Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Backpack

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Backpacking Trip

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is a great  place to start this backpacking trip where you'll peer towards a destination that seems lifetimes away. After 24 miles of awe-inspiring views, your arrival at the Canyon's South Rim will evoke a sense of satisfaction rarely experienced in one's lifetime as you turn back to see where you started your journey four days earlier. From Alpine meadows and the Colorado River, to Ribbon Falls and Plateau Point, this hike lets you experience as much of the Canyon as possible in one trek. On this Grand Canyon backpacking adventure most hikers one night each at Cottonwood, Bright Angel, and Indian Gardens Campgrounds. With unlimited opportunity to explore, and unlimited miles for your hiking boots, this is one of the Grand Canyon's most popular backpacks for avid hikers. Read the guide below to learn more about a rim to rim backpacking trip.

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Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Details and Description

Your hike will typically start at the North Kaibab trailhead where you'll trek through tunnels, over bridges and along cliffsides to Roaring Springs and Bright Angel Creek.  After a relaxing soak, the North Kaibab continues along Bright Angel Creek to Cottonwood Campground where you'll set up camp and good some well deserved rest.  The second day of the journey will bring you to Ribbon Falls a trip highlight, before making your way though The Box, to Bright Angel Campground your home for night two of the trip. 

After another beautiful night under the stars, your hike will take you along the Colorado River before climbing the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Gardens Campground. Early morning on this part of the trail is a great opportunity to spot a bighorn sheep, and enjoy the morning light on the Canyon Walls.  Ancient ruins, a visit to Plateau Point, and camping in a beautiful grove of Cottonwoods at Indian Gardens are all part of the day. Day four will put you back on the Bright Angel trail. Your hike back to the rim of the Grand Canyon is a great opportunity to reflect on your journey, and observe the work of the Havasupai Indians who built the BA, and created the beautiful pictographs you'll view along the way.       

Popular 4 Day Rim to Rim Itinerary

Day One:

Take the North Kaibab trail along Bright Angel Creek to Cottonwood Campground.

Day Two:

Continue or hike to Bright Angel Campground with a stop at beautiful Ribbon Falls.

Day Three:

Hike halfway up the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Gardens Campground, and dinner at Plateau Point. 

Day Four:

Trek back to the South Rim passing ancient pictographs and amazing views.  

Rim to Rim FAQ’s

What are the specifications of the trip? 

Number of Days: 4-6 

Distance: 24mi/38km (not including day hikes) 

Elevation Change: 5800ft/1783m

Trip Dates: Spring, Summer, Fall

Difficulty(1 easy-10 extreme): 7

Are there any age or physical fitness requirements?

 Age and physical fitness depends on both the trip, and the individual going on the trip. Even within a specific destination, trip length, time of year, weather, and means of transportation have a large impact. We have many different options, and can find an adventure that’s safe and enjoyable for you and your group. 

What facilities will be available?

Camping- Campsite, Flush Toilets (at Bright Angel), Pit Toilets (at Indian Gardens and Cottonwood), Drinking Water, Cantina (at Bright Angel)

When is the best time of year to book a trip?

Spring and Fall

How soon should I book my trip?

Five months’ in advance the day permits open for your dates is advised due to limited permit availability.  Permits for this hike are not guaranteed due to NPS regulations.

Are there any limits on group size?

The group size limit for a Rim to Rim is 11 people due to park service restrictions. 

What should I bring?

Click on our Grand Canyon Hikes page to learn more abut trip planning

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