment. They help you dig in on the uphills, provide stability on loose downhills, act as a brace when crossing streams, and can probably poke away aggressive wildlife in a pinch. The Trail Ergo Cork poles are a good balance of light weight, durability, affordability, and ease of use. If you want something ultralight and a little more pricey, I’ve had great luck with the Black Diamond Z Poles too.

Trail Ergo Poles: REI | Amazon | Black Diamond
Z-Poles: MacPac | REI | Amazon | Black Diamond

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated November 2021.

My November 2021 Top Gear Picks

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.

Camping Gear

Campsite On Rim To Rim
Campsites along the rim-to-rim have picnic benches, food storage boxes, and hang poles for your bags. Leave your bags open when you hang them. Ringtails will claw through anything closed in search of food.

If you are overnighting at a campground, I’d recommend taking the minimum: tent, sleeping bag and pad, camp shoes, and small stove. Check the low temperatures for your stay. The hot extremes are often followed by very cold nights. You can see the latest camping setup that I’m using on my gear page here.

Water

Water In Grand Canyon
There are water refill stations at regular intervals on the rim-to-rim hike. All of the water comes from Roaring Springs (which you will see on the hike) and does not need to be filtered. Just refill your bottles from the tap and that’s it.

The great thing is that, aside from the (short) South Kaibab Trail, regular water sources are all along the rim-to-rim route. That means that you don’t have to haul 20+ miles worth of water with you (water weighs about 8.3 pound per gallon). The key is to know where the water is turned on, which you can find on the Grand Canyon NPS website backcountry updates page.

Generally these are good refill strategies.

It’s important to have some salt in your system, since you will sweat a lot of it out. If you don’t have enough salt, you can die from over-hydration (hyponatremia or EAH), and people have died from this at the Grand Canyon. Eating a small page of salted nuts at the midpoint of the hike is a good strategy.

The Best Rim to Rim Map

National Geographic Grand Canyon Map
The National Geographic map of the Grand Canyon is great for rim-to-rim hikers. My favorite feature is the distances between trail landmarks which you can see in the red numbers above. I use them as mini-milestones to break the route up mentally.

The rim-to-rim hike is easy to navigate. There are signs along the way, the trail gets an immense amount of traffic, and there are generally people hiking by every few minutes. Don’t let that stop you from getting a good map though. I think the best option is the “Trails Illustrated Grand Canyon National Park Trail Map – Bright Angel Canyon/North and South Rims” by National Geographic. It’s easy to read, lists facilities such as water fills, highlights landmarks, and has the distances between trail landmarks. I use the distances between points as my mental mileposts when hiking the trail. Breaking the trail into these little chunks helps me tackle the 20+ miles of the hike.

You can get the paper version of the map, or if you get a GaiaGPS premium subscription (discount on my gear page), you can also reference them on your phone, along with your GPS position on the map. I generally use both. The paper map is nice to look over at home as you prepare, and the phone version is great for when you are on the trail.  And if my battery dies, I have the paper version with me as a backup.

GPS in the Grand Canyon

Gpsmap 66sr Gps Test 5
The steep canyon walls can do a number on your GPS reception, as you can see on the tracks above. If you’re curious about how different GPS units perform in the Grand Canyon, my review on the Garmin 66sr might be interesting for you.

Expect the mileage on your GPS units to be off. It generally won’t match the official distances listed on the maps and given by the Parks Service. That’s because you’ll get extra distance added onto your track when the GPS loses reception and starts jumping around, as you can see in the photo above. If you have a GPS, use it as a general guide, but otherwise use the official trail markers to gauge how far you’ve traveled.

Practice Good Trail Karma

Unfortunately every time that I hike rim-to-rim, I’m always picking up some pieces of trash. Maybe it’s an old gel pack, maybe a water bottle lid, whatever. Bring a zip-lock bag and pick up any little trash you see. And certainly don’t leave any.

Other small acts of kindness go a long way. Say hello. Move to the side and let people pass. Offer help if you see people lost. Don’t feed the animals. You know all this stuff.

Rim to Rim Safety

Trail Repair On Rim To Rim
The Parks Service spends millions of dollars to maintain the trails on the rim-to-rim route. While the trails you’ll take are engineering wonders, they are also safe for hiking and maintained at standards.

Thousands of people do this hike all the time, the experience is safe if you hike responsibly. But there are some areas that I’d like to address to allay any fears or gaps in your knowledge. In the summer park rangers perform about half a dozen evacuations every day. Don’t be one of those guys.

