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Grand Canyon - North Rim - AZT #39, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northwest > North Rim
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 12.36 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,238 feet
Elevation Gain 876 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,770 feet
Avg Time One Way 5-6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 18.26
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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38  2019-08-29 tibber
57  2019-07-04
AZT Utah to South Rim Grand Canyon
3  2018-05-25
Ken Patrick Trail
16  2017-07-28 Sredfield
17  2017-05-18
AT #39 north portion #40 South Portion
7  2017-05-18
AT #39 Hwy 67 to Park Entrance
14  2017-05-13
Grand Canyon - Inner Gorge - AZT #38
10  2016-07-22
AZT #39 Grand Canyon Rim to HWY 67
Page 1,  2,  3
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Jun, Aug
Sun  6:17am - 6:24pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
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Named place Nearby
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Overview: This passage begins at the North Kaibab Trailhead on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The trail crosses Highway 67 and heads northwest, passing through Harvey Meadow and then the Widforss Trail junction. It joins a road and then leaves it to the right. The trail climbs steeply, crosses a road and then levels out and heads northwest. It turns to the north and runs through forests and meadows, and then reaches Highway 67. After crossing the highway the trail soon turns to the left and parallels the highway. The trail reaches a high point and then drops down near the highway again and follows it to the Grand Canyon National Park entrance station. From here the route is to the right along a service road for just over a mile. The trail then leaves the road to the left and runs down to the park boundary.

Southern Trailhead: North Kaibab TH - Hwy 67

Northern Trailhead: Grand Canyon NP boundary - FR 610

Note: This page is open to authors. Hike must be listed South to North as one-way. Do not include an overview as the above is permanent.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
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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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Grand Canyon - North Rim - AZT #39
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AZT: Mormon Lake to Utah
I'm not even sure how to approach a trip log of this magnitude, so I'll try to keep it short and focus on the highlights/lowlights.

The hike took place between May 31st and June 16th. We had 2 zero days (one in Flagstaff, one in Tusayan), and one "nero" out of Tusayan. We averaged 25 - 30 miles a day, except for in the Grand Canyon. This trip started out with a few hiccups (feet, gear, fires, heat...) but after Tusayan we had the kinks worked out and I felt like a well oiled long distance hiking machine.


Humphrey's Summit Side Trip
We decided to include a side trip to Humphrey's Peak. It was a great way to escape the hottest part of the first weekend and let things cool down below 9000ft, even if the summit was swarming with gnats and people. :) On the way back down, I met @joebartels and @the_eagle. Very cool! Nice to have met you both!

Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim was AMAZING. The scenery had my jaw on the ground nearly the entire time! I was extremely nervous about doing this passage in June and thought it was nearly impossible to score walk-in permits, but the stars aligned and we had no issues grabbing permits for both campgrounds.

We did it over 3 days to beat the heat, camping at Bright Angel and Cottonwood campgrounds, moving only between the hours of 5am - 9am. Soaking in Bright Angel Creek made the heat tolerable, and it was a nice change of pace compared to the 25 - 30 mile days we were doing above the rims.

One of the rangers issuing the permits gave us some dire warnings about "130 degrees in the sun", and how "nobody has fun down there this time of year." I even asked him about soaking in the creek to ward off the heat and he made it sound like it was only mildly effective. Contrary to what he said, it probably never got above 105 in the sun and sitting in the creek was actually extremely relaxing.

We took the short side trip to Ribbon Falls and it was totally worth it. What a neat little oasis in the canyon! We saw a beaver in the creek between Bright Angel and Cottonwood campgrounds, I never expected to see that.

The climb out of the Canyon from Cottonwood to the North Rim was well graded, and we topped out in about 2 hours 45 mins.

There is definitely a lot more Grand Canyon hiking in my future come fall/winter/spring.

North Rim + Kaibab Plateau
It was so nice to get a break from the hot temperatures when we topped out on the North Rim. They didn't last for long, though. As soon as we were back down around 7000 ft it was getting warm again.

The aspen and fir lined meadows were also a nice change of scenery. Easy going, dreamy hiking. It was also cool starting the day at Cottonwood and within a few hours being in a drastically different environment.

We ran out of food just before highway 89A, so we went in to Jacob Lake for a small resupply and also had a great breakfast at the restaurant. We probably had less than 2000 calories per day from the North Rim to Jacob Lake, needless to say the hiker hunger was strong when we reached Jacob Lake.

