experience

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Answering the call of the canyon…

Maybe the first time you saw the Grand Canyon you flew over it. Maybe you took a family trip and viewed it from one of the rims. Maybe you hiked it but just headed down a few miles.

We trust that somewhere along the way the lure of hiking the canyon from “Rim to Rim” tugged at you and as well you found out that there are trails that exist that connect the canyon from one rim to the other rim. You began to do your homework on the “logistics” of this hike. Maybe you visited our hike-it page here or the NPS website, but you knew no matter how well you lined up the logistics you still needed to train and be in shape for this monster of an endeavor. This canyon crossing hike is 23.9 miles via the North Kaibab trail to Bright Angel trail from one rim to the other and you must “climb” your way out (21.3 miles if you take the South Kaibab trail to North Kaibab trail).

You trained and trained and finally the day arrived. The first time you embarked on the “Rim to Rim” hike you had butterflies as you had no idea what to expect (and you still will each time). You just wanted to “finish it”. You stopped during parts of it trying to “savor” it but you wanted to make sure you had enough gas left in the tank to “climb” out successfully so you had butterflies again even drinking that amazing iced cold lemonade at Phantom Ranch which to you was what you thought your half way point. You did have the gas in the tank (COURAGE) and you did climb your way out only to arrive at the other rim thinking, “did I just do that?” You probably went and showered and propped up the feet, maybe even raised a glass with some buddies. You were satisfied, maybe even said “one and done”. You were not just satisfied, you were PROUD and rightfully so as you just joined the less than 1% of all visitors that dare to take on the hike. You worked your tail off training and you finally did it. You “earned” your way into the club by completing the Rim to Rim hike of the Grand Canyon.

You went back home and most likely you told all of your friends about this hike and maybe even changed your profile picture to you hiking this canyon as you were so fired up about this accomplishment. Time went by and you went back to “normal life” and then the tug came again and you started looking back at the pictures you took and maybe closed your eyes and took time to play back the hike and the memories of that special time in your mind. The blisters and the body finally healed and as you reflected back you started wishing you had taken more time. You realized that this one hike was the most amazing experience, adventure and perspective of your life. You made a connection with the trail and the canyon and now you wanted to go back and really breathe it in, you wanted to become one with it.

Whatever the reason, our guess is you want more of it. What is “it” that we get from this hike, from this canyon? It’s different for each of us but you know deep down you want to “pause” this crazy world we live in and this thing we call life for a bit and go back. You are thinking maybe that hike and spending time out on those trails in that canyon was really living, you tell us.

The Appalacian Trail (2,160 miles) and Pacific Crest Trail (2,650 miles) take months to hike, the John Muir Trail (211 miles) weeks but the Rim to Rim hike of the Grand Canyon can be done in one day, two days, three days, whatever your heart desires and your body is prepared for. You can take a few days and camp out at the bottom and truly experience the adventure of the canyon and the river or you can hike to one rim, have a great dinner, rest and then head back down to do another Rim to Rim maybe switching trails and taking South Kaibab down this time.

Whatever the itinerary and the logistics you will work it out but at times your mind will start messing with you. You will wonder what you still have left in the hiking tank and could you do another Rim to Rim. You know you could and this time you have “experience”.  Maybe this is even the year for a Rim to Rim to Rim hike because you would rather spend more time on foot in one of God’s greatest creations than taking the 212 mile drive back around and you are in great shape. No matter if it’s another Rim to Rim or a R2R2R you know this place and these trails are tugging at you and rest assured that this canyon will always call you back once you experience the blessing of hiking it.

OUR ADVICE: LISTEN TO THE TUG AND THE CANYON CALLING YOU BACK!

Throw these thoughts in your head for first timers and repeat hikers: You don’t have to take a leave of absence to hike this, your family can come with and/or they can chill on one of the rims for a day or so as you go get that which your soul is yearning for from the trail and canyon.

BOTTOM LINE: GO GET IT!

AND please remember to hike the canyon responsibly and respectfully.

For those that want to “officially” join the club that have completed this hike (you are on the honor system) please fill out the form to the right.

For those wanting to share part of their Rim to Rim “experience” please share your story below:

Tell Your Story

  1. Scott Hogan says:

    Thanks for providing a place where people can share their story. I spent the night in the north kebab trailhead parking lot on June 12, and man was it cold. The temperature got down to 30°. First light was around 430, and I started down the trail just before 5 o’clock. I got to the bright angel campground at 9:25. It was the perfect day for hiking because the expected high was only supposed to be in the mid-70s. I rested at Phantom Ranch for 30 to 40 minutes and as I left the thermometer hanging at the bright angel campground showed close to 90°. The hike up was fine for the first three or 4 miles, and the last two or three got a little rough 🙂 still, i’m pretty proud to say that no hikers passed me the entire hike. I got to the top of the bright angel trail head just before 230. I went through close to 16 L of water, some of that with Gatorade mixed in. I made sure to eat as much as I could, even when I didn’t really feel like it. I hiked on June 13 and I am posting this the 14th, and I don’t know if I have ever been as sore. But I am proud of myself for having completed the hike, and I feel like I did it in a fairly respectable time, which I know is not the point, but is sort of part of who I am 🙂 I had four buddies that were supposed to do this with me, but they all backed out A couple months before we were supposed to go. If they decide to try this next year I’ll be happy to go slower with them 🙂

  2. I got reservations!!! I am so excited because I was so lucky I got through and got reservations at Phantom Ranch, and both North and South Rim lodging for next June. It will be a dream come true, time to start training!

    Just wanted to say I appreciate all the information and advice shared here, and next year I can officially join the ranks of those who have hiked R2R!

  3. Phil LoCascio says:

    Just completed my 4th R2R on Sat June 3rd, but 1st time to do it in one day. I am a hot weather Phoenix hiker who thought the heat could never get to me. I’ve done over 30 Canyon hikes, and I have a very healthy respect for it. I made it in 11.5hrs, but it was a humbling experience for sure. I started on the North Rim at 4:30am, and made it to Phantom Ranch by 9:35am. Rested 20 minutes with a lemonade and P&J sandwich; I felt so good, I was pleased and confident. Because I had just completed a 17.5 mi. down S. Kaibab, and up Bright Angel 2 weeks earlier, I could not bring myself to go back up B. Angel. I started up S. Kaibab at about 10am. It was sunny and about 106-7; I helped two other hikers who were in real trouble with heat stroke, even giving them salt tablets and water. Then, for the 1st time in my life, I started getting dizzy before I got out of the inner gorge. I could not walk, so I laid down in a shaded spot, took a salt tab, and tried to sleep for about 15-20 minutes. With about 5 miles and 3000′ ahead of me, it was pretty scary. Thankfully, after laying down 2 more times, and taking another salt tab and a potassium tab, I began to hike again. My tank was empty and it was very difficult, but I eventually made it. For 22 yrs I’ve been helping other hikers who find themselves in trouble in the canyon. This time several people helped me, by sharing water, and encouraging me. I was moved by their generosity. I am not yet proud of the accomplishment, but still just very humbled. For some reason I thought I could do it faster and with less difficulty. I am 66 yrs old, and I now know I have real limits. The Canyon is surely grand.

    • Happy to hear you made it out Phil. Each time is different as you know and sometimes a one day Rim to Rim hike tests us in ways we didn’t expect. I had a tough one last May and it was a “trail angel” that gave me some Gatorade powder that helped me get up those last 5 miles. It’s always nice to know there are others out there willing to help each other and it sounds like you have done that many times for others and that kindness and generosity just came back to you. Congratulations on your accomplishment as a one day Rim to Rim sure is one!

    • Scott Hogan says:

      Wow, that had to have been a bit scary to have your body giving out on you like that! The last few miles of my hike up bright angel I could feel my left hamstring and right calf about to seize up every time I had to go up a step, and that was no fun. I can’t imagine having to go through what you went through. Glad you made it out!

  4. I did rim to rim to rim April 16 to 20, 2017 with my son, 3 other boys in our scout troop and 1 other adult. Due to limited permits and wanting to complete a 50 miler award we did this a little different than most RtRtR hikers.
    Day 1 Bright Angel to Indian Gardens to Cremation Creek. Due to the heat (100 degrees at Indian Gardens at 3 in the afternoon we only made it as far as tip off point and camped in the middle of the Tonto trail just east of Tip off.
    Day 2: Cold breakfast as we were down to 1 liter of water each. We descended South Kiabab to Phantom Ranch and then northward to Cottonwood Campground. The final mile or two was grueling due to heat and lack of shade. Wall Creek was wonderfully cold. Bright Angel Creek was to be avoided due to excessively high and fast water.
    Day 3 was a day hike to the north rim and back with an extra mile and half at the top to get water at the back country office. 6 feet of snow in the shade on the north rim kept us on the road. Returning to cottonwood we moved boulders and scree from the landslide earlier in the year to the inside of the trail in several places.
    Day 4 was another long day hiking from cottonwood to Indian Gardens. Lunch on the beach at the boat landing on the Colorado was wonderful as was the lemon-aide at Phantom Ranch.
    Day 5 was a nice short day up the Bright Angel to the trail head. Some of the support crew mom’s met us with fresh Oreos.

  5. Christopher Brown says:

    Planning on doing R2R2R hike in April. What kind of pack would y’all recommend? I have a Camelbak Cloud Runner 18 and I don’t feel that will be big enough. Thank you in advance!

    • Christopher Brown says:

      In addition to my question…I will be with a group of 10-12 if that helps answer the question better.

      Thank you

    • Hi Christopher,

      If you are doing a R2R2R it would depend on what you are bringing and how long you are staying below the rim. We recommend carrying a 100 ounce reservoir so that filled will take up a good portion of part of your pack and add some weight. The Cloud Runner 18 is perfect for day hiking but if you are below the rim for a few days and overnight camping we suggest a bigger pack.

      Hope this helps!

  6. Karen nicoel says:

    The plan is to hike Rim2Rim in September 2017. There will be 2-4 of us. Getting a permit is exhausting just reading about it. What are the odds we will get permits? Any idea? We are going for any time within 3 weeks of September. Training has began and 2 year planning is in overdrive. The plan is south to north via the south Kaibab Trail. Again I see many go North to South for the first time. We are in our 60’s half of us, training and have hiked some. Taking at least 3 days, backpacking. Are we crazy? New for us! We are flying in from Indiana. Any suggestions on Logistics of getting around?
    I sat next to a person on a flight from Mesa for spring training a few years ago and she told me so much about this hike I announced to my family, alone or come along – I want to do this!
    I am scared , excited and inspired! Whatever advice you can pass along is so welcome!! thank you for a all you do!

    • James LaJeunesse says:

      Karen,

      I am over 60 and have hiked Rim2Rim twice, south to north in Sept 2015 and north to south in August 2016. Getting a back country permit is difficult. I applied on time each time, but was declined both times. For my first Rim2Rim in Sept 2015, I was able to get reservations for a bed in the male bunk house and meals at Phantom Ranch, which allowed me to hike the canyon over two days. I did the same in August 2016, but was able to get a back country permit for Cottonwood Campground by applying in person at the Back Country Permit Office. This allowed me to hike the canyon over three days. I would recommend making reservations for an overnight stay at Phantom Ranch near the middle of your hiking window. If you don’t get a back country permit in advance, then you can apply in person at the Back Country Permit offices, either on the South Rim or the North Rim. Having the Phantom Ranch reservation allows you to shift your camping days to either before or after staying at Phantom Ranch. If you plan to hike the canyon over three days, then I suggest that you hike north to south via the North Kaibab Trail and Bright Angel Trail. There is only one campground between the North Rim and Phantom Ranch, which is Cottonwood Campground. To get a back country permit for Cottonwood, you need to apply in person at the Back Country Permit Office on the North Rim. It is roughly 14 miles from the North Kaibab trail head to Phantom Ranch, with Cottonwood Campground in the middle. From Phantom Ranch to the Bright Angel trail head on the south rim, it is roughly 10 miles. Bright Angel Trail has several water sources and rest stops. Although I have not yet hiked the South Kaibab trail, I understand that there is no water and no shade. Another advantage of ending your first Rim2Rim at the Bright Angel trail head, is the Bright Angel Lodge is nearby. You can get a cold drink and snack if you come out of the canyon when they are open. If you hike south to north, ending at the North Kaibab trail head, it is another 1.7 miles to Grand Canyon Lodge, unless you can get a shuttle ride.

      Both of my hikes were very challenging and were done solo. And I trained rigorously for both, choosing nearby trails that had significant elevation changes. Also, very long hikes to build up my endurance.

      The Grand Canyon is magnificent to see from the rim, but is even more magnificent when you are inside looking up. Best of luck on your upcoming Rim2Rim. Maybe I will see you there in September when I plan to do my third Rim2Rim, this time in one day.

    • North to south is easier on the knees as the downhill on the north rim is a ramped trail with only a few steps areas. If you go south to north both the South Kiabab and Bright Angel trials have a lot of steps, which can be hard on the knees going down hill. In addition south kiabab will add another 400 feet or so of elevation change though it is shorter.

      For permits best to set up lots of options (I got permit option #6 for my April hike), just attach additional pages for options 3 -4, 5-6 etc. Also if your flexible on dates you can offer different start dates so that 3 hike options with 3 different start dates gives you 9 hike options for the permit office to try to fill. (example: CBG-CCG-Out; CIG-CCG-Out; BJ9-CCG-Out with start dates spread over 3 days this becomes 9 options)

  7. Kent McFeely says:

    I hiked Rim to Rim for the 1st time, South to North via Bright Angel, on October 1 2016.

    Our group of four started from Bright Angel Trailhead at 5:40am. It was a magical experience, although quite tiring at the end. Certain sections of BA were washed out from a storm on September 29. Our group spent about 45 minutes enjoying Ribbon Falls and Split Rock. I refilled by hydration bladder with two liters of water at Cottonwood and it was almost gone by Roaring Springs!

    When the real climbing started I started to tire, and hiked at a slower pace. The North Rim is area is really beautiful! Finished at 6pm. Very enjoyable, I’d do it again.

    • We hiked North to South that same day. Probably passed you along the way at some point.

    • Aravind Vijayaraghavan says:

      kent,
      Planning a R2R by 3rd week of september and was lucky enough to get a camping permit in Bright Angel campground for a night. Planning to do South to North thru Phantom Ranch. Need your thoughts on how long does it take to get to north Rim from Phantom Ranch. (I am a relatively fit person of 33 yrs who never misses leg day. :).. but new to the grand canyon hike. I do 8-10 mile hikes every weekend)

  8. My rim 2 rim hike started 8 years ago. My sister and I took a road trip on our motorcycles to the Grand Canyon. I will never forget looking at the vastness of the canyon from the South rim. My first thought was “I have to see this from the bottom up”.

    Over the next 5 years, my life took a turn I wasn’t prepared for. After 30 years of marriage, I found myself alone and quite depressed. It was during this time that I found the world of hiking. I started with short day hikes and soon realized that nature was healing me. During this time, I spent every waking moment researching anything and everything I could on the subject of hiking and backpacking. I was preparing for the day I would walk to the bottom of that canyon and look up!

    September 2015, Labor Day weekend, I did a 3 day hike into Havasau Falls with a guide. I was unsure of myself and my abilities. It was a wonderful experience. I returned home knowing I had to go back.

    While doing more research for my next trip to the Canyon, I came across a website, Rim to Rim, and immediately thought, THAT’S IT!! Let the planning begin!! I felt I had won the lottery when I received my Bright Angel Campground permit. I’m really going to do this!!

    One week prior to my leaving for the Canyon, my daughter in law asked if she could join me. I was thrilled.
    On Sept 12, we arrived at Grand Canyon Lodge, North Rim here we are! We shuttled the next morning at 6:00 to North Kaibab trail head. This was it, a year of planning, and the moment has arrived!

    I can’t describe in words the beauty and awe the canyon offers on the trail. I couldn’t do the canyon justice. We were appreciative of every cloud that gave shade, every gust of wind that cooled our bodies, the sound of running water in the creeks to take our mind away from the pain in our legs and feet, the light rain that fell on us in the “box” when we needed it the most, the scrape on my knee when I toed a rock and fell because I haven’t had a scraped knee since I was 10, the laughter that Janae and I shared when I fell and couldn’t get up with the heavy pack on my back, and the little lizzards that brought back memories of when I was a child, and I wanted to put them in a jar and keep them forever. These are the things I remember from my hike down North Kaibab.

    We arrived at Phantom Ranch 10 hours after our departure. First thing on my to do list was that beer I had been thinking about all day! Cheers!!

    We made camp and went to the creek to cool our feet and reflect on our great adventure. Dinner of dehydrated meals and we were off to bed.

    We awoke at 4:00 and marveled at the beauty of the dark sky and billions of stars. The night sky is breath taking. We loaded up our gear and headed up Bright Angel Trail. Although dark, we stopped for a moment on the bridge over the Colorado River. We had just enough light to see the white caps. I can still hear her roar! She is massive and mighty.
    Daylight was soon upon us and we were still next to the river. I came upon a point that I felt was perfect to scatter some of my mothers ashes. She would have loved this place.

    The hike up Bright Angel was more difficult than I imagined. Our pace was slow in the beginning due to sore muscles, but soon we were hiking at a snails pace. With every stop, we would look back at our accomplishment. “See how far we have come” It was unbelievable!!

    It was around the 3 mile rest house that we heard the Grand Canyon Train. Oh My!! Music to our ears!! At the 1 1/2 mile rest house, we were seeing day hikers. YES!! We are going to make it to the top!!

