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Grand Canyon Corridor Loop, AZ

Guide 12 Triplogs  0 Topics
  4.7 of 5 
414 12 0
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Difficulty 5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 32 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,211 feet
Elevation Gain 4,757 feet
Accumulated Gain 11,790 feet
Avg Time One Way 4 days
Kokopelli Seeds 71.29
Interest Historic, Seasonal Waterfall, Perennial Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
8  2021-05-16 survivordude
1  2019-05-18 survivordude
21  2015-05-23
Clear Creek Trail - GCNP
44  2012-10-26 hikemonk
75  2011-06-10 IsAli
84  2010-11-12 desertgirl
61  2010-11-12 writelots
120  2010-11-12 tibber
Author writelots
author avatar Guides 19
Routes 40
Photos 5,607
Trips 340 map ( 3,923 miles )
Age 48 Female Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Jun, Aug, Sep
Sun  6:16am - 6:25pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

The Grand Circle of the Grand Circle
by writelots

Likely In-Season!
HAZ Patch
This is one of the more common itineraries for backpacking the Grand Canyon, especially for those who are new to backpacking in general. The most significant benefit of this approach is that it gives you an up-close and personal experience with the most famous sites in the Grand Canyon backcountry without stressful and challenging timelines. It is doable any time of year because of the availability of water at several points along the route and the fact that the trails are maintained even in winter. However, it should be noted that travel on this route during the heat of summer or winter will require special preparation. The Grand Canyon is nothing if not a land of extremes!

Detailed descriptions are available on HAZ for each of the trails involved in this loop: South Kaibab, North Kaibab Trail to Ribbon Falls, Bright Angel Trail and Plateau Point. I'll try not to repeat too much from those.

As a backpack, this is comfortably completed in 3-4 days - though there are endless additional possibilities for longer trips. If you go too fast, you'll miss the fun of this particular trip! Beginning on the South Kaibab, it typically takes an easy day of hiking to reach the campground at Bright Angel Creek and Phantom Ranch (7.5 mi - -4380' AEG). Staying overnight here requires permits or (in the case of Phantom Ranch) reservations. Camping at BA is posh camping by any standard, with potable water spigots, flush toilets, picnic benches, food storage containers, and (best of all) cold beverages at the Phantom Ranch Canteen.

The following day, hit the North Kaibab trail along the perennial Bright Angel Creek. This trip not only has a great destination at Ribbon Falls, but the trail is pretty and fun in its own right (15 mi - 1204' AEG). Take time in summer to cool yourself off in the stream, or in winter, enjoy the way the light plays in the narrows of Bright Angel canyon. On the way back, take a few minutes to check out the narrow slot canyon of Phantom Creek - or get a beer at the Canteen and check in with the other hikers. Take your dinner to Boat Beach and spend some quality time with the old Colorado. It never fails to impress.

Hiking up to Indian Gardens is the best part of the Bright Angel Trail, and if you've got permits to stay overnight, you can take your time and check out some of the more interesting sites along the way (5 mi - 1320' AEG). This includes Garden Falls - a multi-tiered waterfall through the slick narrows. It's barely visible from the trail, but a quick jaunt across the creek and a scramble give a fantastic view of this oasis. Enjoy hiking through the gash cut into the plateau through the Tapeats layers - dotted with Cottonwoods and lush riparian wildflowers.

From Indian Gardens, grab your dinner and go and enjoy the sunset at Plateau Point (3.2 mi - 165' AEG). From here, you will again see the raging Colorado River as it courses through the Granite Gorge. The rock slabs and platforms of this area are perfect for dinner (as long as the wind isn't too strong), and the hike back is easy enough to complete by moonlight or headlamp. Don't miss the star show from here, either. It'll remind you of the wonder of childhood.

The final hike up the Bright Angel Trail to the Rim is an exercise in dedication (4.5mi - 3000' AEG). Although never terribly steep, it is relentlessly up, and the hundreds of stair steps created to prevent erosion (caused primarily by the mule trails) make keeping your own pace even more challenging. This trail is heavily used year-round, so expect company, and expect at least one amazed tourist to ask you, "Did you go down there?!".

At the top, don't forget to grab an ice cream at the Soda Fountain or even a cold and frosty one at the Bright Angel Lodge Lounge. Oh, and for the absolute most complete Grand Canyon Backpacking Experience: buy one of those T-Shirts that say "I hiked the Canyon". At least you'll be telling the truth!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a difficult hike. It would be insane to attempt this entire hike without prior experience hiking.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2010-11-17 writelots
  • Grand Canyon Use Area Boundaries - Dynamic Map

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Permit $$

Grand Canyon National Park
Details for each are occasionaly below numerous alerts
Entrance Fee
Overnight/Backpacking Permits
Grand Canyon Use Areas Map
Rim-to-Rim and Extended Day Hike/Run

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To South Kaibab Trailhead
From Flagstaff head west on I-40 for 30.4 mi to SR-64. Turn right/north and follow SR-64 55 miles to the park. You will receive a map & information at the GC park entrance.

You can only reach the trailhead by free-shuttle or taxi. Parking is available at several lots. There is a lot a mile from the trailhead on the east drive. If you are there early you can use this lot (it fills up fast) and hike the two miles there and back.

Express hikers' shuttles directly from Bright Angel Lodge and the Backcountry Information Center to the South Kaibab trailhead depart daily at:
March 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., and 9:00 a.m.
April 6:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m., and 8:00 a.m.
May 5:00 a.m., 6:00 a.m., and 7:00 a.m.

NPS Note: The South Kaibab Trail is located near Yaki Point. Due to the popularity of this area and extremely limited space, parking is not permitted at the trailhead. Hikers must use the park's free shuttle bus system to reach the trailhead. Every morning, several hiker express buses leave from the Bright Angel Lodge and then from the Backcountry Information Center (times vary depending on the month). Otherwise, hikers will need to take the village bus (Blue Line) to Canyon View Information Plaza and transfer to the Green Line. South Kaibab trailhead is the first stop on the Green Line.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 235 mi - about 3 hours 42 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 340 mi - about 5 hours 12 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 88.1 mi - about 1 hour 33 mins
page created by writelots on Nov 17 2010 5:52 pm
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