Understanding the Land

I’m not going to attempt to give you an exhaustive description of the natural history and ecology of the Grand Canyon. Instead, I want to point out some over-arching concepts to help you understand and enjoy your hike more.

Getting to the Rim to Rim Trailheads

Group Of Hikers South Kaibab Trail
Unless you have a friend or family member to drop you off, you’ll probably be taking a shuttle to either trailhead. The bad news is that you’ll be starting with many other hikers, and it can feel like a hiker parade at first. As people settle into their pacing, the crowds tend to thin and space out.

Getting to the trailhead for each routing requires a bit of planning, but it’s not too hard. Just know your plan in advance. Also note that you can’t grab a ride-share or taxi at either one of these spots. You’re either on a shuttle, hitchhiking, or walking.

South to North Starting Point

This route starts at the South Kaibab Trailhead near Yaki Point.

There are no private cars allowed on the road to the trailhead, so most people take a shuttle bus. Otherwise it’s about a 4 mile walk to the lodges on the South Rim. There are two shuttles that you can take, the regular Orange Route to points east of the Visitor’s Center, and the Hikers Express, which only leaves early in the morning and goes directly to the trailhead. The times and details can change based on the season, so check out the Park’s shuttle bus page here.

Grand Canyon Backcountry Office
The Hiker’s Express leaves from the Backcountry Office, a short walk from the South Rim lodges. You can also park in Lot D, right next to the Backcountry Office, and leave your car overnight for as long as your hike goes. If you are navigating here by car, use the Backcountry Office and not Lot D in your GPS. The bus line can get long. Getting here about 30 minutes early usually gets you on the first bus. They usually send buses until all the hikers are taken care of.
Shuttle Bus Stop
If you take the regular shuttle bus, you’ll want the Kaibab Rim route to the South Kaibab Trailhead.

North to South Starting Point

This route starts at the North Kaibab Trailhead, which is not really close to anything.

If you are staying at the North Rim Lodge, there is a shuttle bus (van) that you can book when you check in, but it doesn’t always run. Also note that there is no pickup service from the trailhead if you are ending your hike here. You’ll have to walk to wherever you are staying (the lodge or campground). Some folks also have luck hitchhiking.

North Kaibab To Lodge
If you are walking back, take the Bridle Path trail from the North Rim until you get to the road, then either walk along the road (easier but with cars) or take the slightly longer, rolling Bridle Path Trail to the end.
North Rim Bridle Path
The Bridle Path and trails around the North Rim are well marked. Lots of hikers use these trails at the end of their rim-to-rim. It does add extra distance, even though it’s easy compared to the rest of the hike.
North Kaibab Parking Lot
There’s also a parking lot at the North Kaibab Trail where you can leave your car overnight for as long as you hike.

Checklist For Right Before The Hike

Here’s what I recommend for the day before your hike (in addition to the normal things like setting an alarm, packing, etc.)

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Rim to Rim Hike Directions Video

Rim to Rim – South to North Hike Directions

This popular routing follows the South Kaibab Trail from the South Rim to the Colorado River, and then takes the North Kaibab Trail from the river back up to the North Rim.

LandmarkDistance (miles)Gradient
South Kaibab Trailhead0-
Cedar Ridge1.5Steep Downhill
Skeleton Point3Downhill
Tip Off4.4Downhill
Phantom Ranch7.4Downhill
Ribbon Falls12.6Slightly Uphill
Cottonwood Campground14.2Slightly Uphill
Manzanita Rest Area15.6Uphill
Roaring Springs16.4Uphill
Supai Tunnel19.4Steep Uphill
North Kaibab Trailhead21.1Steep Uphill
Click Here To View

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.

Gaiagps

How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 6. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.

South To North Rim Elevation Proile
After a steep descent on the South Kaibab Trail, you have a very mild uphill until Cottonwood Campground, and then it gets steeper as you climb out of the Canyon.

South to North Turn by Turn Directions

I also have a 360 video of the South to North hike turn-by-turns. You can drag around the video and look around as I show you the hike.

Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 1
As you enter the South Kaibab Trailhead area, the trail starts down the paved path by the bus stop.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 2
There are toilets by the bus stop.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 3
And a water fill station.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 4
Head down the paved path.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 5
And you’ll see the official start of the South Kaibab Trail on your left. Start your mileage / GPS from here.

If you want to read a little history and background on the South Kaibab Trail, check out my day hike trail guide.

Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 6
Now you’ve started the hike as you start winding downhill on the South Kaibab Trail, through the youngest rock, the Kaibab Limestone.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 7
Enjoy the great views and engineering marvel of the switchbacks as you head down into the Canyon.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 8
The trail levels out and at just under a mile you’ll reach Ooh Ahh Point. This is the first spot where you can see to the east, and the views of the sunrise into the Canyon are beautiful. Grab your shot, stay away from the edge, and keep going downhill to the left.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 9
The trail starts heading through the Coconino Sandstone to the dramatic O’Neill Butte ahead. It’s named after Bucky O’Neill, an Arizonian who died fighting with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in Cuba.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 10
After about 1.5 miles you’ll reach Cedar Ridge.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 11
As with most rest areas along the rim-to-rim hike, you’ll find a toilet, but no water.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 12
The trail continues on the other end of the flat section at Cedar Ridge, and heads down to the right.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 13
Continue the descent past O’Neill Butte. The trail descends down to the right of the butte.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 14
You’ll hit a nice flat section just past the butte.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 15
After about 3 miles and 2000 feet of descending, you hit Skeleton Point. If you want your first glimpse of the Colorado River, go left for about 2 minutes to the cliff. Otherwise continue down to the right.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 16
You’ll have more dramatic switchbacks as you continue downhill.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 17
And at around 4.5 miles you’ll arrive at the Tip Off, perched on top of the Tonto Platform. The building on the far right is the toilet, on the left is shaded shelter.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 18
The Tip Off has an intersection with the primitive Tonto Trail. We’re staying on the South Kaibab all the way to the river.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 19
The South Kaibab Trail is a bit hidden at the Tip Off. It continues to the left of the shaded shelter.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 20
Keep heading downhill.
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And at the ledge a few minutes past the Tip Off, you’ll get your first glimpse of the Colorado River. From here until the bottom you’ll be treated to great views of it.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 22
As you continue to descend you’ll see the trail winding in front you through the Tapeats Sandstone.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 23
And soon the Black Bridge comes into view, which you’ll use to cross the river. The bridge was built in 1928 and was the only bridge across the river for hundreds of miles until the Silver Bridge was built in the 1960s, about a half mile down the river. You can catch glimpses of the Silver Bridge has you hike. It’s used to cross when hiking to the Bright Angel Trail.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 24
Keep heading downhill, avoiding the unofficial trails to overlooks.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 25
When you get to the junction with the River Trail, make the hard right and continue down to Black Bridge.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 26
You made it to the bottom! Head through the tunnel.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 27
And you’ll emerge onto Black Bridge. Walk across the 440 feet of the bridge span.
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The views up the Colorado River are spectacular.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 29
As you approach the end of the bridge, the trail makes the right and then heads back towards Phantom Ranch on the left.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 30
As you hike down along the river, keep your eyes open for the remains of a pueblo on the left. The pueblo was inhabited about 1000 years ago.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 31
Keep going straight past the emergency phone and water.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 32
And soon you’ll arrive at a big junction with the Bright Angel Trail. Make the right to head toward Phantom Ranch.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 34
Hike up the path away from the river.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 33
As you hike up Bright Angel Canyon, the trail splits. Bright Angel Campground is on the left, and a shaded path through the mule pens is up to the right. You can go either way. As you do, remember that people live at Phantom Ranch. Respect private property and keep hiking until you reach the canteen area a few minutes up the trail. The main trail is on the left here.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 35
Toward the end of the buildings you’ll see the canteen. This is where to stop for a water refill and break. The trail continues past the canteen on the right. The toilets are a few minutes up the trail past the canteen.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 36
The canteen has food, iced drinks, and limited supplies. You can also send a postcard which will go out by mule train.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 37
Continue up Bright Angel Canyon, past Phantom Ranch.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 38
At the junction with the Clear Creek Trail, keep going straight. You’re now on the North Kaibab Trail and you’ll be taking this all the way to the North Rim. This is also the start of a slot canyon section of the trail called “The Box.” Although shady, temperatures in the black rock canyons can be extreme.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 39
The Bright Angel Creek comes close to the trail as we hike through The Box. We’ll be hiking up along the Bright Angel Creek all the way to the Manzanita Rest House. This section of the hike is particularly scenic as the creek winds its way through the slot canyon of Vishnu Schist formed 1.7 billion years ago.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 40
You’ll have your first bridge crossing of Bright Angel Creek. There are about half a dozen as we head upstream. Originally the trail had 94 crossings of the stream, but trail work over the years has reduced the crossings to 7 now.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 41
At the second bridge the slot canyon becomes even more dramatic.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 42
And now you have some nice miles through the canyon where you can cruise and enjoy the scenery.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 43
After a while the slot canyon opens up and you follow the Bright Angel Creek up toward the North Rim.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 44
When you see the sign for Ribbon Falls, make the left and continue on the North Kaibab Trail. This isn’t the official intersection for Ribbon Falls used on the mileage charts.