    And so we did. With tears in my eyes and my body spent, I walked to the edge of the South Rim and allowed the wind to blow my mothers remaining ashes. I thanked her for giving me this wonderful life I live.

    I realize my post isn’t so much about the happenings along the trail. Hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim, for me, was more about learning my strengths and weaknesses, stepping out of my comfort zone, and giving thanks to mother nature for the grandeur, and thanks to the people in my life who have made me who I am today.

    My daughter in law and I have always been close, but we now share something very special. We supported each other with every step. When we were so tired and in pain, one of us would say to the other, “we got this”, and that support gave us the drive to keep going.

    I give thanks to the founders of this web site and to the posts of fellow rim to rim hikers. Your words gave me the courage and information I needed to start and finish this great adventure.

    I heard a song 4 weeks prior to leaving for the canyon. The words hit a nerve in me and my anxiety about this adventure disappear.

    “The first step is the one you believe in, and the second one might be profound…”
    So, when asked, “How was your hike”, I answer simply, “It was profound”.
    May all your journeys and adventures be profound!

    Dee

    • WOW! What a story Dee and congratulations on your hike. So happy to hear it went well and you found peace, comfort and perspective in the canyon. You described your experience beautifully and we enjoyed reading it!

      Welcome the the club!

  9. Returned for my second rim to rim on September 18th for a South to North R2R with a night at Phantom Ranch, and maybe a R2R2R, if all went well. Since check in at Phantom isn’t until 4 PM, I debated whether to start early and be bored or leave later, like around noon, and arrive just before check-in. Since I was staying in Flagstaff the night before the hike, I decided to start later. Unfortunately, a quick check of the weather revealed temperatures reaching 100 degrees in the canyon that day so I figured the sooner I started, the better. Despite my best efforts, I wasn’t able to start down until 10AM. Since I was planning on a potential rim to rim to rim, my pack was considerably heavier than I anticipated. Even with a quick purge before the hike, once loaded with an additional two liters of water, it was unnaturally HEAVY.

    I had never been on the Bright Angel trail before and didn’t really know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by the presence of shaded sections and the availability of water was fantastic. However, BA is a MAJOR thoroughfare. Compared to my experience on South Kaibab, I was amazed at the number of hikers and people who probably should not have been on the trail. I guess I am a hiking snob and prefer a bit more solitude. Once past the 3 mile rest stop, the trail thinned out and certainly by Indian Gardens all that remained were the serious hikers.

    By the time I reached Indian Garden the temperature had climbed to 90-95 and I decided to take a nice break. I had carried a bottle of what I thought was defizzed coke with me as from my glory triathlon days I find the caffeine and sugar to be revitalizing. I’m not sure if it was the change in pressure from the rim, the heat, or the shaking in my pack, but when I twisted the cap that bottle blew like the bottles in the Mentos videos! Myself and everything with me was now covered with a spray of sticky coke. Not as refreshing as I had hoped, but I savored what was left in the bottle.

    Now the hike “got real” as they say. The temperature creeped up to 100 and there seemed to be less shade – either real or perceived. Even where there was shade- it was 100 degrees in the shade and not very refreshing! I availed myself to wet my head and hat whenever I crossed the small creek which the trail intermittently crossed. There’s no need to mention how insanely hot it was as I descended the appropriately named Devil’s Corkscrew, but at least I wasn’t climbing up as several hikers I passed were. Eventually I met a Polish couple that was doing a South Kaibab to Bright Angel loop and we chatted. They were not thrilled at the looming switch backs I told them about. Curious as to what I had left to hike I asked them how much farther it was to the river- to which they replied- “it’s right around the corner.” Sure enough- if I had looked up I would have seen it! Sadly, I could not see the bridge and I really had no idea how much further it would be, but I trudged onward.

    Anyone who has done it knows that hiking in 100 degree heat….well, it sucks. Worse was the sandy section of the trail I was now on which seemed to further sap my will and made forward motion a chore. But the bridge was in sight and I knew Phantom Ranch was not far.

    Stepping from the arid blazing inferno outside into the air conditioned canteen at PR was like an oasis! I quickly downed two cups of ice cold lemonade and checked in to my cabin for the night. The shower in the cabin felt fantastic and rejuvenating. Dinner and breakfast were delicious. Although my ear plugs were useless, I actually slept well as the noise from the air cooler, which ran most of the night, drowned out the snoring (apparently there was no snoring in the woman’s cabin).

    I set out the following morning about 5:45 and pretty much had the trail to myself. Other than one couple, it seemed that everyone else staying at Phantom was hiking South. Hiking through the box in the predawn semi-darkness was great, although my head lamp seem to attract several bats. Further down the trail there was a gushing water main break which made me a little nervous about water availability ahead, but I made very good time to the Cottonwood campground where I refilled my camelback reservoir and took a break to eat. The short hike to the Manzanita rest area was still shaded and I had made good time for me. I topped off with water again because they had said there might not be water at the Supai tunnel and I probably started up about 9-9:30 AM.

    Once again, things got real. There was almost no shade on the North Kaibab trail! Now, I know from people that I met on the North rim the next day that started up a couple of hours behind me, that they found the trail to be well shaded. So, I guess it was just the time of day, but the sun was like a giant vacuum sucking the life out of me! Of course, there is no option but up, so I took breaks whenever I could find some shade. The last section before Supai tunnel was especially challenging, but there were other hikers coming down and it always helped to chat and take my mind off the climb.

    Luckily, the water was on at Supai as I had pretty much drank all of my water. There seemed to be a small group of people climbing up that had now gathered together, and there were also day hikers coming down. Also, the small trees that now appeared along the trail added a little bit of shade to the hike. Still, because of the altitude, it was a tough final 1.7 miles and I swore I would beg for a ride to the lodge once I made it to the top.

    It’s rather anticlimactic arriving at the North rim. On the South side, you have a spectacular view of the canyon, but on the North side you have the North Kaibab trail sign and some trees. I know when I show people the picture, they’ll be like- “that’s the North rim of the Grand Canyon”? Luckily, I have a nice shot from the Supai tunnel area so I’ll show them that one instead.

    As luck would have it, the couple that was hiking from Phantom arrived shortly after me and offered me a ride to the lodge. I accepted immediately and now had a decision to make. Do I hike back to the South rim or take the shuttle? Sadly, as I am older, I now lack the lack of judgement I had when I was younger and I was fairly certain I would be riding back. It’s not that I felt that bad, it’s just a daunting task to think about repeating what I had just done. As many who have done this realize, if I go down, up is not an option. Ultimately, the weather the next morning reinforced my decision as it was pouring rain- the consequence of hurricane/tropical storm Paine that had moved over Arizona. I really did not relish the 5.4 mile decent down the North Kaibab and the eventual ascent up to the South rim in the rain. I would not only be tired, but wet and tired and I bailed.

    I have some regrets about not hiking back, but honestly I had a blast on the hike. I met so many interesting people and repeat canyon hikers. My legs felt great, I did not have the “Kaibab shuffle,” and I gained invaluable canyon and desert hiking experience. Staying at Phantom was fantastic. There was only minor psychological trauma inflicted this year and I am already planning next years one day North to South R2R (assuming I have a pulse and I’m healthy). It’s one thing to look at the canyon, but a completely different experience to be engulfed by it. It’s a hike I hope to repeat many times. I don’t think I could ever grow tired of it. To all the other R2R-ers out there- happy and safe hiking. Hope to see you on the trail. Sorry for the long narrative!

    • Scott,

      We LOVED reading your story! You took the route less traveled (Bright Angel then up North Kaibab) as most will take South Kaibab down. Happy to hear you didn’t take on the R2R2R as it sounds like the weather was not good and you listened to your gut. No doubt you will back to head on that North to South Rim to Rim. I just did a one day solo R2R in May and went up South Kaibab as I love the solitude of that trail but if you take that route know you don’t have water or shade.

      Welcome to the club and let us know how your next hike goes!

  10. It’s been 3 months since my husband and I hiked rim to rim to rim. My knees no longer hurt, my toe nails have all re-grown, and I’ve long since stopped trying to get the pink dust out of my hiking clothes. And I think I’m going through a bit of the blues right now even though twice I said I’m never going back in that canyon, I really wish for another trip to go back.

    The canyon scarred me and challenged me for 6 months of training – running, setting the treadmill to the max incline, climbing stairs over my lunch breaks, and hiking every weekend we could make it work. But when we started down the South Kaibab Trail, we were just excited. . And the canyon seemed to give us strength as we hiked and it we so beautiful, and quiet, and peaceful. We parked at the Bright Angel Trailhead and took the hikers express bus to the South Kaibab trailhead. We started hiking at 4:30am and made it to Phantom Ranch just before it opened at 8:00am. Of course I had to write out a few post cards to mail them by mule, but I think we probably stayed there too long for how hot of a day it was. For those reading this blog in preparation for your first trip – if you are considering hiking rim to rim in a day, please realize that there is no shade and it’s hot in the inner canyon after 10:00am. I read the warnings but didn’t understand until we were hiking it. We took our shirts off to soak them in the water and kept them wet throughout the hike and used wet bandanas around our heads too. Per advice of rim to rim to rim hikers coming back that we talked with on the trail, we went to Ribbon Falls to cool off and find some shade. This was a good decision for us, but it was the one part in our two day hike that we got lost on the trail a few times, so a word of caution. After cooling off in the shade behind the waterfall our hike up was uneventful. It go quite a bit cooler as we went up in elevation. And after Cottonwood campground the scenery changes quite a bit and it’s beautiful too just in a different way. The incline gets pretty dramatic. We would walk about a half a mile and stop for a 10 min rest and repeat the whole way up. We got to the trail head on the North Rim at 6:30. We had a reservation at the lodge. I knew it was a rim hike at the top to get to the lodge, I didn’t realize there would be as much of an incline to keep walking up though. I was tired, my my knees hurt, and I think I was dealing with effects of the heat. My stomach was pretty upset on this portion of the hike. The nice thing though is that once you are at the lodge, they will bring you to your room by golf cart if you ask. We made it to our dinner reservation at 8:00pm. I called the bus and scheduled a ride home the next afternoon thinking we’d never make it back hiking – it was too hot.

    But the next morning we didn’t hurt that much and we hadn’t taken any pain medication at all yet so would know how are bodies were doing. The lodge looks over the canyon with these huge windows. Over breakfast we realized there was no way we could get on the bus. We had to go back in there. It literally was calling us. We rested and did a few of the small overlook trails and cancelled the bus. They only kept $10. We stopped at the general store for an early lunch and walked back to the trailhead. We started back down at noon and went slow. We didn’t want to get to Cottonwood before 6pm. Our plan was to hike through the inner canyon in the shade and then hike up Bright Angel Trail in the moonlight (with headlamps). This was a great plan. It was still hot but there was no sun beating down on us. And since we were taking our time we got great pictures and have fun talking with the hikers going up. We got to Phanom at 8:30pm and took a half hour rest. The whole canyon was lit up in the light of the full moon. It was breathtaking. I was lying on the bench thinking I am so blessed to be down here coupled with I hurt so bad and I’m so tired how do I possibly hike another 10 miles and up a mile in elevation. The next flat mile was the toughest mentally for me as I was terrified I couldn’t do it. But I ended up slipping on a rock and stepping into the creek getting my feet wet. Which was enough to wake me up from feeling sorry for myself. I changed into dry socks and plowed on this time with a better attitude. The way up was much easier than the North Rim despite being more tired. We would walk a half hour, then stop for 5 or 10 minutes to eat and repeat. We cheered each other along a lot. And it was very peaceful hiking in the dark. We did see a scorpion on the trail. I freaked out just a little until I realized it wasn’t running after me and it went on its way. We climbed out at 3:00am. It was very cold. We didn’t whoop cheer or high five. But neither of us cried either despite how much we hurt. We just hobbled as best we could to the car. Our hotel was the Red Feather. They didn’t charge us when we asked for a late checkout and let us stay until 1 so we could get some sleep. We spent the rest of our day on the rim looking over it and thinking – we did that – twice! But I never imagined wanting to do it again. What an incredible place! I am jealous of those planning your trip right now. I’ve promised myself though to keep training since you never know when the canyon will call you back.

    Hike safe and enjoy!

  11. Fern S. Toomey says:

    My husband and I have now completed the rim to rim hike for the second time. Last year we went down the north Kaibab, spent a night at Phantom Ranch and then hiked up the south Bright Angel. Last week we hiked down the south Bright Angel, spent the night at Phantom Ranch and hiked up the north Kaibab. This year we were joined on our journey by a very nice couple we met while leaving Phantom Ranch at 0400 in 2015. Additionally we were joined by two of their friends for the big hike on September 8, 2016. All 6 of us, 4 men and two women ranging in age from 57 to 76 trained as best we could for the rim to rim by hiking the hills of CA, ocean swimming, weight training, and, stair climbing.

    The hike down the Bright Angel began at 0600 in the cool morning air. The weather was quite enjoyable for most of the hike down to Phantom Ranch. It was a balmy 100 degrees by the time we arrived at noon. After getting cleaned up we joined fellow hikers in the canteen for ice cold lemonade, beer and M&Ms. We all looked forward to and enjoyed a delicious steak dinner before heading off to a Ranger lecture and or our dorms for the night.

    Our group hiked out at 0330 the next morning heading up the north Kaibab. We made our way to Cottonwood Campground by 0730 where we rested and ate before heading off once again. Everyone was doing well until we got to Manzanita rest stop. The sun was now on us for most of the remainder of our hike. Once we got to the trail cutoff to Roaring Springs I realized I no longer had any energy and felt as though I was not quite sure how I was going to finish the hike. One of our group is a biologist and recognized that I had not eaten enough and needed to get some much needed calories. He and another of our group provided me with a Cliff Bar, salt tablets, and GU. I followed all of this with water and started to feel better. We were able to get on our way again. It was decided that we should proceed slowly until we made it to the rim. With each stop I consumed more GU, salt, a bagel, electrolyte replacement and water. I was tired but knew I would be ok. Then something special happened. We came around a bend and coming toward us heading down the north rim was a group of Wounded Warriors. There were single and double amputees and a blind Warrior. Once seeing these fine, special men and women who have fought for our freedom and paid a price I realized I had nothing to complain about. We all thanked these warriors for their service and proceeded on our way. It makes one want to take the words, “I can’t” out of our vocabulary. The following day I had spoken to a woman who told me these warriors indeed made it to Phantom Ranch. Just seeing these men and women gave our journey much more meaning and such a sense of pride for them.

    We made it to Supai Tunnel and took another nice break. While we were told water was available at all the stops we quickly learned there was a problem with water at Supai. Fortunately we were able to fill our packs but the water was running quite slow. A Ranger happened by while we were at Supai. He was informed of the water situation. Everyone should know you can’t count on water being available. Always have a little extra with you. From Supai we took the trail one switchback at a time and finally exited the trailhead at 1500. My goal was to finish before our dinner reservation at 1815 so we were very successful.

    The last situation we had to deal with was how to get to the lodge from the trailhead. Nobody really wanted to hike the additional mile and a half after finishing the north rim. Fortunately for us there were some very nice people at the trailhead who gave us a ride back to the lodge.

    We all got cleaned up and enjoyed some cold beverages before heading off to a delicious dinner in the lodge dining room.

    My husband had already been talking about hiking rim to rim to rim next year. I told him I was done with the Grand Canyon for now. Another in our group also was not planning on doing this again. Oddly once that person returned back home the next day he was already on the phone trying to book a trip for six to hike rim to rim to rim for next September. Of course everything is booked already for next September but he will be calling for October. Something happens when one begins making these journeys. It keeps calling one back for more. I guess we will be setting ourselves up for enjoying another challenge next year.

    • Great story Fern and what perspective running into the Wounded Warriors brought to you for the climb out. Happy to hear your hike went so well and that the salt tablets and other food items helped you push through. We have no doubt you will be out there on the trails again!

  12. I made my R2R this July 15-18, 2016. I first hiked the canyon 25 years ago. I retired a few years ago and started hiking the canyon again with several hiking buddies. In 2013 I spent a summer at the canyon as a volunteer. This allowed me to hike many of the trails and enjoy several backcountry trips. All along I planned to hike the canyon rim-to-rim. My original trip included two of my buddies, but due to various conflicts I found myself on a solo hike.

    My trip stared with a night on the north rim at one of the hiker/biker campsites. The next day I started down the N Kaibab trail headed for my first stop the Cottonwood campground. The day’s weather started out very nice, but below Roaring Springs the temperatures soared above 100F. I made several stops along the way to eat and hydrate. Arriving at Manzanita (the pump house), I took a long rest, wetting myself and clothing. I arrived at Cottonwood around 3PM, set up camp, rested in the creek, and then climbed in bed for an early night only to be awaken around 2AM by ring tailed cats searching for a quick meal.

    Day 2 of the hike started out early morning. It’s neat waking up to the sound of pots clanking, gear being packed, and hikers filling water bottles. I had breakfast, packed up, and headed out. My destination was the Bright Angel campground and a steak dinner at the Phantom Ranch canteen. About 1.5 miles I passed the turn off and foot bridge to Ribbon Falls. What an incredible oasis in the canyon. After a few more miles, I found a great spot for lunch and a good nap before heading out again. Hiking down through the box the temperatures climbed and I found myself bushwacking down to the creek to cool off. I arrived at the Phantom Ranch canteen around 2PM and slammed down an ice cold beer. Then it was off to set up camp and clean up for dinner at the canteen. What a GREAT meal. Then another beer and another early night hitting the sack around 8PM.