Finishing the AZT
Damn did it feel good. :)


Feet Issues
On day one I had a nasty blister form on the bottom of my foot due to AZ rocks tearing up the tread on my one month old Altra shoes. When we reached Flagstaff I initially tried to remedy the problem by buying thicker insoles (SuperFeet) for my shoes and taping up my foot with climbing tape. I was apprehensive about getting new shoes because I've always had issues with breaking in new shoes, even trail runners. The tape and thicker insoles worked for about half of a day. I think the tape actually might have made matters worse. I decided the next day after leaving Flag to hitch back into town from Snowbowl Rd in order to pop the blister and let it heal with a zero day. We got a ride by the first vehicle that I thumbed!

Popping the blister and staying off of it for a day helped, but after our Humphrey Summit and a couple more days of hiking the blister was back with a vengeance by the time we reached the Babbit Ranch passage. I was very nervous about going forward from Babbit Ranch because it would mean committing to about 60 miles before any relief in Tusayan. I nearly walked out to the highway from the TH and called for pickup. But after sleeping on it, I sucked it up and continued. Eventually, after hiking on it for another 40 miles, it stopped hurting so much.

When we reached Tusayan I decided to bite the bullet and take a shuttle back to Flagstaff to get some new shoes. I bought some Brooks Cascadia 11's, swapped out the insoles with the SuperFeet I bought, and never had a single foot issue the rest of the trip. :)

Gear Issues
Sleeping pad got punctured and I lost my sunglasses the very first night. These items were replaced on the first visit to REI in Flag. Somewhere along the way, the "stay bar" in my backpack ripped through the bottom of my pack again and went missing.

The nearby fires on the rim made the miles into Flagstaff smokey. It was particularly bad on the second day when we woke up at the Horse Mesa Trailhead with thick smoke to hike through til Marshall Lake. Those were some lightheaded, oxygen deprived miles.

When I planned this trip, I expected the highs to be in the high 70s to low 80s, actual highs were in the high 80s to low 90s for the entire trip, expect for the North Rim and Kaibab Plateau South & Central passages. As expected, it reached low triple digits in the Grand Canyon. We combated the heat by taking a long 2 hour break during the hottest part of the day under a cedar or pine. If there was a good enough breeze, usually we could still hike in the heat. We were also consuming up to 2 gallons of water a day.

Final AZT Thoughts

In my opinion, the Grand Canyon takes the cake for the most scenic passage of the trail. That being said, I believe that below the Mogollon Rim the AZT is way more scenic per-mile than on top of the plateau. It's easy to keep motivated below the Rim when you're getting drowned in gorgeous wide open views in every direction, and hard to keep motivated above the Rim when all you're seeing most of the day is the next ponderosa or ceder 10 yards ahead of you. Just my opinion, though.

AZ rocks with eat up your shoes.

If I was to ever attempt a thru-hike of the trail, I would most likely start in the early fall and head south. The terminus in Utah isn't a terrible place to end, but Miller Peak and Mexico would have been a much grander ending.
Grand Canyon - North Rim - AZT #39
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Tom & I decided to knock off the passages of the AZT north of the Grand Canyon all at one time due to the long drive from Phoenix. The week we chose was a little rainy but we got it done anyway.

Passge 39, Grand Canyon, North Rim 12.70 miles, 1,500' aeg. We began at the North Kaibab TH and camped just outside the park border after the day's hiking. We had cached water at wp 39-103 and carried it the last 2.5 miles. We camped at the eastern edge of an open area but should have camped on the west side. It had rained during the day and we expected rain that night so I had the rain fly on my tent closed. During the night my sleeping bag got wet due to condensation inside the tent. I have an ultra-light tent of a "hybrid" design without mesh on part of the roof. The foot of my sleeping bag kept touching it. I dried it out in the sun the next morning but had to walk on the other side (west side) of the clearing to find good sun early. It would have been easier had we camped on that side. Also my sleeping pad got a small puncture so wouldn't hold air for more than 2 - 3 hours. Luckily I was able to find the hole the next morning and patch it. Not a great way to start the trip.

Passage 40, Kaibab Plateau South 22.0 miles 1,800' aeg. This was a great section up to the burn area. Pine forest and open, grassy valleys. The East Rim view was a good lunch spot. Then it rained most of the afternoon stopping enough for us to pitch our tents near wp 40-128 where we had cached our water. As it turned out there was plenty of water along this section, but we didn't know that ahead of time. Of course it showered some more keeping us in our tents before we could cook dinner. And it rained during the night as well. I got even wetter than the previous night. The next morning we dried what we could, but gave up and continued the passage. Crane Lake offered a good stopping point where I was able to fully dry my tent and rain gear. We continued on to Telephone Hill, the end of the passage.