If you are doing the rim-to-rim as a day hike, I’d recommend giving Ribbon Falls a skip and just focusing on getting to the end. If you are doing this over a couple of days, visit the falls. There used to be a bridge to them, but now you have to walk through the creek. When you get to the falls you can go behind them.

Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 45
Just after that junction you get your first taste of climbing.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 46
As you climb that section, look for Ribbon Falls in the distance off to your left.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 47
You have a short descent and then you reach the official junction for Ribbon Falls. Make the right.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 48
Pass the small waterfall and ford Bright Angel Creek. It’s a good place to cool your feet.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 49
You have about 1 mile between the Ribbon Falls junction and Cottonwood Campground.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 50
Soon you’ll reach the start of Cottonwood Campground. The campsites are spread along either side of the trail. There’s also a ranger station here.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 51
Toward the end of the campground you’ll find the toilets and water refill.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 52
As you leave Cottonwood Campground, the North Kaibab Trail starts to inch uphill. You have 1.4 miles to Manzanita Rest House, where the climbing really starts.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 53
As you approach Manzanita, you’ll have another bridge.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 54
And then arrive to Manzanita Rest Area (formerly named the Pumphouse Ranger Station), which is on the right. This is a traditional refill and rest point before the start of the steepest last 5 miles to the top.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 55
And now you start climbing for real. It’s about 0.7 miles to your next landmark. You’ll also notice that you wind around to the left, leaving Bright Angel Canyon and entering Roaring Springs Canyon, which you’ll follow all the way to the top.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 56
As you climb you’ll first hear and then see Roaring Springs, which provides water for the entire Grand Canyon (North and South Rims). The water that you’ve been using on the trail came from Roaring Springs.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 57
When you get to the junction with the Roaring Springs Trail, keep going straight toward the North Rim.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 58
Now you start a spectacular 1.8 mile section up to Redwall Bridge. You can see the trees on the top of the North Rim ahead of you. There’s just over 3000 feet of climbing left.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 59
There are some sections here along the cliffside, but again, it’s wide and if you get scared, just stay inside near the wall.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 60
The trail is an engineering marvel, with some sections actually blasted into the cliff wall.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 61
Keep climbing up as Roaring Springs Canyon narrows.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 62
And then you have a short downhill section to Redwall Bridge, in the distance to the right.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 63
As you cross the Redwall Bridge you can see the trail carve through the Redwall Limestone above and to your left.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 64
The trail gets steep as you climb 800 feet in about a half a mile to the next landmark, Supai Tunnel.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 65
Head through Supai Tunnel.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 66
And on the other end of the tunnel is a rest area with water and toilets.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 67
The scenery changes dramatically as you leave the red Supai rock and start heading up into the cooler North Rim.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 68
The last 2 miles between the tunnel and top have 1400 feet of climbing. It’s steep, but there are switchbacks to help ease the gradient.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 69
When you reach Coconino Overlook you only have 0.7 (steep) miles to go.
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And here you are, the end of the North Kaibab Trail!
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim South North Directions 71
Welcome to the North Rim! From here you can walk to the lodge, campground, or parking lot. Toilets are in the parking lot area.

Rim to Rim – North to South Hike Directions

The start of the North to South Rim to Rim is on the North Kaibab Trail. After a long descent to the Colorado River, you turn right and hike up the Bright Angel Trail to the South Rim.

LandmarkDistance (miles)Gradient
North Kaibab Trail0-
Supai Tunnel1.7Steep Downhill
Roaring Springs4.7Steep Downhill
Manzanita Rest Area5.4Steep Downhill
Cottonwood Campground6.8Downhill
Ribbon Falls8.4Downhill
Phantom Ranch13.6Gradual Downhill
River Resthouse15.5Gradual Uphill
Indian Garden18.7Mixed Uphill
Three-Mile Resthouse20.4Steep Uphill
Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse21.9Steep Uphill
Bright Angel Trailhead23.5Steep Uphill
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Garnd Canyon Rim To Rim North To South Elevation
It’s a steep downhill from the start to Manzanita Rest House, and then a gradual “false-flat” descent to Phantom Ranch. From there you are heading uphill, with the toughest section between Indian Garden and the South Rim.