    Day 3 of the hike started out with a hearty breakfast at the canteen. I decided to hang out for the day at Phantom Ranch to rest up befor heading up the Bright Angel trail. I spent the day relaxing in the creek, taking a nap, and enjoying the cool canteen and cold, cold water. I left Bright Angel around 4PM hiking up the Corkscrew in the shade and cooler temps. I arrived at Indian Garden around 7:30PM. I had a lite dinner, cleaned up, and set up camp. I stayed up a little later this evening as I was contemplating hiking out at midnight. That thought soon left my mind and I crawled into bed around 9PM.

    Day 4. The last leg of the hike. I’ve made this hike several times, but today was different. I was exhausted from the trip and hadn’t slept well last night. I had a good breakfast and an extra cup of coffee before packing up. I headed out around 9AM. The weather today was perfect. The monsoon had returned and kept the temps in the mid-80s with overcast skies. I made it to the 3 mile RH where I took a long break. I started up and arrived at the 1.5 mile RH a few hours later. Here I took a nice nap and had a good lunch. The last mile and a half was a challenge. I was tired, but I knew food, a cold beer, and hot shower waited at the top. Passing through the lower tunnel, I knew it was coming to an end. I made it up to the cinch up and through the upper tunnel. The adrenalin kicked in and I picked up the pace finishing up in the rain.

    I had a nice meal at the Bright Angel lodge and enjoyed a nice hot cup of coffee before heading over to the shower house. After a hot shower I climbed into the Jeep and headed home to Gilbert, AZ. Now I’m planning my next trip!

    • Olan, sounds like you had a great trip and took your time hiking the canyon. Welcome to the club!

      • Thanks! It was a great and memorable trip. I’m heading back up in a few weeks for some volunteer work and plan to stop by the BC office to see if there’s a chance for a walk up permit in October. Fingers crossed.

  13. Mike Carter says:

    Just completed my first R2R on 8/17/16. Amazing experience. I posted pictures on Facebook pages for Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers and my own personal page. They are open to the public.

  14. Hi there. Enjoying all of the above posts. Have been planning my first R2R hike for a couple of years-and so excited that it’s coming up in October, 2016. I’ve dealt with plantar fasciitis (ugh) and knee arthritis (just got my last shot) during this time, so happy to have somewhat overcome those obstacles.
    I have been scouring over details and hope I have covered everything. Hotel reservations made, permits obtained. If someone sees something off target- feel free to let me know : )
    We (my BF and I, age 51 and 46) are flying into Phoenix and driving to South rim where we will be spending 1 night. Plan to stock up on any last minute supplies. Taking the Trans canyon shuttle in the morning to the north rim and will be staying at the Lodge. Dinner reservations made. Plan to leave as early as we can the next day, but may take advantage of the 5:30 breakfast and get a pack lunch to go. I understand there is a shuttle to the trailhead, not sure if this is necessary.
    Will hike North Kaibab Trail and spend night 1 at Cottonwood, stopping at Roaring Springs on the way. Hope to leave at first light or earlier, stop at Ribbon Falls and land at Bright Angel Campground. I keep calling for dinner cancellations for Phantom Ranch but no luck yet. Next day will hike to Indian Gardens for night 3. Day 4 will hike out and have room reserved at South Rim. Next day will stay overnight in Sonoma and fly out following morning.
    We both hike frequently but haven’t done multiday trips. Planning at least one in the next couple weeks as well as many hill climbs as we can. Working on gear prep and food organization. Learning something new with each hike- just ordered blister tape from amazon : ). I hope I have it all covered.

    • Sounds like you have it all covered. There is a pack list on our hike it page. Since you have had knee issues best bet is to bring poles and maybe knee straps for support as the descent is very tough on the knees. You have built an amazing trip. Good luck and we look forward to welcoming you and your wife to the club!

  15. What I learned working off my 7 Thanksgiving plates running/hiking 46-54 (depending on if you ask the Internet or my GPS) miles, and climbing ~10k ft through the Grand Canyon…

    There was a sign on the first descent “Going down is optional, coming up is mandatory.” I thought about this not so much as I trotting down the gentle slopes, but very much as I stumbled up the final 4.5 miles, heaving and trying to keep from crying and my heart to stop beating like a hyperactive college kid on adderall. I said no less than 5 times, “I can’t do it, I’m just go to stop.” Then I’d realize that wasn’t a really an option. Well I could stop but that most likely meant I’d a) face hypothermia, b) a bobcat eating my face, c) or an embarrassing and expensive rescue from a park ranger only a few miles from the rim. Moral of the story is that it’s easy to get into something – a bad relationship, addiction, unhealthy lifestyles, financial issues, legal problems, a canyon – but is a lot more work to get out of it. Still coming up is mandatory, one foot in front of the other and if telling yourself you CAN do it doesn’t work, remind yourself that you HAVE to do it.

    Microspikes are the s. h. i. t. Especially for clumsy, graceless folks.

    I’ve never been worried about being alone in most areas of life….except these types of adventures. After the first seven miles or so with Linda, and a few miles with my old CG’s niece (small world) I completed the majority of the distance alone. I knew this going into it and almost cancelled the whole trip, but I figured it was time to learn how to be alone – to learn how to pull myself out of dark places, to be the only one responsible for me. I wasn’t entertained by anyone or (gasp) the center of anyone else’s entertainment. I didn’t like it. I would have given my next paycheck to have just one of my friends or family with me, to share my misery. But being alone has its utility – and I learned a lot about myself in the 15 hours I spent wandering through the wilderness. You cannot and should not go through life alone, but you absolutely need to know how to be wholly self-reliant and comfortable with just yourself.

    Finally, probably my favorite realization, you can accomplish anything as long as you’re willing to sacrifice time and comfort.

  16. My sister and I completed our first Rim to Rim (North to South) hike on June 11 in one day. We stayed at the Grand Canyon Lodge the night before and caught the hiker’s shuttle from the lodge at 5 am (sunrise was at 5:10 am). It was a beautiful descent down to Phantom Ranch. We saw a few hikers and some runners but the North Kaibab trail is relatively empty compared to the Bright Angel trail in the summer. There was a pipe break near Manzanita. Although we didn’t stop at Ribbon Falls, we heard it was a nice and short detour.

    We really lucked out with the weather since it was only 97 at Phantom Ranch (the weekend before was 115 and it will probably be close to 110 tomorrow). June is probably not the best time to do this hike because of the heat. Salty snacks, hydration pack, cooling towel (Frogg Toggs), and a wide brim hat with mesh are highly recommended.

    It was a beautiful but tough hike! I would also recommend doing this hike in more than 1 day (spending a night at Phantom Ranch) so you would have time to go to Ribbon Falls. We spent the night at Maswik Lodge after we finished the hike and caught the Trans-Canyon shuttle the next morning back to the North Rim, which was alot of fun meeting people who had also completed the Rim to Rim hike or were going to hike it the next day. Eric (our driver) was really interesting too.

    Michelle, thanks for founding the Rim to Rim club and for all the great hiking info. I really enjoyed reading your “Brand Loyal” book, too. My sister and I proudly wore our Rim to Rim t-shirts the day after we completed the hike. Best wishes to all and be safe!

    • Hi Jan,

      Welcome to the club and so happy to hear that you and your sister had a great experience! A one day Rim to Rim is tough but sounds like you lucked out on the weather especially for June!

      Thank you so much for your support of the club and for purchasing our products and my book. I am happy to hear you enjoyed reading it and as you know by reading it, this club and the people that make up this club inspire me as well!

      Happy trails to you and maybe we will see each other out there one day!

  17. We are planning to hike rim to rim this summer, providing we obtain our permit for early June. We have been training, hiking each weekend, starting to hike with weight next week. We went on an 8 day raft trip down the colorado in 2014 and when camping, we used cots, not tents. We have found some very light camping cots.

    We want to ask if this is a good idea, using cots, no tent? Thanks.

    • Colleen,

      That would depend on the weight of the cots on our pack. If you have not hiked the canyon prior to this you must realize the ascent you are embarking on. You have an elevation gain of 5,850 feet on the North Kaibab trail, 4,860 feet on the South Kaibab trail, and 4,440 feet on the Bright Angel trail so if you can haul that cot up that elevation gain, good to go. We recommend keeping packs under 30 lbs.

      Good luck and hope you get that permit!

  18. Started hiking the Grand canyon Rim to Rim about 5 years ago when I was 35. At the time , I witnessed three men come out the North Side on their way to going back and completing a Rim2Rim2Rim. I was shocked,stunned to say the least. Every year since then, I was completing Rim2Rim in some capacity. Over three days, two days then eventually in one day, going down South Kaibab and up The North Rim in 9 hours and 45 minutes. After that trip, we immediately planned and began training for our first Rim2Rim2Rim on Oct. 10 2015. We began at 215am, my buddy reached the North Rim in 6 hours 45 minutes. I reached in 723. I eventually caught him on the South Kaibab trail ascent, 2 miles from the top. I finished the Rim2Rim2Rim in 16 hours 30 minutes, my buddy finished n 16 hours 37 minutes. What an amazing , grueling , mentally demanding , adventure!!

  19. Carl Ignash says:

    My 2 friends Len and Bill and I hiked in on the North Kaibab on October 1st, camped at the Bright Angel Campground and hiked out the South Kaibab on October 2nd. We are all in our late 60’s and did not set any speed records, but we certainly enjoyed this wonderful treasure. I hiked in on the Bright Angel and out on the South Kaibab in 2013 while my wife did the mule ride to Phantom. That trip really stoked my desire to hike rim to rim. When Len later told me that if I ever go back he’d like to go along, I jumped at the opportunity. I couldn’t have had 2 better and more compatible hiking partners. At one point on the way out we met a group coming down and one of the ladies commented that something wasn’t quite right because we were hiking up and laughing. It was that kind of trip. I really enjoyed Roaring Springs, the Box and the open views offered on the South Kaibab on the way out. I know the South Kaibab is not recommended for hiking out, but I have done it twice and both times was glad to trade carrying more fluids for 3 less miles and as I mentioned earlier, the views are spectacular.

  20. I hit the North Kaibab Trail at 5:30 AM on 9/31/15, about an hour before sunrise. Right now I could be hiking anywhere. It is dark, but the moon is yielding some valuable light. The trail is steep and uneven. After about 3 miles I reach  the first rest stop, (Supsi Tunnel), and the sun is starting to peer over the horizon. It is reveling one of the most amazing places in earth, the Grand Canyon, 17 million years in the making. This is a water stop, but I was already warned by the rangers that it would be dry. There is a pipe break just north of Phantom Ranch so there will be no water available on the North Rim. This has made my 24 mile rim to rim even more challenging. Between my camel pack and the extra water, I’m carrying an additional 25 pounds. The next 11 miles are mostly downhill and I have become a human shock absorber. I reach Phantom Ranch around 11:30 and it is already 100°. I have descended 6000feet and am still 2000 feet above sea level at the bottom of the canyon. After filling my water supply, a couple PBJ sandwiches made by my lovely wife, a couple splashes of the cool Colorado River on my face, and I am ready for the 10????? mile accent up the Bright Angel Trail. The first mile of the trail is like walking in soft sand at the beach. I had to stop 3 times just to empty my shoes. It’s steep, hot and uneven. I’m probably averaging only a mile and a half an hour. Wow, I trained about a year, specifically for this, and I’m feeling taxed. Did I train hard enough…long enough? My body will soon let me know. I reach the 3 mile (to go) rest stop at 3:00. I text Roxanne, who has hiked down to the mile and a half mark, and let her know I’ll be there at 4. My energy tank is starting to register empty. I walk the final stretch with Roxanne and kiss the ground at the BA trailhead at 5:00. I now respect all the signs in the park that say NOT to hike rim to rim in a day….a little more. I will still do it again.

  21. Elisa Ramirez says:

    Its been almost a week since we did our rim to rim. There were 3 of us. Me, my boyfriend, and our friend Mike. We completed it Oct. 2nd, 2015. We did it in one day. The plan was not to do it in one day, but due to our permit denial, we had no choice. also because of my stubborn self and insistence that this be crossed off the bucket list.

    We arrived at the south rim on Oct 1 and took the 130pm trans-shuttle to north rim to stay the night at the campgrounds. We had a bus full, so when we were the only ones getting off at the campgrounds, and NOT the lodge, we knew, we made it a little harder on ourselves for the next day. Since we’d all be hiking with full packs. (Tents, sleeping bags, food, water, clothes, etc)

    Btw, North rim is absolutely beautiful at sunset!After setting up camp, we went and took some amazing sunset pictures.

    Next day, our goal was to start at 6am, but after packing up and walking to the trailhead, we ended up actually starting at 7am. We reached the first water stop after 40 min, so i was pretty confident we’d conquer this canyon in one day with no problems. Oh silly me. The boys were much faster than me, so i was behind the entire time. Initially, before we started, our goal was to reach phantom at noon. But my toes were already beginning to hurt around 10ish and my back was killing me from my pack. So noon goal became a 1pm goal. Our friend mike reached there fairly early, so he came back up to meet up with us and take my back down to phantom. about half a mile. Talk about an angel! We took off our shoes and it was the best feeling in the world. i tried to moleskin some spots, but they were no help on what i was about to conquer. And the legs began to cramp. oh boy.

    2pm we left phantom and started the way uphill. The colorado river was massive and raging. Slightly scary for someone afraid of the water, but beautiful, nonetheless. Then came the never-ending switchbacks. i was promised water at indian gardens, so that was my mind goal. Just get to the water! But by that time, i was beat. i was hoping i can get a site and just stay the night. But my boyfriend told me, it wouldn’t be any easier the next morning, so just keep going. Okay, fine.

    Next was the 3mile rest stop. 3 miles left, and it was already approaching 6pm. Our goal of 12 hours was obviously not gonna happen. Our friend Mike, prob would have finished, if he didn’t help with my pack a second time, getting us to the 3mile mark. There we met a ranger, who was there to assist rim to rimmers who looked like they couldn’t finish. She had extra sleeping bags, and water to boil, and ramen soup for sodium. I thought this was amazing for the park to do. And I really, really wanted to stay, but again, boyfriend talking in my ear to finish. I may have cried here a little.

    Next stop was the 1.5 mile water break. it was already dark by the time we reached here. Our headlamps came on around 7pm. The most gut wrenching thing is looking up and seeing all the headlamps and seeing just how far you have left to go. It was like stars across the mountain. So far away. I was at the point of nausea, bc i didnt pack enough food and my body was fatigue. Electrolytes and water were making me sick. The stops became more frequent. Every 8min, to be exact. “Just leave me here, i have my sleeping bag” i kept saying. Seems quite funny now, but i was serious then. haha.

    Finally after 14hours, 9pm, we reached to top of bright angel trail. i cant tell you the relief, i felt seeing a building and a soda machine, and life again! All of a sudden, my nausea went away, my heart started acting normal. It was all in my head. It was over. 🙂 Next stop, Mather campground for sleep!

    I don’t recommend anyone doing this in one day with full packs. Unless of course, you’re used to this sort of thing. But for normal folk, from Texas, i felt a piece of my soul was left in that canyon. I’m so happy its over and after a week to reflect, its actually pretty amazing what we accomplished. What this whole page of people accomplished.

    • Elisa, great story and explains why a Rim to Rim in one day is difficult but we understand the logistic troubles of a permit. You were fortunate to be there as PSAR and the park were doing a study on Rim to Rim hikers. Nice of the Rangers do to that! Happy to hear you made it. The canyon will call you back and maybe minus the heavy pack! Welcome to the club!

    • Beth Martin says:

      Elisa….thank you for sharing your story. My husband and myself along with another couple plan to hike the canyon for the first time this coming October 2-4. I would love to talk with you more about your experience and weather conditions. We are hiking rim to rim but with a one night stay at Phantom Ranch. Would appreciate any and all advice.

  22. James LaJeunesse says:

    I had originally planned to make the rim to rim hike over four days, but unfortunately, my back country permit was declined by the National Park Service. So I decided to do it over two days, South to North, spending the night at Phantom Ranch. I called Xanterra reservations almost every week hoping for an opening at Phantom Ranch between my air travel arrival and departure dates. I finally succeeded in getting a bunk in the male dorm for Friday, Sept 11. I also booked dinner, early breakfast the next morning and a bag lunch.

    My wife, grandson and I arrived in Phoenix at noon on Sept 10. After picking up a few camping supplies, we headed up to the Grand Canyon, arriving around 5pm. We set up camp in the Mather campground, cooked our dinner by campfire and then went to bed.

    I was up early the next morning and anxious to hit the trail, but needed to do some running around Grand Canyon Village to make sure that my wife and grandson were well provisioned before I left on the hike.

    I started down the Bright Angel Trail at 10am (the time your not supposed to be hiking in the Grand Canyon). I was carrying a large backpacking pack with approximately 20 lbs of equipment, spare clothing, trail snacks, electrolyte replacements and 5 liters of water. I made to the 1.5 mile Rest House without any problems. During the hike to the 3.0 mile Rest House, my toes were starting to hurt since they tend to jam into the front of my hiking boots when going down hill. The hike to Indian Gardens was a little more painful as my toes really began to hurt. While in Indian Gardens I came across a warning sign that stated something to the effect of “Do not attempt the rim to rim in one day…. Many who have tried suffered serious injury or death…”. I looked at the image of the man that was on the warning sign and it looked like an Asian man. I thought, are they trying to tell me something. You see, I am Japanese, despite my French Canadian last name. Fortunately, I was making the hike over two days, so no worries.

