North Kaibab Trail Repairs Completed, Restrictions Lifted
Grand Canyon, AZ – On Tuesday, June 3, 2008, repairs to the North Kaibab trail on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park were completed and all restrictions were lifted.
On January 10, 2008, the National Park Service (NPS) received a report of trail damage on the North Kaibab Trail. A trail assessment by NPS Trail Crew members determined that a 20-foot section of the trail had been damaged by normally occurring freeze-thaw conditions. Due to the narrow trail conditions, the trail was closed to private, cross-canyon stock use until trail repairs could be completed.
Before the repairs could be completed, on Saturday, February 23, trail crew members reported that a rock fall had occurred damaging the 3rd bridge north of Phantom Ranch on the North Kaibab Trail. The rock fall had damaged 80 – 90 feet of railing, damaged girders and fractured the bridge’s center supporting abutment. As a result, the restriction on private, cross-canyon stock use was extended indefinitely.
In early April, Trail Crew members traveled to the North Rim to begin preparations for the seasonal opening of the North Rim. At that time, they discovered that during the winter, 15 retaining walls, totaling over 1000 square feet, had been damaged or destroyed by rock falls and slides in between Supai Tunnel and Roaring Springs on the North Kaibab Trail. As a result, North Kaibab stock traffic originating on the North Rim, including concession run mule rides, could not travel beyond Supai tunnel.
On June 2, Trail Crew members completed temporary repairs to the 3rd bridge north of Phantom Ranch, installing handrails and braces sufficient to support a moderate level of stock use. On June 3, Trail Crew members completed reconstruction of the last of the retaining walls below Supai tunnel. As a result, on June 4 all restrictions on the North Kaibab Trail were lifted; and the entire North Kaibab Trail was opened to stock use for the first time since mid-January.
Concession managed mule rides on the North Rim are now back to full operations, including full-day mule rides down to Roaring Springs.
Permanent repairs to the 3rd bridge north of Phantom Ranch will take place this winter when flows in Bright Angel Creek are at their lowest and most stable.