Day hike to the river and back

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MirandaC
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Day hike to the river and back

Post by MirandaC » Mar 01 2011 3:21 pm

Hi! My friends and I are planning a trip to the Canyon at the end of April for a good day hike. I have read mixed reviews about the trails, time/ability it takes to go the river and back up, and the best route (one trail both ways or down S Kaibab, up BA). I'm sure the reviews will be mixed here as well, but maybe more specific to the time of year we are going.

There are 6 in our group and we are all in good physical condition (ages 26-35). We hike around the Valley 1-2x per week (my triplog doesn't show much as I'm new to this site ;) ). We've also done hiking at higher elevations in the Sedona area.

Any suggestions and thoughts are much appreciated!

~Miranda

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writelots
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by writelots » Mar 01 2011 3:59 pm

Well - there is always a mix of opinions on this one. Late April is the very latest in the spring that I would attempt your first Rim to River dayhike. Temps that time of year can easily reach over 100deg at the bottom, or it can be freezing cold and snowy on the top. Or both.

In terms of experience level it has much more to do with your ability to know your own limitations and your respect for the very dangerous canyon environment. My feeling from your description is that you should probably plan a less ambitious hike (do Horseshoe Mesa - that's a great hike) and see how the canyon environment affects you. It just isn't worth it to have a miserable/dangerous time just so be able to say "I made it to the river and back". Instead, have a great time, do a challenging hike, and say "Man, I can't wait to get back there and experience EVEN MORE of this amazing place!".

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hippiepunkpirate
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Mar 01 2011 4:08 pm

I agree with Wendy's recommendation! There a plenty of great hikes partway into the canyon to get your feet wet. Horseshoe Mesa is an excellent choice, also consider Dripping Springs off the Hermit Trail, or even the Skeleton Point hike halfway down the South Kaibab. Maybe if you list some of the harder hikes you've done...a rim to river and back in one day is a 16-20 mile day depending on route with about 5,000 feet of elevation gain on the hike out. If you haven't done something similarly as long and hard, you probably want to plan a lighter itinerary for your first canyon hike.
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Mar 01 2011 4:15 pm

By the way, you may want to read a previous post by Wendy in the "Defining Hike" thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4657&hilit=defining+hike about halfway down the page....and her first canyon hike wasn't even to the river. I remember being in 7th grade and hiking to the mile and a half rest house on Bright Angel and thinking the hike back up was the hardest thing ever :sl:
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John9L
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by John9L » Mar 01 2011 7:07 pm

All great advice from above. I just want to say you need to train before doing the rim to river and back in one day. I know you say you hike 1-2 times a week. That is good but try to pick it up to 3-4 and mix in Camelback, Squaw Peak, South Mountain and then also mix in at least one 10-14 mile hike...something in the Superstitions. If you feel great after all of that then do the rim to river and back. But no matter what go hike the Grand Canyon! Any hiking there is a good! :y:

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AndreyP
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by AndreyP » Mar 01 2011 7:48 pm

John9L wrote:I just want to say you need to train before doing the rim to river and back in one day.
Unless you are some crazy Russian hikers : rambo : who did that absolutely untrained and barely prepared. You know these signs at trailheads saying "Don't try to hike down to the river and back up in one day". Well we decided that we wouldn't try but we would just do it, and we did. But we got dog-tired and I can't say that last 3 miles up the Bright Angel trail were pleasant.

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Jim_H
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by Jim_H » Mar 01 2011 10:00 pm

I'm on the other end of that spectrum. I knew what I was capable of and went for it, but then looking at my hiking log you'll guess I know what I can do. Only you know what you can really do, and pretty much only if you have done that sort of thing before. It's only 4400' or so and 20 miles, just a good day hike really, if you're use to that sort of thing. Go for it, basically. I recommend the South Kaibab-Bright Angel Loop. It would take me about 7 to 8 hours to hike. I can't speculate on your time. The weather is too far out to know about.
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by Davis2001r6 » Mar 02 2011 1:20 am

If you in shape and feel prepared I say go for. You could take SK both ways and it's 14 miles. or take BA up and your looking at 17 miles. April is a good time of year, I would get an early start, plan for the first shuttle of the day. Even better go on a full moon and hike down Kaibab in the dark, it's amazing and if it's clear you hardly even need a headlamp.

It will be cold at the start but keep moving and you'll be fine. With an early start you miss the warmest part of the day in the inner canyon but in April that shouldn't really be a problem anyways.