    I made it to the River Rest House with some effort, as my toes were really killing me now. The rest of the hike to Phantom Ranch was much easier since the terrain flattened out quite a bit. I would have made it to Phantom Ranch by 5PM if I hadn’t been confused by all the detour signs at the confluence of the Bright Angel Trail and the South Kaibab Trail. I mistakenly hiked all the way to the black bridge and when I saw that it would take me back across the river to the south side, I stopped. Fortunately, someone was coming across the bridge and knew the way to Phantom Ranch. The mistaken detour did have one benefit. I saw able to see a rare sight, a Grand Canyon rattlesnake sunning itself on the trail. After the snake moved into the nearby brush, my temporary guide and I continued our way to the trail that lead to the Phantom Ranch. We parted company as he headed South and I North.

    I made it to the Phantom Ranch around 6PM. It was starting to get dark and I parked myself outside the dining hall, waiting for the dinner bell to ring. In the mean time, I refilled my hydration bladder and watched the bats flying around the lamp post, catching the insects attracted by light. The dinner bell rang right on time at 6:30PM and I and the other hikers filed into the dining hall. I was too tired and sore to eat, but made it a point to eat at least one serving of everything, except dessert. I contemplated having a beer (or two), but decided in my tired state that it would be bad idea. My conversations with the other hikers and their stories were very entertaining. I was especially surprised to learn that for some, this was not their first rim to rim hike. They had done it before and came back for more!! Being very tired, I skipped the ranger talk, which under other circumstances, I would have attended eagerly. Instead, I found my bunk, washed up a bit and went to bed.

    I was up early the next morning and was first to be waiting outside the dining hall for early breakfast. At a little before 5Am, no bell this time, just a verbal to come in and eat. Which I did and it was very good. At 5:15AM, I grabbed my bag lunch, put it in my backpack, donned by LED headlamp and headed out on the North Kaibab Trail.

    It was relatively cool and shady for the much of the first half of the North Kaibab Trail. There were long stretches of trail where I did not see anyone else. As the morning progressed further, more hikers appeared. Some heading toward Phantom Ranch and others heading up the North Kaibab trail, bypassing me. The terrain being flat, my toes were not hurting, so I was able to make reasonable time all the way to Cottonwood Campground. At Cottonwood, I stopped to have my some of my bag lunch and refill one of my 0.5 liter water bottles. I would discover later that I should have filled all four of my water bottles.

    The hike up to the Pump House was a bit challenging since I was beginning to tire. I was just passed the Pump House when I discovered that my 3.0 liter hydration bladder was nearly empty. I am not sure if I drank it all from Phantom Ranch or a good quantity of water had leaked out because I had not properly reinstalled my mouth piece on the end of the hose and I left the hose hanging down during the hike. I still had some water with electrolyte replacement in one of my 0.5 liter bottles and this sustained me until I reached water near Roaring Springs. Being 4.7 miles from the top, I made the mistake of not refilling my hydration bladder and only filled two of my 0.5 liter water bottles.

    I made it the 3 miles to Supai Tunnel, drinking almost all my water. The remaining 1.7 miles to the trail head became very challenging, as the altitude and low water supply began to affect my mobility. Fortunately, halfway between Supai Tunnel and the trail head, two young ladies who had come down the trail to one of the overlooks saw that I was a bit distressed and gave me a bottle of water. Thank you again, ladies!!

    I made to the top around 5:30PM, 2.5 hours too late for the Trans-Canyon shuttle. I sat down on a big boulder at the trail head, resting and contemplating my next move. I considered hiking to the campground (0.7 miles away) to see if they had an available campsite or to the Grand Canyon Lodge (1.7 miles away) to see if they had a cabin available. Again, good fortune from living a good life presented itself. You see, there was a group of hikers having a party of sorts at the trail head. They were there to celebrate the completion of the hike by each member of their group as they came off the trail. They also welcomed me and others who made it out. They were very kind, offering me water, which accepted, and delicious looking cookies, which I declined because I was too tired to eat. They graciously gave me a ride to the Grand Canyon Lodge in their van, saving me another 1.7 miles of hiking.

    Good fortune again!! There was one cabin available at the Grand Canyon Lodge. It was a six person cabin, but I snapped it up. Had the porter drive me over to my cabin in his electric cart and he even carried my backpack for me. He mentioned that I was walking much better than most people he had similarly serviced. It made me feel better to know that others were in worse condition after the rim to rim. I tipped the porter generously (I hope) and settled into my room.

    I telephoned my wife who was still at the South Rim and told her that I would most likely not be back until late the following morning. I next called the Trans-Canyon Shuttle to let them know that I made it out of the canyon and would need a ride back to the South Rim in the morning. My wife informed and my ride the next morning secured. I showered, put on clean clothes and hiked (walked) to the deli next to the Grand Canyon Lodge. I ordered and ate a pulled pork barbecue sandwich, which was very good. I went back to my cabin and went bed.

    I was up early the next morning, cleaned up a bit and headed over to the Grand Canyon Lodge to check out. Next, I got coffee and a scone at the Saloon, sat down on a bench outside and waited for the Trans-Canyon Shuttle to arrive. The shuttle showed up around 6:30Am. We loaded up around 7AM, drove the 4 hours back to the South Rim, where I was reunited with my wife and grandson.

    I realize that hundreds of hikers do the rim to rim each year. Some in one day and others over multiple days. The ages of the hikers run from the very young (late teens) to the very mature (over 60). And both the very young and the very mature find the hike to be easy or very challenging. I am 62 years old and live near sea level in Pennsylvania. I found the rim to rim hike to be very challenging despite 6 months of training. I found it to be an exhilarating experience and would have not missed it for world. I am already considering another rim to rim for next year, North to South this time.

    To my now fellow rim to rimmers, I am proud to be member of an elite group of adventurers.

    Hike on!!

    • James,

      Love your story and so happy to hear your good karma! Welcome to the club and proud to have you and others in it as you have joined an elite group of the less than 1%.

      BTW – I am originally from Pennsylvania (Quakertown) so totally understand where you are coming from. And thanks so much for your support of the club via the purchase of a sticker and t-shirt. They are on the way! Missing Tastykakes and a Philly Cheesesteak right now! Only downside of living out here = THE EAST COAST FOOD!

      CHEERS!

      • James LaJeunesse says:

        As promised (to myself), I completed another rim to rim hike in August 2016. This time, North to South. And once again, my back country permit for a camp site at Cottonwood Campground was declined by the Back Country Permit Office. Which means, I was facing another 13.9 mile hike from the North rim to Phantom Ranch. Determined to break this long hike into two parts, I arrived at the Grand Canyon’s South rim in the early afternoon on August 16 and went directly to the Back Country Permit Office. The young Park Ranger, Shannon, behind the counter was very helpful and very patient. She was not able to grant me a permit for Cottonwood that afternoon, but suggested that I return the following morning when the office opened again and she would call the North rim’s permit office to check for openings at Cottonwood. Early the next morning, I was back at the Back Country Permit Office and waited outside until they opened. As promised, Shannon, called the North rim permit office and was able to give me a permit for Cottonwood Campground for August 18th.

        I spent the next two nights in Mather Campground on the South Rim and took the Trans-Canyon Shuttle to the North Rim on the morning of August 18th. The shuttle dropped me off at the North Kaibab trail head at about noon. The weather was cool, overcast and looked like rain, so I put on my jacket and put my rain cover on my backpack. After allowing the other hikers on the shuttle to start their hikes, I hit the trail. Just before I reached Coconino Overlook, the skies opened up with pea size hail and rain. The hail stung when it hit my exposed skin, so I sheltered under a big tree and waited for the bad weather to blow over. Twenty minutes later, I was on the trail again.

        The trail was now full of puddles, mud and soggy mule dung. Despite the mess, I made good progress down the trail and eventually reached the side trail to Roaring Springs. Since I skipped this side trail on my first rim to rim hike, I was determined to check it out this time. I hiked down the side trail and could see a big spring coming out of the side of the canyon wall. As I hiked further down the trail, I saw two other smaller springs emerging from the canyon wall. When I reached the end of the trail, I was expecting to see “the” big roaring spring, but only found outhouses and potable water. Did I not hike far enough or was that it? Not needing to use the outhouse or load up on water, I headed back up the side trail and got back onto the main trail. The rain had stopped completely now and I was making good progress on the trail when I encountered a group of young hikers standing about on the trail. One young hiker had a collapsible gallon jug of red wine and offered me some. Since I needed to keep my wits about me, I graciously declined. Another young hiker in the group asked if I had any vitamin C. Thinking that she was asking me if I needed vitamin C, I said I had everything I needed and continued on the trail. It only occurred to me much later that she wanted Vitamin C and was not offering me some. My apologies to the young hiker. I would have gladly shared my electrolyte replacement with her had I understood her request.

        I made it to Cottonwood Campground and arrived there at about 5:30PM. I set up camp, ate a cold dinner and went to bed. I was up early the next morning, struck my camp and began eating a cold breakfast when the young hikers in the next camp site offered me a hot cup of coffee, which I eagerly accepted and was very grateful to receive. The young hikers hit the trail while I finished my breakfast and drank the last of the hot coffee they gave me. After about an hour on the trail, the same young hikers, who gave me hot coffee, came up on the trail behind me. This was a big surprise since I expected them to be miles ahead of me. I guess they were delayed leaving Cottonwood or went off on some side trail. I didn’t remember passing them. I waited on the trail for them to catch up, so I could let them pass. I was taking pictures of the surroundings while I waited and the young man in the group offered to take my picture. I accepted, the picture was taken and the young hikers continued on ahead me. I never saw them again on the trail.

        I reached the side trail for Ribbon Falls later that morning. Thinking that it may be another disappointment like Roaring Springs, I debated whether I should take the time to go see it. Since I may never be in the canyon again and I had plenty of time, I decided I should take the short hike to see Ribbon Falls. I am glad I did. Although not big, it was very beautiful. I especially liked the big dome shaped rock with the green moss growing on it. The water passing over the holes in the rock formed curtains of droplets, which simmered in the sunlight. This sight was well worth the extra time.

        I hit the main trail again and was at Phantom Ranch in the early afternoon. I was hot, dirty and stinky. I checked in, got my bunk assignment and went directly to take a shower and put on clean clothes. The temperature at Phantom Ranch was in the mid-90s and so it was not uncomfortable to be outside, but I opted to wait out my time before dinner inside the Phantom Ranch canteen. I filled out a postcard and mailed it by mule train, bought a locally brewed beer and enjoyed it while talking to the other hikers and the other guests who had arrived by mule. Promptly at 4PM, we were all kicked out of the canteen so the staff could prepare the first dinner. There was a ranger talk at 4PM, which I attended and found to be very interesting and entertaining. When the talk ended, it was dinner time. After a long hike, the steak dinner was very welcome and tasted great. There was another ranger talk later that evening, but I decided I should go to bed so I would be up in time for the 5AM breakfast.

        I was up at 4AM the next morning, cleaned up as quietly as I could so as to not disturb the others still sleeping in the bunk house. I loaded up on water outside the canteen and waited until they opened. Breakfast was announced and I went inside and had a most welcome hot meal. After breakfast, I stayed back awhile to once again let the other hikers go ahead of me.

        The hike to the South rim on the Bright Angel Trail was going to be long and hot, so I took my time. After crossing the silver bridge, I stopped at the River Rest House and took the short side trail down to the river. I stuck my hand into the Colorado River and it was cold. Took some pictures and had my picture taken at the river’s edge by one of the other hikers who had also come down to see the river up close. Somewhat rested, headed back up the trail toward the South rim. I made steady, but slow progress up the Bright Angel Trail until I reached Indian Gardens. There were a number of hikers resting there at Indian Gardens, some heading up to the rim and others heading down to the river. I found a spot in the shade, took off my back pack and filled up on water. I rested there at Indian Gardens for about half an hour before heading back up the trail. The air was getting thinner now, I was getting shorter of breath the higher I went. It took about two hours to reach 3-Mile Rest House, since I had to stop every 100 yards to catch my breath. I took another long rest at 3-Mile Rest House before heading to 1-1/2 Mile Rest House. I was seeing more and more hikers now. Mostly day hikers heading down from the South rim. Many of them stopped and asked how I was doing. Perhaps out of curiosity or concern seeing a senior citizen with a big back pack hiking up the trail. For those who asked, I explained that I had started at the North rim two days before. They were astounded that such a thing could be done. Or astounded that an old man would attempt such a thing.

        I reached 1-1/2 Mile Rest House at about 3:30PM and took a short rest this time, being anxious to reach the South rim as soon as possible. I was moving even slower now, but was still making steady progress. I stopped often to catch my breath and answer questions from the day hikers heading down the trail. I so impressed one older couple from Europe when I explained I was doing a rim to rim hike, the husband asked me to pose with his wife for a photo, which I did. I eventually reached the South rim at 5:30PM and ceremoniously placed by foot on the big stone Bright Angel Trail Head marker. I rested there at the trail head for a while and then debated whether I should take the shuttle bus to parking lot D where I had left my rental car or walk there. I decided I should walk to my car and spare the shuttle bus passengers from the stink of my hours on the trail. Surprisingly, I was still walking quite well and made it to the car without difficulty. Thus ended my second rim to rim hike.

        For Park Ranger Shannon, who gave me the back country permit for Cottonwood Campground, thank you! For all those other rim to rim hikers on the trail who assisted me, thank you! For the day hikers who were astounded by an old man hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim, try it yourself!

        • James,

          We loved reading your story! It sounds like you met some very nice people on the hike as well as Park Ranger Shannon. Your description took us back on the trail as you described everything like we were out there and it sounds like you took your time! Happy to hear you took the side trip to Ribbon Falls. We don’t know about Roaring Springs as it should have been flowing.

          Congratulations on your hike!

  23. Mel Saad Jr says:

    My friend Tim talked me into going to the Grand Canyon to do the Rim to Rim to Rim. We started at the South Rim and hiked down the South Kaibab Trail and over and up the North Kaibab. I was pretty tired after finishing the 21 + miles. It took us about 10 hours because of the photo stops and of course the cold lemonade at Phantom Ranch – but it took our wives a good 4 hour drive to go from the South Rim to the North Rim by car. We rewarded ourselves with a good meal at the North Rim Lodge Restaurant. We spent the night at the very cool Western Cabin and saw an awesome sunset. The next day we got up and saw an awesome sunrise and then proceeded down the North Rim and of course stopped at Phantom Ranch for another ice cold lemonade and then hiked up to the South Rim via the Bright Angel Trail. We actually felt stronger the second day of hiking this almost 24 mile trail again in about 10 hours. But our poor wives spent another 4 hours in the car driving back to the South Rim form the North Rim. 🙁 This was one of the most physical challenging things I have ever done but also one of the most rewarding. Seeing pictures of the Grand Canyon is one thing, but to hike it and live it and experiencing it is totally another thing that if one is able to do, they should take the time and challenge and adventure of doing it. This brief posted comment doesn’t even come close to telling the whole story but am so thankful for this opportunity to share.

  24. I completed my first rim to rim on September 7, 2015 (one day hike). Although the following is a LONG narrative of my hike, my words cannot possibly capture the epic beauty and harshness of the canyon.

    After visiting the Grand Canyon about 5 years ago, and being mesmerized by it’s stunning beauty, I decided that one of my bucket list items would be to do a one day solo rim to rim hike. Finally, the opportunity came and Labor Day 2015 would be my shot- I would have six months to prepare. I had hoped to be able to do the hike a little later in the fall when it would be cooler, but that was the only time I would be able to get off from work. I am an ex-triathlete and pretty fit person. I hiked every weekend (typically between 12-15 miles, but up to 20) and always carried a fully loaded pack. I climbed Mount Washington, Mount Garfield, and did some additional hiking in Canada about a month before my planned canyon hike- I felt really well prepared.

    My wife and I set out from Connecticut and flew to Las Vegas. It would be A LOT of driving over the next few days and my wife had agreed to come along to be my support crew. After hundreds of miles of desert the drive into the North rim was simply fantastic. The majestic pine forests and beautiful flowing meadows were unanticipated, but spectaular to behold. We checked into our cliff side cabin- it was rustic, but was more than adequate for the one night we would be staying there.

    After putting our bags in the cabin, we decided to head down to the North Rim Lodge. It was then we noticed the oncoming ominous looking clouds. The sign at the entry ranger station had indicated a 30% chance of thunderstorms, but this looked more like a 100% chance. Sure enough, as soon as we entered the lodge, the sky opened up- pouring rain, hail, and lightning engulfed the canyon. The storm was massive and all I could think about was the potential for flash floods in the canyon and washed out trails. According to the park ranger, more extreme weather was predicted for the next day- the day I had planned my rim to rim hike.

    More bad news shortly followed- there was a serious water main break in the park- there would be no water on the North rim and water at Phantom Ranch was “restricted”. Water was available on the South rim that day, but the ranger could not guarantee there would be water the next day. Six months of preparation, and everything that could go wrong was coming together in a perfect storm. I had a Life Straw and water purification solution, but I hadn’t really considered that I would have to use them. Then- my wife read the Park Service material in our cabin and really started to freak out. She knew what I was going to do would be dangerous, but the reality struck home when she read their dire warning- “do not attempt to walk to the river and back in a day.”

    Needless-to-say, I didn’t sleep well listening to the rain falling on the cabin roof and now more anxious than ever about my hike.