North to South Turn by Turn Directions

I also have a 360 video of the North to South hike turn-by-turns. You can drag around the video and look around as I show you the hike.

Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 1
The North Kaibab Trail starts by the trail sign. You can refill with water at the sign on the right.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 2
Start the trail, passing the signs aimed at day hikers. The North Kaibab Trail is the only maintained trail from the North Rim to the Colorado River.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 3
Soon you emerge from the pines and get great views down Roaring Springs Canyon, which we will be descending.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 4
At about 0.7 miles you’ll reach Coconino Overlook.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 5
Continue down the trail, where you’ll get nice views of all the rock stratum.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 6
This section of the North Kaibab is steep with numerous switchbacks.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 7
The soil turns red as you enter the Supai group.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 8
And after about 2 miles you reach Supai Tunnel rest area. There are toilets and water here. The trail continues on the left.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 9
Hike through the (short) Supai Tunnel.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 10
Keep an eye out for these little holes, which were drilled in the rock to blast the tunnel out.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 11
Now you’ll have steep descent down Roaring Springs Canyon.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 12
In the distance, down the canyon, you’ll be able to see the Redwall Bridge.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 13
Keep hiking down the switchbacks through the Redwall Limestone.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 14
And then cross Redwall Bridge.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 15
The next 1.8 miles are some of the most spectacular, as the trail winds around the cliffsides.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 16
And again, while there are sheer drops, the trail is wide and easy to hike on.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 17
Some sections are blasted out of the cliff wall.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 18
You’ll be able to see the trail wind down along the cliffs in front of you.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 19
Soon the trail levels out. The steepest sections of descent are over. Ahead is Bright Angel Canyon, which we’ll be turning right and hiking down.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 20
When you start to see Bright Angel Canyon in the distance, you’ll also start to hear the “roaring” of Roaring Springs, off to your left. Roaring Springs provides all the water to the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 21
At the junction with the Roaring Springs Trail, go straight.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 22
Hike downhill for 0.7 miles to the Manzanita Rest House.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 23
Soon you’ll see Manzanita Rest House (formerly named the Pumphouse Ranger Station), which marks the end of the main downhill section from the North Rim.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 24
Manzanita is a good place to refuel before continuing on the next stretch to the Colorado River.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 25
Leave Manzanita and head across the bridge, which will be the first of about half a dozen along the Bright Angel Creek.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 26
While there are still some downhill sections, overall the trail is more flat / gently rolling / gently descending as you head toward the river.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 27
You’ll start to get your first glimpses of the South Rim in the distance, your final destination on the hike.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 28
At around 1.4 miles past Manzanita, you’ll start to see the tent sites at Cottonwood Campground.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 29
There is a water refill and toilet here. This is your last opportunity to refill before Phantom Ranch.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 30
Once out of the campground the trail winds down along Bright Angel Creek.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 31
When you get to the junction for Ribbon Falls, make the left and do a short uphill. It’s about 5.8 miles to Phantom Ranch from here.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 32
And then descend after the uphill. You might notice the telephone lines along this section of the North Kaibab Trail, part of the Trans-Canyon Telephone line, first built in 1924 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 33
Look to your right to see Ribbon Falls. It’s worth a side trip unless you are doing this as a day hike, in which case just focus on finishing.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 34
As you descend you’ll notice that the fauna has changed once again. Now you’ll see cacti and more desert fauna.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 35
And here’s the first of a few bridges between here and Phantom Ranch.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 36
From here on out, the trail is narrow as it heads through the slot canyons along Bright Angel Creek.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 37
These few miles are spectacular as the slot canyons narrow through billion-year-old rock.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 38
This section includes a few bridge crossings.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 39
The canyons open up as you approach the river. At the junction with the Clear Creek Trail, go straight.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 41
And shortly after that you’ll see a sign for Phantom Ranch.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 42
Head straight down the main trail, avoiding the private residences and workshops.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 43
Soon you’ll reach the canteen, which is easy to spot since there are always hikers hanging out here.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 44
Grab a refreshment and fill up with water before the next long-ish stretch to Indian Garden.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 45
Keep heading down through the Phantom Ranch area, following the signs for Bright Angel.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 46
Go straight past the bridge to the Bright Angel Campground on your right.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 47
And soon you’ll come to the end of the North Kaibab Trail, by the Colorado River. Look for the big intersection with the bridge on the right. Make the right there and cross over the bridge, hiking toward the river.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 48
As you hike through some mule pens and facilities, you’ll come out at the river and see the Silver Bridge in front of you. It’s the second bridge built over the river here, and went up in the 1960s. The pipeline from Roaring Springs to the South Rim crosses this bridge.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 49
Enjoy the Colorado River views on the bridge crossing.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 50
And on the other side, make the right onto the River Trail.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 51
You’ll follow the River Trail for about 1.2 miles, and it offers some great views of the Colorado River below.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 52
The River Trail ends as you turn into the canyon to the left, which is the start of the Bright Angel Trail. Back to the right is a short spur trail to Pipe Creek Beach.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 53
Pipe Creek Beach is a sandy beach popular with rafters. Don’t go into the water.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 54
A minute or two after turning into the canyon, you’ll see the River Rest House across Pipe Creek. There is no water here.

