Non-potable water availability in GCNP

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SunDevil3
Posts: 10
Joined: May 21 2004 1:29 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Non-potable water availability in GCNP

Post by SunDevil3 »

Hi HAZ Community--

My daughter and I are going to be doing a 3-day backpacking trip from the South Rim of GCNP this October (down South Kaibab on Day 1 and up Bright Angel Days 2 & 3) and was wondering if anyone can help provide some general advice from your wealth of experience.

I recently bought a Grayl Geopress filtration bottle and, so far, I love it and plan to use that (if possible) while in the canyon. I say ‘if possible’ because it occurs to me that I don’t know how much value it will be if there is not some water source available on those trails to filter. I know there is like some kind of big river or something on the canyon floor :D but I am not really concerned about that since we will be staying our first night at Bright Angel Campground and second night at Indian Gardens (both of which have potable water which we can use to fill up any vessels we are carrying.)

My goal is to limit our weight as much as possible so just wondering-- are there are any water sources over the course of BA or SK trails aside from the Colorado and the potable water at the campgrounds?

I know there are bathroom facilities along the way so I suppose, if those bathrooms have sinks (not sure if they do,) I could always just filter that as much as the thought makes me cringe. I also know that Bright Angel trail might have potable water at the two rest houses but that may be shut off for the season as we are going towards the end of October. I plan to call the ranger station the week before our trip to confirm if the water is still pumping to the BA trail locations but, assuming it is not, anyone got any advice?
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
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DixieFlyer
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Joined: Jan 07 2017 7:03 am
City, State: Fountain Hills, AZ

Re: Non-potable water availability in GCNP

Post by DixieFlyer »

@SunDevil3
I can't see why you'd need to filter water on the route that you are taking. You are going downhill on the SK trail and you can easily carry all the water that you need to take you down to Phantom Ranch. You can get water at the BA campground which will easily take you to Indian Garden. You can get enough water at Indian Garden to take you the 4.5 miles up to the South Rim on the BA trail, and if you are going early in Oct there might be water at the 3 mile resthouse and the 1.5 mile resthouse
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Edward Abbey
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SunDevil3
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Joined: May 21 2004 1:29 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Non-potable water availability in GCNP

Post by SunDevil3 »

@DixieFlyer
Thanks, Dixie-- that is sort of what I had figured as well. I think I am just being overly cautious because I am taking my 8-year old daughter with me. I have no concerns about her being able to do the hike (and I am by no means the ultralight backpacker type) but am also obsessing a bit over the weight of everything since I know I am going to be carrying about 80% of the gear for two people. It is really for the sake of my own aching back and shoulders that I was hoping to limit the water I am carrying at any given time.
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
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Tough_Boots
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Joined: Mar 28 2008 7:08 pm
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Re: Non-potable water availability in GCNP

Post by Tough_Boots »

@SunDevil3
They do sometimes have issues with the pipes so I would recommend bringing a filter or drops as a safeguard.
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SunDevil3
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Joined: May 21 2004 1:29 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Non-potable water availability in GCNP

Post by SunDevil3 »

@Tough_Boots
Thank you-- I am planning to bring one or the other. If I am going light, I may opt for the drops/tabs just as a precaution. I will probably opt to bring the Grayl purifier at this point though since I just upgraded my pack last night to a 60L internal frame (after many years without a frame pack.) I decided that the 35L daypack/lumbar pack combo was not going to cut it anymore for 3 days in GCNP so the new storage capacity should allow for the purifier bottle.
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
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chumley
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City, State: Tempe, AZ

Re: Non-potable water availability in GCNP

Post by chumley »

I find that the website isn’t updated often enough and a phone call or visit to the BCO is the most reliable option, but you can sometimes find good information on the backcountry update page of their website.

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/ ... MP_1941213
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ddgrunning
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City, State: Gilbert, AZ

Re: Non-potable water availability in GCNP

Post by ddgrunning »

There is no water available on South Kaibab until you reach the Colorado. So, bring all you need for that. Shouldn't be a problem--particularly in October, when temps on the rim are cooler (though you should expect it to still be "Phoenix weather" below the rim and at the river). At both Bright Angel campground and Indian Gardens, there is potable water (drinking fountains/spigots) available. If there were a pipe break that required shutting down all water in the canyon, you could filter from Bright Angel Creek--literally right next to the campground. Likewise, on your way up to Indian Gardens, you could filter from Pipe Creek or from Garden Creek. There are no convenient, perennial sources of filterable water over the last 4.5 miles from Indian to the rim, but again, barring a pipe issue (which you would likely know about in advance), you are likely to have water available at 3 mi. and 1.5 mi. resthouses. Filtering from the Colorado River itself is hit and miss b/c it can be (and often is) very silty. Consistent with @Dixieflyer's comments, there is a 98% chance that any filtration/purification you bring will sit unused in your pack, given your itinerary, but the nominal extra weight is probably worth it to be safe--particularly with an 8-year-old in tow.
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