    I had planned to start at 4 AM, but decided to hold back and start at 5 AM instead- assuming there would be more hikers starting at that time and that maybe I could at least begin my trek with some other people. Because of the potential for little access to water, I was carrying my 3L camelback, two 1000 mL bottles, and two 500 mL water bottles in my pack- which was now heavier than ever! My wife and I headed down to the North Kaibab trail head a little before 5 AM and I was shocked to see no one else there. I grabbed my pack and was about to set off, when coming down the road I could see two headlamps. I decided to wait and luckily the headlamps belonged to two other hikers who were both planning a rim to rim hike and didn’t mind if I tagged along. Relieved I would have company for at least part of the hike, I kissed my wife goodbye and headed off into the darkness- it was 5:15 AM. I could not have had more luck in stumbling on my hiking partners. Chuck was an experienced canyon hiker- he had over 50 canyon hikes and was doing the second half of a rim to rim to rim. Bob hadn’t hiked the canyon before, but he was a trail runner and a very nice guy.

    The pace was brisk, but I knew why- it was key to get as far into the canyon as possible before the sun got too strong and Chuck knew the route by heart. The guy was an amazing resource on canyon history and he checked off each layer of rock as we descended deeper into the canyon. He even did some yodeling when we reach the spot of the decent when the canyon gives you a perfect echo.

    Bob was clearly in great shape and after a couple of hours, his pace took him well beyond Chuck and I. The two of us paused briefly at the pump house residence. I was concerned that I might be slowing Chuck down, but he assured me the pace was fine (of course, he had already done this the day before) and that we would be OK as long as we kept moving. There was no water at the Cottonwood camp area and I could see Chuck was a little concerned, but he was upbeat.

    When you hike in New England, you are usually surrounded by trees with little views of anything until you reach a summit. In the canyon, there was nothing by spectacular views around every corner. I had to restrain myself from taking too many pictures, because stopping took precious time from moving forward. “The Box” was simply beautiful and the sun had not yet reached the trail so it was cool and enjoyable to hike trough.

    We made Phantom Ranch by 10:30- Chuck said that was a solid time to cover the distance from the North rim. I felt good- no hot spots or blisters and I had more than adequately hydrated. Phantom Ranch was an oasis- cold water and a place to sit and reenergize. There was also water available, so we could refill our bottles and camelbacks. I changed socks and we actually spent about an hour at the Ranch.

    I would soon have to make a major decision though. Chuck had originally come down the South Kaibab trail and he was planning on hiking out the same way. I knew from what I had read that South Kaibab was beautiful, but that it had no water and as a result, I had always assumed I would be hiking out via the Bright Angel trail. But Chuck was a seasoned canyon hiker and I felt safer hiking with him. Also- there really were not that many people on the trail that day and I knew it would be best to have a companion if something went wrong (especially someone who really knew the canyon). Chuck assured me that I could do South Kaibab- “it was not a race” and it was three miles shorter than Bright Angel- but to be sure to bring enough water! We set off at 11:30 AM and I had 5 liters of fluids in my still very heavy pack.

    As we left Phantom Ranch I felt fantastic. I was rested and my feet and legs felt great. I knew it would be hot (temperatures were predicted to be 95 degrees), but I also knew it would eventually get cooler as we climbed up. We quickly made the black bridge and crossed over the Colorado river- swollen and brown from the runoff from the storm the day before.

    I first sensed something was amiss as I walled through the tunnel on the other side of the bridge- fully expecting it to be a bit cooler inside, but surprisingly it was just as hot as the air outside (not a good sign). We started the assent and it was STEEP and HOT. I had anticipated this, but reality is sometimes a wake up call. After climbing for only about a half hour, I was feeling spent and definitely beginning to overheat. I told Chuck and he knew a shady spot not far up the trail where we could rest. I pressed my sweat drenched body against the cold rock and it was like my own personal air conditioner! I drank some Gatorade and some more of the heavily chlorinated Phantom ranch water and after about 5-10 minutes I felt much better. I also realized that if I was going to make this climb, I had to change the way I normally hike up. I would have to go much more slowly and with shorter steps- less energy and less heat generation. I would have to make use of every bit of shade we encountered and constantly remind myself- “It was not a race.” I just had to put one foot in front of the other. As they say- going down is an option, but coming up is mandatory.

    Unfortunately, there was no way around it- the hike was getting tough and little did I know what was in store. The “red and white section” of the South Kaibab trail (Chuck’s name for it) is a very long, steep switch back section that is completely sun exposed- there is absolutely no shade. The wall of the canyon is like an oven radiating the heat back at you. It is an absolutely miserable piece of scorched dry earth and it will eat you alive. I could see there would be no rest until we cleared this section of the trail- it was my own personal death march. After what seemed like an eternity, we came around a bend and into a little shade. And that’s when I saw the sign- “3.5 miles to the trail head”. It was devastating and I honestly began to panic- we had been hiking for what seemed like a long time, I was HOT (seriously HOT) and I was soaked with sweat. I had been drinking TONS of fluids, but hadn’t pee’d since we left Phantom Ranch and I still had 3.5 miles of UP to go! I had read that the climb out was brutal, I had read many other peoples experiences, but nothing can really prepare you for just how difficult the climb out of the canyon can be. The rim to rim is the reverse of every hike I had ever done- UP and then DOWN, not DOWN and then UP. It was becoming my worst nightmare and had I been alone I’m sure I would have really started to regret my decision to do the rim to rim a single day. But Chuck was there, unworried and solid as a rock.

    With no other option, but fearing I may eventually run out of water- we pressed on. Chuck tried very hard to help me memorize the various strata as we climbed up (probably to help keep me distracted), but my brain was not processing information well and I failed at each attempt to guess where we were. I also did very poorly at remembering the names of the various plateaus and monuments. However, I do vividly remember looking out over the Tonto plateau at the beauty and utter harshness of the canyon and feeling very insignificant. I also remember the fossilized tube worms in some of the white rocks- something I would not have noticed had I not been with Chuck. I also remember a group of turkey vultures circling overhead and thinking- “they are just waiting for me to fail.”

    After a little while, I had gotten cell phone reception and had let my wife know that we would be coming out South Kaibab and not at Bright Angel. She said she would be waiting for me at the trail head. We started to pass day hikers and it definitely began to feel like we were closing in on our goal. The day had also cooled, there was more shade and eventually we made it to Cedar Ridge. I had enough water left and I could see that the end was in sight- although it would still take a while to get there.

    We crested the South Kaibab trail head at 6:30 PM. We had hiked rim to rim in about 12 hours (not counting our break at Phantom ranch)- certainly not record time, but not too bad for a couple of old guys (I’m 55 and Chuck was 60 and more impressive was that this was the return trip of his rim to rim to rim!). I was exhausted and made my oft spoken promise to my wife- “never again”. Looking back over the canyon from the top of South Kaibab as the sun was going down over the horizon is a memory that I hope I never forget. Surprisingly, I get a little choked up writing this- perhaps because I recognize these opportunities may become less frequent as I get older. I believe that to grow you have to challenge yourself- mentally and physically. The rim to rim hike had been an enormous mental and physical challenge, but I had grown tremendously as a result. It had been a VERY long day, but I could, with much satisfaction, cross another thing off of my bucket list. It was also special that my wife could be there to share the moment with me.

    I really don’t have enough praise for Chuck. He didn’t know me or need to stay with me. I’m sure my complaining on the climb out was driving him crazy, but he stayed with me and continued to encourage me to push on. It’s really remarkable to meet people like Chuck when you are hiking. Completely selfless- a truly amazing person. I can only hope that our paths may cross once again.

    On a final note- doing the canyon rim to rim in a day is really very dangerous and perhaps a bit irresponsible- especially if it’s hot and you lack desert hiking experience. That said, it is enormously satisfying and had I been 20 years younger, I probably would have come through with fewer emotional scars. If you made it to the end of this long winded piece and are still planning your rim to rim hike- please be safe. As Chuck said- “it’s not a race”- enjoy it.

    • Scott,

      Awesome story and recap of your experience. It felt like we were in your backpack experiencing this with you! Glad you made it out South Kaibab and love that you met Chuck as it sounds like he was a huge help!

      Welcome to the Club!

    • Elisa Ramirez says:

      i’m 20 yrs younger, it still hurts the same. haha. and i complained probably more 🙂

    • James LaJeunesse says:

      Scott,

      I just read your story and it is a great one! I completed by first rim to rim the week after yours, South to North over two days. You hiked the entire trail in 12 hours. That is an awesome accomplishment! It took me that long just to get from the Phantom Ranch to the North rim.

      Also, like you, I experienced the kindness of other hikers on the trail. I guess when you accomplish something as physically and mentally challenging as the Grand Canyon rim to rim, you have empathy for others experiencing the same ordeal. They are a great group of people!

  25. Cajun Hiker says:

    6 Lessons Learned on hike from North Rim to South Rim via North Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Trail July 26, 2015 – July 30, 2015:

    1. We carried too much water. On the North Kaibab Trail there are water fountains at Supai Tunnel, Roaring Springs, Manzanita Rest Area and Cottonwood Campground. There is no water fountain on the 7 miles of easy hiking between Cottonwood Campground and Phantom Ranch. But I personally only needed two 20 oz bottles of water for that 7-mile part of the hike. Note that we started our hikes everyday about 5 am and reached our destinations between 7 am and 10 am.
    2. A tent is not necessary. I used a small tarp. If it would have rained, I would have slept on top of the picnic tables at each campsite. Indian Garden has a small pavilion at each campsite, also. You may have to deal with wind, however.
    3. Do lots of stairmaster and uphill treadmill workouts to get in shape, as opposed to long distance running/walking for the sake of endurance. Get your legs in shape, trust me.
    4. Pack light. Really only need food that doesn’t need to be cooked, some water, mole skin, ground pad, first aid kit, maybe one change of socks, money (Phantom Ranch Canteen takes debit/credit cards), toilet paper, small tarp for shade/rain cover, some string to tie up tarp, small pocket knife, a dew rag and a spork. I personally like to bring camp slippers, Chapstick and hiking poles. You don’t need a change of clothes or a map. Anything else is just for convenience and adds extra weight that you will wish you didn’t have to carry.
    5. Hike early, as suggested above. Start before the sun comes up. It will make your trip 10 times more enjoyable.
    6. The most beautiful portion of the hike was the easy 1.5-mile side trail to Plateau Point right near Indian Garden Campground. We hiked there at sunset. Trust me when I say don’t miss this short side hike.
    Have fun on your trip. Reply and and I’ll answer any of your questions. Bon Chance!
    Cajun Hiker

  26. Lee Hoedl says:

    4.5 million individuals visit the Grand Canyon each year and explore its outer North and South Rims. It is a mere 57,000 each year that will venture into the Canyon itself and enjoy one of the corridor trails. Of that 57,000 there are very few who will venture further to the Canyon floor and even fewer who will attempt a rim-to-rim hike over a two-day time period. And then there are those rare few who attempt a rim-to-rim hike in the SAME day… and during the hottest season of the year… this would be our personal journey and gauntlet.

    My colleague Chuck Fabijanic and my 17-year-old son Leo and I feel it is much easier to share our journey through video and you can view that journey here: https://youtu.be/Pt2B25x3J0E

    Thanks to rimtorim.org for its organization, information and motivation!

  27. Sholom Mavashev says:

    For this year I was planning to cross canyon from North to South in one day, my plan was to leave car on south side. On June 30 I parked my car on parking lot D next to Maswik Lodge that is where I was told to leave car for overnight with no problem, then boarded Canyon Shuttle for North Rim at 1:30PM. By 6 PM driver of van dropped me off by Kaibab Lodge where I had reservation for that night. This lodge has also services shuttle rides for someone who planning to go to North Kaibab Trail Head and since I am with no transportation this service was good for me. The only thing is they not starting earlier than 5:30AM. My plan was to start from North trailhead at 5AM. I was a little frustrated that of not being able to be by my planned time at trailhead, since I had only one day for this trip. Driver of morning shuttle showed up at 5:20 and with no time to waste we were on the way to trailhead. I was dropped off by North Kaibab Trail 5:45AM and I started my way to Phantom Ranch. On that day July 1 sunrise was 5:15 sunset 7:45 with temp 113F at river. I purposely picked this time of the year because of longest daylight time and at same time it could be the hottest time in Canyon, I was aware of it. In my backpack I had 5 bottles of water, snacks for day and five empty bottles which I planned to fill before ascend. You have to be on “light” mode – no phone, no car keys. By 11:42AM I reached Phantom Ranch. At 2PM started to my way back up using short route South Kaibab Trail. As I expected the most strenuous portion is first two hours on climb up(it is hot and heavy backpack with water). My suggestion will be not to use South Kaibab trail on ascend on a hot sunny day(it’s a killer)- you need to have a lot of water in order keep moving. I was under the sun on my climb up some where 40-45 minutes after I crossed Black Bridge and then just in luck sun disappeared behind clouds for next couple of hours, this gave me huge relieve, but still my pace was slower than usual. For last half mile that is left maybe 7 or 10 in time till end of trail for the first time on this day I felt short pain of my left leg and literally can see the head trail on top of edge – well it is just a reminder that muscles giving a message “ we are getting close to limits, give us a break”. And final break for the day was just a few minutes away – 7:05PM at South Kaibab trailhead. It was not easy day, but pleasant moment at the end of long day spent with Nature.

  28. Davey Meress says:

    Hi everyone!

    I just completed the Rim to Rim (South Rim – North Rim) this past Thursday! My buddy and I have talked about doing it, and finally both had time off to scratch it off our list! We did it much differently than your average joe would tackle this monster of a hike. So here is our story…

    Thursday, July 9th, its 5 O’clock and I just got off work, after working for 10 hours! I was already tired. We rendezvoused at my place, packed a few extra items we had gathered that day, and then started on our way to the South Rim! The drive was going extremely smooth, we were really excited to get up there. I guess I should also tell you readers where we live! We live in Prescott and both just graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. So back to the story, we are about 35 minutes out, I am in the passenger seat, Trent is driving, its almost dark, but not completely, and right in our headlights is a huge elk! Standing directly in the middle on our side of the road. He takes one glance up, stares right into our headlights, just seconds away from turning him into road kill Trent jerks the car to the right, screeching the tires and forcing me to fly over onto him! The elk jumps and just barely missed the car! Our hearts stop and skipped more than a beat at that point. At first we didn’t really say anything due to the fact we could have just died hitting that massive elk! This no exaggeration, he was HUGE! Then, we started cracking up saying whoa…that was a close one! But the weird part was, before that happened, about 20 min before, we were discussing how a group of friends of ours decided to do this same trip last year, however slammed right in an elk ending their trip just short of getting there, and also talking about how 2 female Embry-Riddle students 2 weeks ago hit an elk in Flagstaff going 80 mph but walked away with a minor scratch on their hand!

    So, here we are, wide awake now! We pull up to the Bright Angel trail head. Park our car, gather our belongings, and off we go! We started on the trailhead at 9:40 pm. Headlamps on, packs tightened, fueled and ready to go! We passed some people who gave us a very confused look, as if, “You two idiots are hiking this trail? Now? At night?!” Yes, yes we did! And it was amazing! About 5 miles down the trail, almost to the river, we see these bright beady eyes that are staring right at us on the trail! It was a beautiful large big horned sheep, eating away on some grass. We were less than 10 feet away from this magnificent animal. I had personally never seen one this close in the wild. He stared at us and didn’t flinch a muscle. He knew we weren’t going to harm him. So we said hi, tried to take a photo, and then continued on our way.

    Conversing, telling stories, talking about our future jobs that we have lined up, and much more! We stopped a few times, ate, stretched, and refueled for the long hike ahead of us. While on the trail, the duration of the whole trail, we must have seen more than a dozen deer. Some skittish of us, others not so much and watched us as we walked by.

    We finally arrived at Cottonwood. By this time, it is about 4 am. I’m beat. I have 4 screws and a plate in my right knee, and it was barking. I was thinking about our original plan, which was to hike South Rim –> North Rim….and then back to the South Rim! We had friends do it the previous year (not the ones who hit the elk). So I reached into my bag, grabbed a couple ibuprofen, and was ready to get back on the trail! At this point, we had our first interaction since we started the hike on the trail. Believe it or not, with 2 very good looking females! We chatted up, refilled our water bottles, they brushed their teeth, we said good luck and farewell! Refocused and once again refueled, off we went. Encountering more animals, smaller though. Scorpions, raccoons, etc! It was amazing.

    Alright, well I have probably bored you readers enough (if you even read this!) so I will get to the end. Coming up the North was definitely the most brutal of it all. Steep, huge elevation gain, and i’m beat. We see a lot more day hikers, tell them our story, say hi, and continue on. Finaaaaally we get to the top. I sit down and chug water and eat the rest of my trailmix and pre cooked chicken from the night before. We hitch a ride from the Mule Van up to the lodge, reserve a shuttle. And here I am, back at work, sitting in a comfy chair, telling my story.

    I truly hope you enjoyed this! Please feel free to email me and ask me any questions! Would love to hear from you! My name is Davey. And a big congratulations to all of you out there who have accomplished this task! It’s not easy! Cheers!

    Respectfully,

    Davey

  29. Lauri Gigstead says:

    My sister Tammy and I (age 52 and 58, no hiking experience) hiked the Rim to Rim June 5 – 6, 2015, stopping at Phantom Ranch for the night.

    We first visited the Grand Canyon in 2002, joked about hiking to Phantom Ranch and pretty much didn’t give it another thought for 12 years. When we seriously started considering the hike, we were just in the what if phase, which went on for about six months and then it was time to make Phantom Ranch reservations. That turned out to be more stressful than anything else connected with the hike. We had six cell phones going and it took one and a half hours to get through but once we did the reservations were made and it was official, we were going to hike the Grand Canyon.