If you want to learn more about the history of the Bright Angel Trail, read my guide on the day hike to Plateau Point.

Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 55
Now you’ll star the section along the Pipe Creek, through 2-billion-year-old Vishnu Schist, the oldest rock in the Grand Canyon. This section can get very hot.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 56
After about a mile from the river you’ll start a steep section of switchbacks called the Devil’s Corkscrew.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 57
This section is tough but you can look down at the trail behind you and celebrate your progress as you climb.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 58
At the top of the cllimb the trail winds around and joins Garden Creek (on the right).
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 59
Once joining Garden Creek you have about 1.3 miles of gentle climbing through Tapeats Narrows, named after the Tapeats Sandstone, towards Indian Garden.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 60
Go straight through the junction with the Tonto Trail.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 61
And soon you’ll see a sign for Indian Garden.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 62
Hike past the pump house, which pumps water from Roaring Springs up to the South Rim, 3000 feet above you.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 63
When you get to Indian Garden, make the left.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 64
And you’ll see shaded rest areas, toilets, and water.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 65
Hike up through the main path on the Bright Angel Trail. On the right you’ll see the campground and facilities for Indian Garden. There’s also a ranger station here.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 66
Leave Indian Garden and start the final 4.5 miles to the South Rim. The first half mile or so is gently uphill as it crosses the Bright Angel shale.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 67
But then gets steeper as you climb toward the 3-Mile Resthouse.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 68
Tackle the stacked switchback section called Jacobs Ladder. From here it’s pretty much a steep suffer-fest through the Redwall Limestone.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 69
Soon you’ll see the 3-Mile Resthouse in the distance.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 70
The actual rest house, toilets, and water, are back to the left. Otherwise keep climbing.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 71
More tough climbing through the Supai Formation as the top of the South Rim comes into view.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 72
And then more climbing as you tackle another set of switchbacks. At least you have the views.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 73
Soon you’ll see the toilets at 1.5 Mile-Resthouse in the distance. The toilets are to the left, and the trail and actual rest house (and water) is to the right.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 74
Hike past the 1.5 Mile Resthouse. Not far to go.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 75
As you climb you’ll be able to see the top of the Bright Angel Trail at the notch, which is also along the Bright Angel Fault.

Remember what this view up the cliff wall looks like. Whenever I hike climbs in other places, I think back to when I scaled thousands of feet of sheer wall like this, and mentally other climbs become much more doable.

Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 76
This is a nice place to look down and see the trail winding up from Indian Garden, where you were earlier.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 77
As you approach the top you’ll be able to hear tourists talking on the rim.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 78
Pass through the lower tunnel. Only 1 mile to go.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 79
Be careful to stay on the main Bright Angel Trail. There is a (blocked off) older trail here.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 80
And then you’ll pass through the upper (first) tunnel.
Bright Angel Pictographs
Before you pass through the tunnel, look up and back to your left to see these 4000-year-old pictographs of deer.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 81
When you’re just about at the top, go straight where a trail branches back to the left (to Kolb Studio).
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 82
And that’s it! Here’s the end of the trail.
Grand Canyon Rim To Rim North South Directions 83
Make sure you go up to the top and grab a picture with the massive Bright Angel sign. You did it!

Looking for another challenge? Maybe the Timberline Trail should be next on your list…

This guide last updated on September 19, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

Have an idea on how to make these guides better? Leave me your thoughts here..

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