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Nan
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by Nan » Mar 02 2011 12:52 pm

April's about the perfect time of year to hike down to the Tonto platform - about halfway down, you get a really good view of the Canyon. I'm a fan of the Kaibab-Tonto-BA loop. Other than bragging rights, it really doesn't add much to the experience to continue on to the bottom and bounce. IMO, of course.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by azbackpackr » Mar 02 2011 1:13 pm

I just did that particular Tonto loop for the first time recently and I concur. I have hiked quite a bit of the Tonto on other loops as well, and it is so pretty! One of these days I want to finish it--the "Gems" from Boucher to past S. Bass, and the section from Grandview to SK.
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Jim_H
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by Jim_H » Mar 02 2011 3:36 pm

Nan wrote:April's about the perfect time of year to hike down to the Tonto platform - about halfway down, you get a really good view of the Canyon. I'm a fan of the Kaibab-Tonto-BA loop. Other than bragging rights, it really doesn't add much to the experience to continue on to the bottom and bounce. IMO, of course.
Unless you're like me and you actually want it to be hot so you can enjoy Bright Angel Creek, the best views are generally not in the Inner Gorge.
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writelots
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by writelots » Mar 04 2011 4:16 pm

hippiepunkpirate wrote:By the way, you may want to read a previous post by Wendy in the "Defining Hike" thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4657&hilit=defining+hike about halfway down the page....and her first canyon hike wasn't even to the river. I remember being in 7th grade and hiking to the mile and a half rest house on Bright Angel and thinking the hike back up was the hardest thing ever :sl:
I had to go back and remind myself - of the post if not the hike (I will NEVER forget that one!) Ak!
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PLC92084
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by PLC92084 » Mar 04 2011 5:50 pm

@writelots

After reading your write-up I've decided there's hope for me... (however miniscule). The girl you described certainly wasn't the one I saw on the Royal Arch trek!

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writelots
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by writelots » Mar 07 2011 9:25 am

PLC92084 wrote:@writelots

After reading your write-up I've decided there's hope for me... (however miniscule). The girl you described certainly wasn't the one I saw on the Royal Arch trek!
Wha? Like you've got far to go, you stud! ;)
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama

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MirandaC
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by MirandaC » Apr 10 2011 3:22 pm

Thanks for all the feedback! We've been looking into the S Kaibab-Tonto-BA loop (thanks for the suggestion). :)
Last edited by MirandaC on Apr 10 2011 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 10 2011 3:30 pm

MirandaC wrote:Thanks for all the feedback! We've been looking into the S Kaibab-Tonto-BA loop (thanks for the suggestion). Although the only info I've found about Tonto is that it isn't easy to navigate with all the dry washes... :?
I don't mean to be disrespectful, but that's a bunch of baloney--where are you getting your beta? The Tonto Trail is about 100 miles long. However, the section you will be hiking is very short, only about 4 miles, and is one of the most popular trails in the Canyon. There are NO dry washes that are hard to negotiate in that section. It is as easy to follow as interstate 10. You could hike it on a moonless night with no flashlight and not get lost.
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nonot
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by nonot » Apr 10 2011 5:29 pm

azbackpackr wrote:
MirandaC wrote:Thanks for all the feedback! We've been looking into the S Kaibab-Tonto-BA loop (thanks for the suggestion). Although the only info I've found about Tonto is that it isn't easy to navigate with all the dry washes... :?
I don't mean to be disrespectful, but that's a bunch of baloney--where are you getting your beta? The Tonto Trail is about 100 miles long. However, the section you will be hiking is very short, only about 4 miles, and is one of the most popular trails in the Canyon. There are NO dry washes that are hard to negotiate in that section. It is as easy to follow as interstate 10. You could hike it on a moonless night with no flashlight and not get lost.
Based on its present condition, that is not exactly true. The westernmost half mile is slightly overgrown and I would not recommend hiking it at night. Compared to the BA and SK trails, the Tonto is only about a foot wide, as opposed to the 4 foot wide other trails. While not that hard to follow, I could see people losing it at night, especially those who do not do much hiking. At both ends, the turnoffs are not relatively well marked.

And for people not used to AZ, rocks look like rocks, it takes a little to get used to that the rocks w/no bushes on them is the trail in AZ, while the rocks with bushes is not the trail.

Now it is true that it isn't that difficult a trail, but heck, people get lost going up to the saddle on the Peralta trail, and can get lost anywhere.

But that loop is likely the best for only the casual hikers, I hope Miranda's group enjoys it!
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big_load
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by big_load » Apr 10 2011 5:36 pm

nonot wrote:... while the rocks with bushes is not the trail.
Or sometimes the rocks with fewer or smaller bushes. :sl:

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azbackpackr
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 10 2011 6:29 pm

big_load wrote:
nonot wrote:... while the rocks with bushes is not the trail.
Or sometimes the rocks with fewer or smaller bushes. :sl:
You have a good point. Nonot, I do think you must use the above quote as your signature line for awhile. It's classic!
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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maxpower
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Re: Day hike to the river and back

Post by maxpower » Apr 10 2011 10:08 pm

There are some spots where one could wander off in the dark for sure, but it's a pretty simple daylight hike and well trodden to boot. I can usually stroll across that stretch in under 2 hours...unless photography gets in the way and then all bets are off! :D

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