    Started the research, read everything we could find, one of the most helpful was the Rim to Rim Club and following them on Facebook kept us excited to be doing the hike. The great equipment hunt required lots of research, didn’t really even know where to start. It was all new to us so the review reading began and as we narrowed down our choices we began purchasing our equipment.

    As the equipment (backpacks, shoes, and hiking poles) started arriving we began practicing with them, best thing we ever did. We had a good cardio base, had just trained for and run a marathon, but being Florida girls the biggest hill we have is stepping on a curb. So off to the gym we went. Incline on the treadmill, arc trainer and weights plus our normal 25-30 miles a week. Then two months out we started carrying our loaded packs to get use to the weight on our backs.

    The day finally came, we flew out of Orlando on June 3, 2015. Landed in Las Vegas and drove to Mesquite to spend the night before heading to the North Rim the next day. We were very lucky to have a built in crew with us; my husband, Dan and our Mum and Dad. We didn’t have to worry about shuttling from one rim to the other and that was extremely nice. Had a nice leisurely trip and checked into our cabin before dinner. Then we did some exploring, took a ride to Point Imperial then checked out the North Kaibab trailhead on our way back.
    Back to the cabin to get all our equipment ready for the morning and settle in for a good night’s sleep. Got up at about 0400 and arrived at the trail head at about 0500. Ate our banana, and bagel and peanut butter. Time to say our goodbyes and we were on our way. So many feeling, we had waited so long for this and we were finally heading into the Grand Canyon.

    We took it easy to start, getting use to walking downhill. I’m going to tell you right now downhill and I didn’t get along, I don’t have any knee problems but it was just hard for me. Tammy on the other hand loved it, up, down, it didn’t matter to her she just kept moving.
    We were picture taking fools and after realizing our pace was less than a mile an hour, decided we should get a bit serious and pick it up. Didn’t want to miss our steak dinner at Phantom Ranch.

    Along the trail we were eating a mixture of cashews, dried pineapple, craisins and sport beans with caffeine (hoping to ward off the effects of no diet coke on the trail) and pretzels. We also had a couple of Kind bars. We should have started eating sooner, our first break was about 4 hours in and we really needed to eat every hour to hour and a half which we did from then on. We were drinking constantly from our camelbaks. We had a total of five liters of water each. That was just enough for the trip down and more than enough on the way up. We learned as the camelbak was emptying we should have filled it from the two bottles we were carrying. So much easier to drink from the camelbak then try to get the bottles out.

    Saw lots of little wildlife; squirrels, chipmunks, lizards, birds and butterflies. It wasn’t until just after Ribbon Falls that we saw a mule deer, only one but I’m sure there were others out there.

    We did have a few rain showers and we would pull out our $.97 Wal-Mart ponchos and put them on, walk a couple hundred yards and be ready to take them off, it almost wasn’t worth putting them on but we didn’t want to take the chance of getting soaked. This scenario has a big impact on a decision we make tomorrow.

    By this time we are talking about getting to The Box, really wishing there was a big sign that announced the location. We finally figured we were in the box because the canyon walls were getting closer and closer, but because the weather was so perfect the temperatures weren’t rising like we had anticipated. So we just kept going, enjoying the sounds of the river, shady spots and a breeze every now and then. I can’t reiterate enough what gorgeous weather we had for our two days of hiking.

    Before we knew it the sign for Phantom Ranch appeared and we were there. Arrived at about 1515, checked in, had our lemonade, and headed to our dorm. We were the first ones there so had our choice of bunks, we chose the one in the back corner, out of the way and by the back door so we could get in and out easily. Took our showers and we were refreshed and ready to go out and explore.

    Two of the best things we carried with us were flip flops and compression sleeves. I had hemmed and hawed about carrying mine but I was so glad I did. Every step I took that night my feet and calves thanked me. I can’t imagine putting my hiking shoes back on after taking a shower.

    Dinner was at 1700 and it was the best meal, filling and a good variety. Steak, cornbread, corn, peas, baked potato with butter and sour cream, salad and chocolate cake for dessert.
    More walking around after eating, keeping those legs stretched out and moving. We had brought peanut M&M’s for an evening snack, so we found a place to sit and enjoy them. Also watched two mule deer enjoy their dinner right in the middle of camp.

    We waited until 2000 for the canteen to open after serving meals, had to get stamps to mail our post cards from Phantom Ranch.

    Then it was time to turn in for the night and we were out like lights. The dorm was air conditioned and that really helped with making it easy to sleep.

    We got up at about 0415, grabbed our gear and went out the back door, hopefully not disturbing anyone. We used the bathrooms by the canteen because two of the ladies in our dorm were spending another night and didn’t have to get up early. It was beautiful at this time of morning, the moon was setting and the walls of the canyon were starting to light up.
    Breakfast was another wonderful meal and everything was delicious, best bacon ever!

    Time to get the hiking shoes and backpacks on and we were on our way at 0517. As we walked through the Bright Angel Campground it was 78 degrees, quite the change from yesterday’s 43 degrees.

    Before we knew it we were crossing the Colorado River and starting the upward climb, so much easier for me. Because there seemed to be more landmarks on this side, time and distance seemed to go much faster.

    Just before the Three Mile Resthouse it started sprinkling, we decided to fore-go the ponchos and just carry on. Well, we chose poorly and at the switchback just below the Resthouse the skies opened and a torrential downpour ensued. We are now trying to get ponchos on, they are flapping and flying in the wind. Then the rain seems to be getting harder and the next thing we know it is hailing and that really hurts. Then I feel a river run through my shoes. Ponchos finally are on but they did nothing to protect us. The only thing to do is carry on and start walking which we do but first we have to get by the mules that are parked on the trail. We spoke to the mule wrangler and were told to stay to the cliff side of the mules. This was easier said than done but we squeezed by and were on our way.

    For about a mile or so the trail was a mini river and there was running water cascading everywhere, it was very beautiful. We watched the storm move off and the sun reappeared.
    Every time we looked out over the canyon we had to say, “We were down there this morning, look how far we have come.” It was amazing!

    By the time we hit the 1 ½ Resthouse we were seeing more and more day hikers and the trail was getting very crowded and noisy, so different from yesterday.

    The closer we got to the top the more we wanted to get there but the less we wanted this fantastic journey to be over. But alas it had to come to an end and there was Dan, with two ice cold diet cokes and Mum and Dad cheering us on at the end, it couldn’t get much better than this.

    Got our damp shoes off, our comfy flip flops on and headed to the El Tovar to shower and get some lunch. We were so lucky to have others traveling with us. They drove from the North Rim to the South Rim and spent the night so we already had a room, didn’t have to wait to check in to get our shower.

    This was a fantastic trip and we are now hikers on the lookout for our next big one.

    • Lauri,

      Welcome to the club and proud to have you and Tammy in it! So happy our club and posts helped you. Couldn’t help but get goose bumps reading your story as it brought us back to our first Rim to Rim! You did this and we are so proud of you as it is an amazing accomplishment! Welcome to our Rim to Rim hiking community!

      Rim to Rim Club®

  30. George Noriega says:

    I Just did the Rim2Rim on 6/19/15. After 45 years with ATT, I put this on my bucket list to do before the big 7 oh – which by the way is next week! I did everything against the grain – solo, in one day, and at a blistering temperature.

    My wife (Mary) dropped me off at North Rim at 6:30am with a plan to meet up at 3 Mile Resthouse between 3 to 4pm (after her 4 hour drive to the other side and walking down to 3 Mile RH to meet me). I was doing good and I reached Bright Angel Camp by 11am. The temperature was already soaring at 105 degrees, and the ranger tried talking me into staying until it cooled off as there was a death the day before due to exhaustion. However, I was feeling good, was making good time, plus, I had a commitment to meet Mary no later than 4P at the 3 Mile Resthouse so that we could hike up the last 3 miles together.

    Well – I misjudged the heat effects, I didn’t anticipate the elevation change between stops and I felt pressured to reach the 3 mile Resthouse no later than 4p. Needless to say, things we’re not looking good and I was moving real slow. But guess what – a mile from the 3 Mile RS I received a text from Mary, and I was able to respond that I was running late. She walked down a mile to greet me and we both continued on and reaching the top by 6:30 P – and we were having a glass a wine by 7P. I did the hike in 12 hours, but I have to tell you it kicked my butt, but I’m looking forward to the next one. I still want to do a one day hike, but take it slower, and wait until its cooler. By the way – the text I got was the only one that came thru in the entire journey.

    Cheers!

    George N.

  31. Trip all planned. Flew to Vegas for New Years Eve so could be at the BCO on the first to ensure I got my sites and dates. Training was going well, getting in canyon shape. Then heel spur flared six weeks before launch date. Suddenly wearing a rocker boot with no: walking, swimming, biking, or anything else to maintain cardio fitness. Out of the boot 10 days before launch date, decided to go for it.

    Snow was heavy on the North Rim that year and the opening was delayed until the actual day of my North Rim departure. Spent the night near Navajo Bridge and arrived at the trailhead much later than planned. A short ways down the trail snow melt from the Rim provided a nice ice cold shower to all on the trail. Cottonwood was made without incident, though a few minor washouts on the trail. Similarly the trail to Bright Angel Campground/Phantom Ranch was uneventful, but the lost training started to make itself known. The final stretch was a push.

    Phantom Ranch is always a delightful mix of day hikers, mule riders, and backpackers. A very pregnant doe was an object of great interest.

    An early morning launch across the Silver Bridge and up the corkscrew got me to the mule corral at Indian Garden by mid morning. A good tired is still tired, and I sat there for awhile weighing my options.

    Most Rim to Rim hikers go up Bright Angel Trail. I chose to do my permit going down West Tonto and out Hermits Trail. One I don’t like Bright Angel Trail; the ruts, the mules, the traffic. Second, I love the solitude of the Tonto. A days hike from Bright Angel to Monument Creek exceeds the NPS recommendation and you get the “You are going to die” letter and have to fill out a bunch of forms to aid Search and Rescue. I didn’t tell them this hike was going to be solo.

    Anyway I sat at the corral for quite a bit weighing the option of exiting up the five miles of Bright Angel or continuing the planned trip. I eventually decided to go for “the trail less traveled.”

    I love the West Tonto. I met no one on the trail. There was a research group at Salt Creek talking about the unexpected large number of snakes found in the campground. I spent a couple hours resting in the shade at Salt Creek and letting the sun get a bit less intense. I timed my departure to ensure I got to Monument well before sunset. Again the experience of hiking the Tonto on the floor of the canyon cannot be described, nor can having the Canyon to yourself and your thoughts.

    The descent into Monument was much steeper and more exposed than I had anticipated, though in retrospect should have been anticipated. Would not have been much of an issue, but the legs were spent.

    Early morning out of Monument again on the West Tonto heading toward the Hermit Trail. Again the wonder of having the whole canyon to myself. Hit Cathedral Stairs before the sun did, a much easier ascent than I remember, but again pretty much wiped out my physical reserves. Mid morning I hit the wall: tired, sore, out of water. I sat in the shade to regroup. “Was that a flash of color at the next bend” “No, nothing there” It was enough to get me up, the spring had to be close. Around the corner was the spring and the shelter. A group of students from a Kansas Community College was ending their rest break and getting ready to head out. One of the girls had gone back to look for stragglers, and that was the color I had seen. After a lengthy break and filling my water bottles, I also headed out. A short time later I passed the leader of the College group working to get a couple of out of shape students up the hill. My ascent had many stops and took close to two hours longer than my previous time on that section, but i eventually arrived at Hermits Rest. After four days in the Canyon I must have been a sight.

    Hot showers and Arizona Steak House are every Canyon hikers just reward.

  32. Clay Palmer says:

    I first did a R2R in 1999 with an old friend in his late 80s. We started by driving a vehicle that belonged to another friend who worked at Phantom Ranch and wanted her car brought to the North Rim. We left the South Rim before midnight and drove around and left her car at the parking lot close to the N.Kaibab Trailhead. We started down the trail at 4 am on a early October morning.

    I was 43 years old and my old friend was about 86, it was both of ours first true R2R. I hiked to the North Rim from the South side but during a 28 day backpacking trip in the month of January 2001. My friend and I both had many years experience hiking the canyon, I had been doing it 4-6 months a year since 1983 during some of my fall,winter and spring vacations. My friend had started hiking the canyon in his 70s when after he had retired from the military and later by 2006 had done as many as 106 R2R’s in one year, he originally was going to do 89 to commemorate his birthday in 2006 but by early October had done 89 so he continued to do them till Christmas and ended up with 106 by Xmas and quit.

    Anyway we started at 4 am as in early October it was still quite warm to hot in the inner canyon so we wanted to get an early start. We hiked to Cottonwood camp and took our first break. When I was ready to go my friend told me to go on and wait for him at Phantom Ranch as his hiking pace was 1 mile an hour, compared to my 4 mph. So I went on. I stopped at Ribbon Falls and continued on to Phantom Ranch. I arrived about 9 am and waited for him. he arrived at noon and then I started off again. he got into a conversation with the woman who’s car we dropped off at the NR. I waited for him again at Indian Garden where I had arrived around 2 pm. But he never showed and had told me if he had not arrived by then to go on. He was a good strong hiker for a man his age so I went on to the South Rim getting out about 4:30 pm. I went to his house where he lived with his wife, they both worked at the Grand Canyon Store. At 11 pm he finally made it out. This was his first R2R. I did about 3 more until 2002. He passed away in 2009 just a few months short of his 99th birthday, believe it or not!

  33. Jeanne Holder says:

    My husband Dave and I completed a four day, three nighter from the North Rim to the South Rim, September 14 thru September 17, 2014. We are both 57 years old and this was our first time backpacking rim to rim. Our itinerary was: (Day 1)-start at the North Kaibab Trailhead from the North Rim to Cottonwood Campground, (Day 2)-Cottonwood Campground to Ribbon Falls to Bright Angel Campground, (Day 3)-Bright Angel Campground to Indian Garden Campground, (Day 4)-Indian Garden Campground to Bright Angel Trailhead.

    I was a little concerned about doing this backpack because I had knee surgery nine months earlier for a torn meniscus. The trip was a piece of cake for Dave. Dave and I are experienced backpackers, in fact that is how we met and eventually married. Hiking and backpacking are our passions.

    The most difficult part of the hike for me was the descent on the first day. Mainly because of my knee and my fear of exposure. At Roaring Springs I was beat and the heat was becoming intense. It was so nice to cool off and soak my knee in Bright Angel Creek at Cottonwood Campground. The night sky was amazing! Having outhouses and running drinking water is a treat too!

    Because of the heat, we started out before sunrise, met a rattle snake in the trail and visited Ribbon Falls, continued on a path recommended by a ranger, skipping a climb, but forging the creek was fun! Ribbon Falls was so spectacular, I wished we were spending another night at Cottonwood. Onward to the Box, it wasn’t hot as the sun wasn’t in the Box. I loved hiking through the Box with its red canyon walls following Bright Angel Creek. It was way cool to get to get to Bright Angel Campground early and get a campsite right along the creek. We soaked in the creek as it was over 100 degrees in the shade and we had lemonade at the Phantom Ranch in the AC. We visited the Indian ruins, Colorado River and crossed both bridges while there. Flush toilets and drinking water are real treats for us as well, lol!

    Another before day break start to beat the heat, on our way to Indian Gardens. Going up was easier on my knee than going down, but my knee was pretty fatigued after we reached Indian Gardens. The views with the Colorado River were amazing and entering the Indian Gardens was like finding an oasis! We got there early and found a choice camp spot. Soaked my knee in the creek and explored the campground. There are books there that you can borrow and we relaxed and read a good bit of the day and the air temp was pleasant. Dave went to Plateau Point at sunset and I really wanted to go but my knee needed to rest. However, while Dave was enjoying the Plateau, I got to visit with the residential pink Grand Canyon rattle snake! The ranger, who was female told us all about the resident snake and where it likes to hang out and why there was no reason to fear it. The snake just does its own thing not really caring about us. haha she was a really beautiful snake and only found in the Grand Canyon. It would have been nice to have spent two nights at this campground to relax and enjoy the area. It was sad to be spending our last night in the canyon!

    Slept in, as the temps are now cooler and hiked out, stopping many time to look back at the canyon! The climb out wasn’t hard, we just took our time. We took the Canyon bus to Mather campground, set up camp and headed for the showers, then to dinner at the Bright Angel Lodge. We bought rim to rim tee shirts too! Oh yes and we had ice cream!

    The next day. We took the shuttle from the south rim back to our car at the north rim and drove home (St. George UT area), with a stop at Jacob Lake Inn Restaurant (yum!). It is impossible to ignore their bakery.

    This was such an amazing backpack for us, a bucket list event! We hope to do it again in October and every year for as long as we are capable. There is much to explore there!

  34. Melanie Burghgraef says:

    I began planning for a Grand Canyon hike in September 2013. Initially had hoped the entire family (four of us) would hike down Bright Angel, spend the night at Phantom Ranch, and then hike back up Bright Angel. I soon found out that reservations at Phantom Ranch are nearly impossible to get. My 13 year daughter also proclaimed that to make her hike down into the canyon would “kill her” – decided probably not great to force her to do something like this. As soon as my husband learned Phantom Ranch was out, he was out – no way was he going to sleep on the hard canyon floor. That left my 15 year son and myself. Over the next 9 months this turned into a rim-to-rim hike. We live in Michigan and the likihood of frequent trips out West are not going to happen, so I wanted to make the most of it. Our trip, to include multiple National Parks, began June 12 2014 in our fully-loaded Yukon.