Passage 41, Kaibab Plateau Central 17.2 miles, 571' aeg. From Telephone Hill we continued to hike the burned area to waypoint 41-046 where we had cached water. We camped near some trees to the east. We had our tents up before this day's rain, and I was getting a little better at organizing my sleeping arrangements so my sleeping bag didn't get as wet. I was able to dry it out somewhat with my body heat. The rain ended after a couple of hours and we ate and retired. The next day we finished this passage and saw the only other hikers we saw during the entire 6 days on this trip. The leader was Andrea Michaels, the trail steward for passage 31a and there were 3 other women. We talked with them for a bit and then were on our way. After completing this passage we went to the Jacob Lake Inn where we had reservations, had lunch, retrieved my car at the north rim and the water cache empties we left along the way, then cleaned up for dinner and got ready for the next day's hike on Passage 42.

Despite the rain this was an enjoyable trip. The Kaibab Plateau forests and valleys were great. We didn't see much wildlife but it was bow season for bucks so that could have scared the animals into hiding. We did about 13 miles a day which wasn't too taxing and my pack was only 30 lbs starting weight.
Grand Canyon - North Rim - AZT #39
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I love it when a plan comes together.

Joe, Denny and myself hooked up with Ben Friday Morning in the Valley and started our jaunt to the North Rim. The Plan was to Drop Ben's Truck at the AZT 39 North TH, drive down to the South Trailhead and meet up with jjiii. John would then hike 39 with us.

The one gating factor here, is that John was starting on the South Kaibab Trail and doing AZT 38 first. A friggin' 20+ mile 7200' AEG Rim to Rim! I got a text from him in the morning saying he was running late because of Car logistics on the South Rim.

Can this still work? Time would tell.. We went about our business, taking the Denny Trailhead shot, packing our stuff up, and started on our way, hoping JJ would catch up. It took all of 20' down the trail before we heard .....Guys!. What are the chances? He had to bag his planned side trip to Ribbon Falls, but had managed what I believe was a 6.5 hour Rim to Rim. He was now on his 13 mile "Cool Down" hike with us.

Anyways, the hike. It was pleasant enough. Lots of aspens, mostly gentle grades, good trail conditions, and just plain good company. There was nothing outstanding about the hike, but I never get tired of walking through aspens and pines. The Forrest Service Cabin that the Gate attendants stay in, was on the way and fit perfectly in it's setting.

Denny, JJ and myself made the short side trip to the vacant North Rim Lookout Tower. From the chilly, windy top, you could see the South Rim, 18 miles away.

The Tower attendants cabin had long since been deserted and was in disrepair. It was the first time I'd seen aspen used for support beams. Contents included old chairs, an old sink unit, bed springs and a dead porcupine in the sleeping quarters.

The final push on this one gets you out of the GC Park and into the North Kaibab National Forest. Here you get a hint of the meadows you'll be hiking through for the next passage.

After finishing, we headed to Jacob Lake to finalize logistics for the 7 of us hiking the next day. Dave, Nick and JJ had a shower, restaurant food and a warm bed for the night.

Joe, Denny, Ben and myself made the 1 hour and 10 minute drive to the Stateline Campground to set up what we'd hoped was our home for the next 2 nights.

The Eclipser's had the place packed, so we found a spot for the night, and started cooking dinner at 10pm and then off to bed shortly after 11, for our 4:30am wake up call.

A good start to the weekend!
Two to go.
Grand Canyon - North Rim - AZT #39
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Denny, Bruce & I hooked up with Ben and jj3 to finish off the distant Kaibab Plateau.

Bob met Ben in helping Mike Armstrong on the AZT. Ben is into that Chinese wrestling thing Bob is into only a little different version with bare knuckles. He explained how hitting the face is not allowed but kicking is fair game. Luckily he wasn't a total geek like Bob. Ben is a sysadmin so I gleaned good info.

In addition we were looking to help jj3. Since jj has a flat tire jinx nobody wanted him in their vehicle. The solution was simple. jj would simply start the hike some 40 miles prior.

Denny took the obligatory trailhead photo and we were on our way. Well for maybe twenty seconds when low and behold we heard a distant "hey guys". Yes jj had slayed one of the seven wonders of the world nary a break and we were on our way once again.