    We reached the Grand Canyon South Rim on June 17 2014. At 6:15 am on June 18 my son and I hiked down the South Kaibab Trail. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to reach the river. We stayed at Phantom Ranch for several hours – hoping to avoid “the box” during the hottest part of the day. Temp was between 106-114 degrees at the bottom. However, by 1-1:30pm my son was very anxious to get going, so after soaking in Bright Angel Creek one last time we set out for another 7 miles to reach Cottonwood Camp where we would be staying that night. We each had 2 liters of water in our packs and back-up water bottle/gatorade bottle. The heat didn’t bother us anymore than humid heat back in Michigan – in fact I prefer the dry heat of the West. We made it to Cottonwood Camp between 4-5pm. I was exhausted after this 14 mile day – I think my son could have kept going and climbed right up the North Rim.

    We went to bed early and were up by 5am on June 19 (my son’s 16th birthday!), packed-up and started hiking up the North Rim by 5:30am. The last four miles were the most difficult hiking I have ever done. My pack was in excess of 30 pounds and I thought of throwing it off a cliff multiple times (of course I would never actually do that). I had to pause and rest about every-other-switchback. My son was getting VERY impatient with me but got the message when I told him: “If I don’t stop and rest I will never get out of here”. We reached the top at 11:00am.

    Things we did right: hiking with packs on 2-3 times a week for 4-6 weeks prior to the trip; my son plays Lacrosse and is in great shape to begin with; days I didn’t hike I would run 3-4 miles or use my elipitical (this I had been doing for more than a year); extensive research on hiking in the canyon (literally 9 months), including getting the right equipment from head to toe; adequate hydration.

    Things we (I) should have done better: gotten my son a larger pack to divide our load a bit more even (being the over-protective-mother I wanted to make this as easy for him as possible); which resulted in my pack being too heavy (we should have hiked with full water bladder in our packs to get better idea of the pack weight); eaten more food – by day 2, probably from exhaustion and heat, I had zero appetite. I forced my self to eat a nutrigain bar before hiking out, ate maybe 1/4 trail mix later in morning – that’s it. BIG MISTAKE – keep munching to keep energy up; I remembered this the last hour of our hike and forced myself to eat some cheese/crackers.

    This was all totaly worth it! I will do it again if I have another chance – maybe hike North Rim to South Rim the next time (also, everyone says to avoid hiking in the Canyon during the summer – I didn’t have a choice due to my kids being in school; heat wasn’t as bad as what I thought it would be but if YOU have a choice, opt for September or early October!)

  35. Al Lyerly says:

    A friend and I did the Rim to Rim this summer (2014) hiking down from the North Rim on 8/31 and out to the South Rim on 9/1. While it was a great experience I would highly recommend spring or fall. It was extremely hot but this was the only date we could get an overnight reservation at Phantom Ranch. All the fresh water sources were available which helped greatly. The temperature prior to the Box was 115 and it was still 103 when we reached Phantom Ranch. The Ranch was an oasis. Great food, service and a chance to recover. We started our hike both mornings by 5:30. We drank plenty of water, electrolytes and salty snacks. Although we are both in our sixties, we were well trained and physically prepared but it was still a challenging hike. We enjoyed meeting and sharing the trail with others. It is an awesome experience to stand on the footbridge over the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I thank God for the opportunity to see such amazing ruggedness and beauty. I will never forget the experience.

  36. Joe Stork says:

    It was back in 2009 that we completed our first Rim to Rim. My wife and I had been in Phoenix for business, and we took a day trip to the South Rim. We walked in a little ways and began talking to people as they hiked out. At that point, we decided we would eventually hike to the river. We came back home to Alabama, bought a little hiking gear and began training. Since we knew absolutely nothing about back country backpacking, we decided to hire a guide for our first trip. When looking at the trips they offered, Rim to Rim just seemed to be the logical choice. Our guide company by the way was Four Seasons out of Flagstaff. Highly recommend them if you are looking for a guide. They gave us training guidelines which we followed diligently. For the better part of a year, we carried heavy packs on long hikes and we climbed stadium stairs with our packs on weeknights. We were in pretty good shape, which made our hike very pleasurable. We recruited one of my nieces to join us and met in Flagstaff. There we met the two other members of group. Two guys from Amsterdam. Really great guys who we stay in touch with via Facebook. We hiked North to South. Our first night at Cottonwood, we saw the Milky Way. Pretty Cool! My wife celebrated her 50th birthday on day two. She will tell you it was her best birthday ever. We drank beer at Phantom Ranch on night two. We saw the most incredible sunset on night three from Plateau Point. Rimmed out on day four and felt like rock stars as we got closer to the rim. People wanted to talk to us and ask us questions. For us, hiring a guide for our first trip as the best decision we made. Omar taught us how to be respectful of the canyon and other hikers. He taught us how to be safe and to protect our food. Since then, we have been to the river five times, and I have had the pleasure to teach those same lessons to others who we have taken with us. My favorite thing now is to take someone who has never been, because I get to see the Canyon for the first time through their eyes.

  37. I didn’t hike the Rim to Rim in a day or two as some have. Nor am I in top physical condition as some who hike the canyon. I’m over 60 years old and the extra weight I carried wasn’t only in my backpack. Even so, I was able to hike Rim to Rim in three days. The first morning September 17, coming down the North Kaibab was pleasant. I’m not as sure footed as some, so I probably go down slower than most. We still made pretty good time, leaving the trailhead about 7:00 and reaching Cottonwood camp by 1:30. Still, the hardest part of the day was from Roaring Springs to Cottonwood, as it was midday when we passed by there and very hot. Found out the next day that Phantom Ranch had registered a temperature of 120 degrees, so we probably got some of that at Cottonwood. We met some very nice people on the trail as always. There must some special credentials for backcountry hikers in the Grand Canyon, as we’ve never met anything but the nicest people who are true hikers. We met a sweet young man from Germany who befriended us for the day. We also met our great next door neighbors at Bright Angel campground, when my sister rescued their tent when it tried to blow into the creek. We ate a great steak dinner Phantom ranch after our minnow pedicure in Bright Angel creek. Of course like most in camp, we went to bed early so as to get an early start the next day. We left camp about 5:00 a.m. with bats flitting in the beams of our headlamps. We made it to Indian Gardens about 10:30 and met up with our campground neighbors. My sister at this point went ahead towards the rim with the intention of dropping off her backpack and coming back to help me with mine. After a quick lunch with our neighbors I started up the trail. About five minutes out of Indian Gardens I met two young women running down the trail. We had encounters many trail runners and I thought they were running the trail. Instead, they called out “are you Mary from Tennessee?”. Surprised, I answered yes and they said they were there to carry my backpack to the top of the trail. It took a couple of minutes to convince myself I wasn’t dreaming, but these young women spent the better part of the afternoon carrying my pack as well as one of the packs of my campground neighbors. They had met my sister up the trail who told them she was going to come back down and get my pack, and they told her they would help me out instead. It was still slow going, as neither my neighbor nor I were used to the altitude, but we still had a great sense of accomplishment. I looked out over the canyon the next day in amazement that I, at my age and condition, was able to hike across that natural wonder of the world.

  38. Kevin Lamb says:

    Five of us recently hiked Rim-To-Rim (down from the North Rim on 10/8/14, up to the South Rim on 10/9/14) and found the experience to be everything we were hoping for, truly an awesome hike. Our group spent 10 days in Peru two years ago, including hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and planned to hit more epic hikes around the world every few years. This was a very worthy #2 on our list.

    For those that are not familiar with the northern AZ region, there is definitely more to do and see beyond the GC. There is an awesome slot canyon north of the North Rim that was worth spending a day hiking. Buckskin Gulch is >30 miles of very cool slot canyon if you want to overnight and do it all. We did an out and back day trip and had a blast! This is also the trailhead to the “Wave” (very interesting rock formations that make photographers drool), but the permits are very limited (only 20 per day from a lottery process, we didn’t “win”). FYI, as with all slot canyons be very cognizant of the weather and don’t go if there is rain.

    Antelope Canyon, just south of Page, was also a worthy stop. Not a hike, this is a guided tour of an hour into an incredibly beautiful and photogenic slot canyon. It was worth doing, but far from a remote experience.

    Back to the R2M…we did this in two days and did utilize the mule duffel service to haul our camping gear down. Definitely worth the cost ($66 per 30 lb bag, each way) and glad the mules were hauling that stuff, not us! As has been noted in other posts, you can’t count on the potable water and going down there was only Supai Tunnel and Phantom Ranch was also having issues. There are lots of springs available, we treated our water, and this worked out fine. The views are incredible on both sides. The different stages of the hike had very different personalities as we worked our way down, and then up, the different climate zones and geological strata.

    For those wondering whether they can make it, I’ll note that our group ranged from early 50’s to late 50’s, none of us are uber athletes, but we all put in disciplined training for the 3-4 mos. prior to the hike and took this seriously. We made it from the North Rim to Phantom Ranch in about 9 hours with lots of photo stops, fairly lengthy regular breaks, and probably an hour at Ribbon Falls. We’d had a stringy local woman a few days earlier look at us skeptically and telling us you needed to be in marathon condition to do this hike. She also said to expect that it would take twice as long going up as coming down. Going up took us less than 7 hours, we left the campground at 6:30 and hit the top before 1:00 PM. While there is no question this is a taxing hike and you need to understand and respect the range of temp extremes, you can do this if you’re at a decent level of fitness, have trained appropriately, are prepared, and have the right attitude.

    We’d heard different comments about which trails to take and their pros and cons. Obviously coming off the North Rim we took the North Kaibab Trail. From top to bottom we didn’t encounter a lot of people and enjoyed a fairly remote experience. Even going up the Bright Angel Trail the next day, it continued to be fairly limited contact at least until about the 3 mile House. Then it was as if the hordes were descending from above and we started hitting loads of people at the 1.5 Mile House, some of whom were almost comical in their lack of preparation for even a 3 miles round trip.

    On the whole, an incredible hike and the acclaim is appropriate. This was worthy of being high on the “bucket list” and I would recommend this to anyone looking for this type of challenge. Preparation is critical. As others have noted, there are logistics challenges. We chose to drive into the North Rim and stay at the lodge there. I shuttled our car and mule bags around to the South Rim. I’ll note that the drive around from North to South took about 4 hours and was quite scenic. Just watch out for the deer! The first hour or so driving in the early morning added years to my life as it felt like hundreds of deer were intentionally trying to play chicken with me. The Trans-Canyon Shuttle needs to be booked in advance, but worked out well and the 1:30 PM departure from the South Rim had me back to the North Rim Canyon Inn by 6:00 PM.

    If I can be of assistance with any questions just e-mail me. For those that have done the R2R you have my respect and congratulations. For those contemplating this, I would strongly encourage you to plan it carefully, train appropriately, and do it! Just do it in the shoulder months (Spring or Fall) to avoid the dangerous heat down in the canyon during the summer.

    All the best,

    Kevin

  39. Scott Crowder says:

    My brother-in-law and I did a one day rim to rim on September 19th. We went from the South Rim (via the Bright Angel Trail) to the North Rim. We had been planning this trip for several years and it was very exciting to finally get it done. The Canyon is amazing and it was a great experience to be inside the canyon for the first time.

    I was very surprised at how few signs there are in the Canyon. It seems that they should advise you how far it is until the next potential spot for drinking water. So our lesson learned was – – when water is available load up completely. It was 100+ degrees in the box and more water is always a good idea. Cooling down by placing hats/shirts in the stream helped. In the future, we will also carry Life Straws so that we can safely drink out of streams, etc. if needed.

    I was happily surprised by the friendliness of everyone on the trail. It seems that the general assumption is that everyone is your friend — a very nice place to be. The encouraging words and information about what was ahead was greatly appreciated.

    I would recommend going North to South. The ascent on the North Kaibab Trail is brutal and endless.

    • How many hours did it take you to complete the hike and would you recommend it to experienced hikers? We could not obtain an overnight permit so are looking at completing the north to south trip in a day, as well.

  40. Poul Nielsen says:

    I just discovered this website. I made the rim2rim hike twice in 1973. We were 4 guys there flew to the north rim and then descended and slept at Phantom Ranch before going up next morning. We went up in full speed and managed to get up before the sun started to glow on our heads I think in 3½ hours.

    My second trip was in 1975. I left at 6 am and went down for full speed met a moose almost face to face as I went around a corner. I carried a 6 pack of soft drink-nothing else. Unfortunately the ascent on the south rim was so late that I had the september sun glowing on my poor head but I reached the top just before 2pm. The guys I had been riding with from Vegas to the North Rim came and picked me up. They have had some troubles with the car, so I came up before them.

    Best Regards,

    Poul Nielsen
    Denmark

  41. My wife, Joan, and I completed a “bucket list” experience by hiking Rim to Rim September 2 thru September 4, 2014. We had originally planned on doing more training but things got away from us the past year. After having a great trip float rafting down the Colorado from Glen Canyon Dam earlier in the week we spent two nights at the North Rim before beginning our descent down the North Kaibab Trail at 6:30 am Tuesday morning We heard the day before that there was a water break that meant no potable water below Supai Tunnel and no showers, toilet , etc. at Phantom Ranch, where we had beds in the men’s and women’s dorms for 9/2 and 9/3. We made sure we carried about 5 liters of water apiece and plenty of electrolytes with protein bars and trail mix and started off. Things were fine but temperatures heated up as we descended. It was about 50 degrees when we left the North Rim and as we hit the Box it was about 106! We got a little behind trying to find the trail to Ribbon Falls and then backtracking after we visited. Once we recrossed the foot bridge over Bright Angel Creek, we continued thru the desert and then the endless and infamous “Box”. The Box seemed endless but once we hit the sign indicating 3/4 mile to Phantom Ranch we were ecstatic! We arrived just in time for our steak dinner, which we were too exhausted to really enjoy, but were extremely happy to find that the showers and toilets were still operating. Our joy was short lived as Wednesday morning showers and toilets were non functioning due to the water break. After taking a couple of short hikes on Wednesday and exploring the area we were ready for our ascent Thursday morning. After our 5:00 am breakfast we were on Bright Angel Trail by 6:00 am. As we were exiting the Devils Corkscrew we had sprinkles that also brought wind gusts and then a pretty steady downpour that lasted until we passed thru Indian Gardens and finally stopped by the 3 mile rest house. We slogged on thru and finally made the trek past the Kolb Studio and headed for a real shower at El Tovar. Looking down from the South Rim it hardly seemed possible and we both felt a real sense of accomplishment

    • Martha Booth says:

      Way to go Joan & Kurt…congratulations on your rim to rim adventure and on crossing off a ‘bucket list’ item!

  42. William Ashmall says:

    My wife and I, along with my grandson and son-in-law, did the 4 day North to South. First day wrecked my knees, but we carried on. Second day was long, but much easier, ending with the rest at Phantom. Great people there, very uplifting. Day 3 crossed the river at 5, and was stunned to make Indian Gardens as quickly as we did. Day 4, because of the heat, we were on the trail at 3:50 AM, with our head lamps. The climb was tough, aided by the three previous days. Made the South Rim at 8, ready for breakfast and a shower. June 26 – 29 was probably not the best time, heat wise, but we were thrilled to have made the journey and experienced the Canyon as never before. At 66+ years old! this was a once in a life time for me! But glad I did it. Had been to the Canyon many times, but this was the best one!

  43. My hiking experience first started in February 2013 when I was 12. My scoutmaster in my Boy Scout Troop was asking for people who are willing to hike the Grand Canyon. We thought it was a joke, so I raised my hand. He wrote my name down and then he smiled as more and more kids said they would. Eventually my best friend did as well.

    Skip several months later to May. I had paid the trip money, gotten packed, and was ready to go. But I didn’t want to, since I was being forced to tent with a kid whom I extremely disliked. I almost didn’t before my parents forced me to go and told me it would be fun. They were right and I’m glad I did go.

    The trip to still remains as the best experience in my life. I had my best friends in the troop in a big SUV with me. We traveled from Texas to New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and eventually Arizona. We met Apache on the way and they invited us onto their reservation. They showed us some fire tricks and we showed them how to use Doritos as kindling. It was very awesome.

    We stayed at churches and national parks on the way. We also visited Monument Valley, where John Wayne shot some of his classic western films. It was really fun being able to look at all the history that was there, and to watch some of his movies whilst on the way to a campsite.

    The morning came and it was time to go. Our big group of 12 kids was separated into two smaller patrols. One would hike to Phantom Ranch the first day, and the other would hike to Bright Angel. As we did it, I was unfortunately set into the second mentioned group. However, it still didn’t take my experience from the entire trip away. I still enjoyed everything.

    Our descent from the North Rim was probably the second hardest part. There were rocky paths that weren’t wide at all that were over 50 feet+ drops, and having 40lbs. on your 90lbs. body didn’t help that equation. However, as it went on, the inclines got smoother and we eventually made it to Bright Angel campgrounds at around noon, which all in all was 6 hrs. of hiking.

    The stream that ran through was really cold, but refreshing to sore bodies. I loved swimming in it in quick sprints of 5 minutes before it got too cold. After a relaxing afternoon in the streams, a quick nap before dinner in the sun was a good end to the first day. I enjoyed it and I couldn’t wait for the next day.

    Tomorrow came and we had to hike through “The Box” before noon, which never happened. I was making good time by myself before I made it to Ribbon Falls. I waited for some of my friends to show up and then we just messed around in the water. We took photos, dunked each other, and took our only baths for the rest of our time in the Canyon. After that, we made good time in the nice area of vegetation before the Box. We ended up taking naps in solitude. As we got to the box, we were met with 115F weather. We kept going on, drinking several bottles of nalgene bottles.

    As we finally got to our campsite at Phantom Ranch around 3PM, we enjoyed the scenery from there. Then, we unpacked and dove into the stream there. It was a lot warmer than at Bright Angel. It was also deeper, so we were able to put our entire body in it for longer. We tried to catch the fish that were eating our dead skin. Also, when we were eating lunch, deer sat right next to us and didn’t care. It was fun.

    As night came, I did what I did the first night. I slept on the picnic tables at our campground. It was quite wonderful. I saw the stars beautifully, and I also heard some animals. I saw bats flying over me quite closely, and I heard the stream next to me quietly. I loved every second of sleeping there, and I think that that moment was my happiest moment.

    The next day was a breeze up until we got a couple of miles away from the South Rim. Everything that hadn’t affected me earlier hit me like a devil then. I took tons of breaks, and the switch backs were a pain in the area where the sun doesn’t shine. However, I still loved it. Several people and families had seen my friend and me, our clothes and bodies dirty. They got up to the rim quicker than we did. As we kept going on, my friend wanted to take a break. I kept going and eventually, I made it to the 2 mile marker(I think it’s that). People were congratulating me and told me to keep going on, that it isn’t far.

    I eventually was met by one of my friends who went to Phantom Ranch the first day and his mom. He helped me hike out and it was a lot easier. When I got out, several groups of people noticed me and gave me an applause that I didn’t deserve. Anyways, I again slept on a picnic table near our troop’s items. I missed lunch, but it was OK.

    I am very proud of myself for this trip, because I never threw up or whined or complained. I kept going forward. I never put on sunscreen and the only sunburn I got was on the very tip of my nose and was hardly noticeable. I loved going, and when I’ll be going again next year when I’m 14.

  44. Robert Rader says:

    I was an employee of Fred Harvey (Amfac) on the south rim in 1975. I was given the oppurtunity to fly to the north rim, camp, and hike back rim to rim. It was an amazing trip for a 19 y.o. who never really saw anything much other than the west side of Indianapolis. I loved the north kaibab trail. The first few miles were so different than any trails I’d seen in the canyon. When I was coming into phantom ranch I met a guy from Texas and three women from Mo. We came across a pink rattler who was trying to hide under a rock. What a rare chance to see a pink rattle snake. The three of them had hiked from south to north and now were on their way back. The guy had told the women all hike long that scorpions would not get a plastic ground cloth (he was lying…hehehe). This was the last night and he laid down on the sleeping bag and got stung by a scorpion.

    The hike in the next day was delayed because I waited to hike in with the Texas hiker, so he could regain some of his strength. We made it to the 1 1/2 mile water stop. We ate the last of our food and laid back to rest. The next morning we woke with no food, little water, and sore. That last mile and a half were the hardest miles I ever hiked. We made a beeline to the restaurant, stinky, and hungry. Must be rated as one the best experiences in my life.

  45. Silke Weidemann says:

    My husband Markus and I had hiked to Plateau Point in 2010. Standing there and watching the river flowing down in the gorge below he said: “We have to come back and go down there. I must touch the river”. That was, when the idea of Rim to Rim was born. Last year in May we were lucky to get a permit for the date in September we planned. On September 3rd we got married at Red Rock Overlook near Las Vegas and on September 9th we started at North Rim. Is there any better way to spend a honeymoon? The next days really changed our lives and especially our perception of our mother nature and our essential needs in life.

    On our first day we headed down North Kaibab Trail. Just below Supai Tunnel we encountered a place, where parts of the trail were washed away caused by heavy rainfalls during the summer. I was happy to manage that part with my fear of heights. It took us about four hours to get to Cottonwood Campground. We spend a lot of time inside our tent, because of the storm front which passed through the Southwest during these days. Cottonwood Campground is a really nice and quiet place, especially when the sun starts to set and the day ends.

    On our second day we had a late start at about 8 am. Usually one should avoid a late start when heading for the bottom of the canyon. The last part before reaching Phantom Ranch is called “The Box” and with its narrow and dark walls you easily feel like hiking in an oven. Luckily the weather wasn´t that hot and the sky was cloudy, therefore our late start caused no problems. At around noon we found a nice place at Bright Angel Campground. We managed to dry our tent and then went to the Phantom Ranch Canteen to grab a T-Shirt and a cup of coffee. While drinking our coffee and writing some postcards we talked to a lot of hikers. This was really fun. We shared a table with mary and her family from Iowa. They were hiking on the same itinerary like us. After our coffee break we went down to the mighty Colorado and Silver Bridge. Rain started again and we went back to the campground. Bright Angel Campground has water toilets and really nice places.

    Day three started with an early breakfast and we hit the trail at about 7 am. After crossing Silver Bridge we reached the River Trail, which beautifully winds along the Colorado. Near River Resthouse we went to Pipe Creek Beach and my hubby´s dream came true: we touched the river and felt the water and the red earth in our own hands. I cannot describe how that felt. Next part of the trail included some nice switchbacks called the Devils Corksrew and they were quite challenging. After four hours of hiking we finally reached Indian Garden. The campground has nice shelters and we enjoyed to sit under that roof while a thunderstorm roared over the canyon, talking to Mary and her husband and having some coffee.

    Our last day started well before dawn and with our headlights on we went for our final spurt. I can hardly explain how I felt that day. The sun started to rise and bathed the canyon walls in golden light. My heart was touched deeply like I never knew before. While heading up Bright Angel Trail we met a lot of people who encouraged us and admired our trip. We met a ranger and she said “Looks like early morning folks out of the garden” and “Good to keep it slow”, when we told her that we had taken four days for our R2R trip. The higher we went, the better it felt. And then the last tunnel came in sight and the trailhead shortly after. Upon arriving at South Rim we fell into each others arms and were just happy. We really made it. The canyon is now enclosed in our hearts forever and we can´t wait to come back, jump into our boots and go down there again.

    And that was our rim to rim story.

  46. John Luznicky says:

    Our Rim to Rim trip we thought would not happen.

    In late 2013 my wife, Beata, our two daughters, Susie and Shannon, and I wanted to plan a rim to rim hike in October of 2014. We got our reservation at the rims a year out (2013) but were unable to get Phantom Ranch reservations. My Susie would call a couple times a month to see if Phantom had any openings with no luck. Then in mid-September of 2014 we got reservations at Phantom Ranch and were good to go.

    We all know what happened in October of 2014. There was a government shut down and the parks were closed. All our tickets were paid for, so we decided to go anyway hoping they would open. We spent some time in Sedona. Things were looking very bleak and we were set to leave for home soon. We heard that Zion was going to open so we headed that way. On the way we stopped by the North Rim, saw the barricades and briefly spoke to the Ranger guarding the entrance. We headed back toward Jacob Lake and while getting gas my daughter got a text from a friend who said the park would open the next morning. We checked it out and yes, it was true. The park would open the next morning at 8am. We were so excited; we could hardly sleep that evening.

    We were at the entrance of the North Rim at 8am. The barricades were gone and not a soul in site, just us and 3 other cars. So In we went. We spent a little time at the lodge and by 9:30am we were all set to start our hike from the trailhead of the North Kaibab Trail at the north rim. There was snow on the ground and off we went. Hiking was slow at first but Susie and Shannon soon took off. My wife and I trailed behind. One exciting part of the hike was where the trail was washed out and you had to hold on to a rope anchored into the wall to get past the washout. The view was fantastic, truly a thing of beauty. Watching the scenery change on the way down was awesome, Supai tunnel was way cool. The hike down went well but slow. We saw roaring falls what a site. Took a break at the Pumphouse and off we went again. We took another break at Cottonwood campground and off again. I think Cottonwood Campground is where I got my case of poison Ivy. Yuk. Then night fall came. We were tired but kept going. The last few miles took 2 hours of hiking in the dark. We heard the water but could not see much. We arrived at Phantom Ranch around 7:15pm Needless to say we were beat. Totally spent. We missed dinner but the staff saved our meal and heated it up and took good care of us. Oh and my daughters. They just cruised along like it was a walk in the park. The exciting thing for them was when they came upon a rattle snake. Susie walked past it, it started to rattle and Shannon was still on the other side of the Snake. They were able navigate around it and continue the hike with a story to tell.

    We spent the night at Phantom Ranch in one of the cabins. We would have loved to stay a full day at the bottom but needed to leave first thing in the morning to make our flight home. So our car is at the North Rim and we are coming up the South Rim. It was obvious I would not make it up in time for the shuttle back to the North Rim to get the car. Susie was the strongest hiker and she left at 6 am for the south Rim. She took one break the whole way up and got to the top around 11 am, in plenty of time for the shuttle. Shannon, Beata and I had a good healthy breakfast, grabbed our sack lunch and off we went. We were real sore but excited. It’s amazing what a little adrenalin can do for you. Shannon didn’t like the pace Beata and I had, so off she went. She got up a couple hours before us. We left from Phantom Ranch at 7:30am and got to the top about 7:00pm. Needless to say we stopped several times along the way to enjoy the hike. What a long hike that again ended in the last few hours in the dark.

    This was a fantastic hike and we will do it again. I just hope we can spend more time at the North Rim and Phantom Ranch. While a rim to rim hike is truly a memorably experience, what made it even more memorable is it all came together at the last minute.

  47. Cathy Claybaugh says:

    My reasons for doing a Rim to Rim have very little to do with taking on a challenge. And before I became addicted to The Canyon I had never done anything that involved a big physical challenge besides downhill skiing, and there’s a lot of gravity involved there. I just wanted to spend time IN the canyon.

    There are only two ways to really be in the canyon: boats and feet. I chose feet. I started accumulating equipment and experience, and started hiking the canyon – in 1999. First day hikes, then down to Phantom Ranch and back, and then my first Rim to Rim in 2007, at age 60.

    My ideal trip is Day 1: N Rim to Cottonwood Campground. Day 2: Cottonwood / Rainbow Falls / Bright Angel Campground (it’s between Phantom Ranch and the river.) Day 3: Hang out at the bottom / day hike the River Trail or an out-and-back on the Clear Creek Trail / sit in the creek (in hot weather) / play on the water slide in Phantom Creek / etc. etc. Day 4: up to Indian Garden Campground / explore around there / do an evening hike out to Plateau Point. Day 5: Indian Garden to the S Rim while feeling un-tired and absolutely exhilarated!!! And always – chat with anyone who is so inclined, hike slowly, and stop often to just look and just be there.

    If your friends and family, like mine, don’t share your enthusiasm for long, hot dirt staircases, sign up for a group class/trip with the Grand Canyon Field Institute. You will bond with your group and have someone who can explain Vishnu Schist, identify each plant around Rainbow Falls, tell you a great story about the (former) swimming pool at Phantom Ranch (and the hippies who skinny-dipped there) and show you where to place your hand over 1.2 billion missing years of geological history at the Great Uncomformity.

  48. Michael Mack says:

    Haven’t hiked the Canyon since my hip replacement in 08, but am looking at a south rim loop. Previously I have done 12 one day rim to rim’s, two one day rim to rim to rims and one rim to river and back. The Canyon is my most favorite place and am looking forward to getting a couple more hikes in the future. I have met a ton of great people and love, when asked on the trial, where did you start?, that jaw dropping look. I prefer the north to south route on the one way and staring at Yaki for the double. If anyone wants any advice I would love to give it, as sharing this unique experience is a joy.

    Mike

  49. Ira Schaeffer says:

    Just got back from a 2 day Rim-To-Rim on July 6, 2013. It was fantastic. An experience of a lifetime. We did the North Kaibab in 10 hours and back up Bright Angel the next day in 6 hrs. what a great experience!

  50. Just finished my 8th & 9th crossing of the Canyon. A Rim2Rim2Rim in 23:08. I never want to see the canyon again. more to come later!

  51. Bob Schindler says:

    We did the rim-to-rim this past August 31st. It was a beautiful hike, very hot as you can expect, and met great people on the trial and at the ranch. I would have to say sharing the experience with other people on the same adventure was the best part of the trip. The most frustrating was hiking along the creek on the lower part of the North Kaibab and having all of that cool water so close yet so much effort to reach it to cool off. A very strong wind in the ‘box’ made it like hiking into a hair dryer. It is privilege to join the 3%.

  52. Danny and Cheryl Kennedy says:

    Cheryl and I were coming up on our 20th wedding anniversary. We also both turned 40 in 2010. We were looking for something “big” to do to celebrate. We decided to hike R2R after reading an article in Backpacker magazine. This adventure seemed to have so much in common with our lives together. Beauty, easy times, tough times, accomplishments, adventure and the list goes on.

    We decided on the trip a little to late to get a permit to camp in the canyon so we did what we always do. We decided to hike the R2R in one day. We flew from Florida to Vegas. We rented a car and drove to the South Rim. Stayed one night there. Shuttled to the North Rim via Trans Canyon Shuttle (GREAT PEOPLE). We camped there until 4:05 am when we started our journey on 10/10/10. With head lamps on we desended down on what we called our 404020 trip. We made it to the Supai Tunnel in 47 minutes. The Sun started coming up and the views were incredible. There were some narrow paths with steep drop offs but that comes with the territory at GCNP. We made Ribbon Falls at 3 hours 22 minutes where we had some breakfast. We got back on Bright Angel Trail and continued on. We passed a series of footbridges know as the box and were at Phantom Ranch 5 hours 39 minutes into our hike. We crossed the muddy Colorado at 6 hours 3 minutes in and continued up the River Trail for about 45 minutes where we had lunch at a rest house there. The elevation is now going up. We passed the Indian Garden Campground 8 hours 19 minutes in. The elevation is now really going up. The 3 Mile Resthouse was a climb to get to but we made it at the 9 hour 25 minute mark. Rests became a little more frequent to the 1.5 Mile Resthouse at 10 hours 29 minutes. we finished our celebration trip 11 hours 31 minutes and 35 seconds after starting.

    We saw wild life, rivers, people and at times no people. It was worthy of our birthday/anniversary 404020 R2R adventure that we were looking for. If you get the chance…….do it. That night we stayed back at Mather’s Campground on the South Rim.

  53. Linda Thornhill says:

    I have enjoyed this challenge twice. I was much better prepared the second time, at least I could walk that next day. I had climbed The Highest Peak in Africa so when the chance came to do Rim to Rim I finally said yes. I would recommend anyone up for the experience they should train hard with many miles and get a very early start. Having a nice long lunch break at the bottom is time well spent, although difficult to leave and head up for the long hard hike out. I would say yes to it at least one time.

  54. Locke Ettinger says:

    My wife Carol Sue and I enjoyed rim to rim on May 21st 2011. We were with friends and enjoyed the day very much. The highlight for me was ribbon falls, I have been in many canyons and observed many water falls but the green monolith of moss in the desert was really spectacular. It was difficult and challenging but a great experience.

  55. Scott Arkon says:

    I’ve done rim to rim a couple times now and hope to several more. My first adventure was as a 16 year old scout. We started at North Rim and I caught the flu the first morning. We were dropped of so there was no turning back. Everytime i would drink water or gatorade, it would come back up within a minute or so. After a while i wasn’t throwing up anything but pure water (or gatorade). It was oddly refreshing. Not the violent stomach convultions but the lack of terrible flavors and acidity normally associated with vomitting. So day 2 we stayed at Phantom Ranch.

    Upon our arrival we found that mud slides had washed out the trail to Indian Gardens and we would have to take the very verticle South Kaibab Trail. So what was to be a 2 day out just turned into a 1 day out. I still haven’t been able to eat or drink anything at this point but strangely had some energy and a good mental attitude. I unloaded my pack at the bottom getting rid of every bit of extra weight. Because i was moving so slowly it was decided i should take a nap and leave around 9pm and hike through the night.

    So myself and a leader started off and hiked through the night. Lots of stops, still trying to eat a little, still throwing it all up. The sun came up around the Chimney. I could have lived without seeing that part looming up ahead. I remeber at this point being out of water since SK Trail did not have running water at that time (don’t know if they do now or not). Everyone is telling me the end of the trail is at the top of the Chimney. I must have looked really bad because strangers kept asking me if i was OK. Halfway up Chimney there was a bottle of water sitting on the side of the trail with a note that said “Take if you need. Leave it if you don’t.” It was a God send. I kept that note as a reminder of this hike for about 10 years.

    I finally did make it to the top of Chimney and was so excited. I had fixated on orange juice for the last 2 hours or so. It is what made me take every step. I could see a big glass of orange juice with ice sitting at the top of the trail. Funny with all that vomitting I still just wanted to eat. I was looking around for the parking lot where are cars would be waiting for us and asked a fellow hiker, ‘where are the cars?’ I don’t remember him saying anything, though i’m sure he did, but i remember his hand. It pointed way up the side of another mountain. It ends up that the top of Chimney is a lookout for people who want to hike a couple miles into the canyon. I felt like someone kicked my puppy. I layed down and fell asleep.

    I awoke to the sound of ice slushing around in a cooler. I was a bit disoriented but i heard this distinctly and hopped up and chased the guy with this cooler. He must have thought i was crazy asking him for some of his water. I didn’t tell you this was in August and it was hot as hell so ice water felt amazing. This time i didn’t throw up. I hiked out about 10am. That is how slow i was – over 12 hours.

    It was the best adventure i had as a scout. I was proud of my mental toughness. I never whined, cried or asked my leaders to take me home. It taught me that you can do more than your body says you can if your mind is in charge. I went again on this hike 12 years later and everything went perfectly smooth. It was better the first time.

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