Yeah right let's back the train up. If I could have a moment of your time I think we can clear this up. jj talks, cheers and promotes "tootsie rolls" as if they were the eighth wonder of the world. The plaintiff rambled on that 80% enjoy artificial(wikipedia > history > paragraph one) chocolate. So I'd like to present to the jury exhibit A. I asked Mr 3 "did you drink or eat anything". He replied "bla bla bla and a Pearson Salted Nut Roll".

This is a delightful hike through pines and aspen. What made it even nicer (aside the top notch company) was a breezy low moving in with slightly dark clouds. A considerable amount of this segment is double track but only negatively charged minds could possibly complain.

Post hike we met up with Dave and Nick in Jacobs Lake to set camp at the Stateline Campgrounds on the AZ/UT border.

Wildfowers: dandy lions were substantial for those that consider 'em prime wildflowers
Grand Canyon - North Rim - AZT #39
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the start of the long anticipated trip to the north. dave and i had been talking/planning this out for months.

dave detailed all the events that led up to this point earlier in the day well. suffice it to say our patience was tested, yet we hit the trail in good spirits nonetheless.

this segment far exceeded my expectations and was a wonderful walk through the woods with late afternoon sun filtering through the trees and leaves, at times in spectacular fashion. we pounded this out quickly as we were on the clock a bit, but i think we both soaked up the charm of this segment anyway. hit the lookout near the end, which was well worth it too.

set up camp in a great little spot as sun set. temps dropped quickly and sharply but i had a great night outside anyway. went to sleep excited for the next segment, which i knew was going to be a highlight of the azt after reading the triplogs from the boys hike up here the weekend before.
Grand Canyon - North Rim - AZT #39
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Frick and I decided to take 5 days off of work and bust out the final 80+ miles of the AZT from the North Rim to Utah so that we didn't have to drive from Tucson up there two times. It started with us leaving Oro Valley at 2am, we made it up to Page by 8am then around to the Stateline Campground to drop off his car. All started well, until...

We were driving down a bunch of dirt roads from the Stateline Campground to Highway 89A. Just before we made it onto the paved road, a rock punctured one of my tires. We didn't even know what was happening until we were two miles south of Jacob Lake on 67 and saw that we had a flat. I had a tire inflator, but the hole was so big that it wouldn't even inflate the tire. No problem, I'll just put on the spare with my tire jack...wait, where the *%$(#)%$ is my jack?! That's when the "uh oh" and a few other choice words were muttered. Thankfully, God was watching over us!!!! :pray: An elderly couple stopped to ask if we needed help, and drove back into Jacob Lake. They sent out a mechanic who drove back, changed our tire and investigated our flat. It was too bad to repair, so that led us on a nearly 4-hour detour stopping in Fredonia and ultimately Kanab, Utah, to find a replacement tire! But at least we got it. Then we headed from Kanab all the way to the North Kiabab TH to start our AZT hike. By this time it was 4:30pm and we decided, let's just do this segment without a pack. So we grabbed a couple of Gatorades each and busted it out quickly before dark.

The aspens were beautiful, birds were chirping...and mosquitoes were swarming. Normally I carry bug spray in my pack, but we skipped the packs, so we swatted and killed mosquitoes like nobody's business. On this segment, just before the North Rim lookout tower, is the high point of the AZT at over 9,300 feet. We climbed the tower for an added 70 feet AEG and some nice photo ops before heading out of the park boundary.

At the park boundary gate you find two that stays inside the fence and heads to the right, another that goes through the fence. The AZT goes through the fence and starts Kaibab Plateau Trail #101, which carries you all over 50+ miles to the other end of the Kaibab National Forest.

We pulled into our campsite by the parking lot for the end of segment 39 just in time to get our tents up by dark. It turned cold very quick, and with the mosquitoes we decided to just head back to the North Kaibab TH, pick up the vehicle (thanks jj3 for letting us borrow your jeep!) and while we were there, grab dinner at the North Rim restaurant just before closing.

The final AZT adventure is just beginning!!! ...
Grand Canyon - North Rim - AZT #39
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A group of us stayed at Jacob's Lake lodge on Saturday night.

We started the hike at 6AM on Sunday. There's a new bathroom at the artist's house by the Bright Angel creek.
I went up the old Bright Angel Creek trail for about a half hour and came back. I caught up with the group at the Phantom Ranch. One of the guys had a great idea. Mike bought a bag of ice and we filled up our CamelBacks with it. It was wonderful having ice water on the climb up!
I took the black bridge to the River trail to Bright Angel. We regrouped at Indian Gardens. I hiked to the Plateau point and on the back went down the western Tonto trail. I really like the Tonto trail. The views are spectacular.

I came out the canyon at 5PM.

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