Backpacking Grand Canyon National Park
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Grand Canyon National Park is America's 15th national park, established in 1919. The park today encompasses nearly 1.22 million acres (4,930 square kilometers) of land across north central and northeastern Arizona, USA. All-Star Grand Canyon Tours welcomes backpackers to this extraordinary place with guided backpacking trips, and private backpacking tours. We are a resource of information for backpacking Grand Canyon National Park. Please feel free to give us a call with any questions about backpacking Grand Canyon National Park or the Havasu Falls / Havasupai Reservation.
The South Rim of Grand Canyon generally refers to the developed 35 mile section along the northern edge of the Coconino Plateau, which includes the Grand Canyon Village, Hermit Road and East Rim Drive. Many of the backpacking trips, hiking tours, and daily sightseeing tours offered by All-Star Grand Canyon Tours depart from or tour the South Rim. The elevation along this section averages 6800' and receives upward of 90" of snow each winter. Despite this average winter precipitation, the South Rim is open and an excellent place to hike year round.
The developed area of the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is a small, isolated village that is situated near the North Kaibab Trail. The North Rim needs to be accessible in order to hike the famous Rim to Rim route, or the Deer Creek and Thunder River trails. The North Rim's average elevation is 8,000' and it receives well over 100" of snowfall each year. Because of the annual snowfall, all facilities at the North Rim village shutdown in mid-October each year, and do not re-open until mid-May. The highway to North Rim becomes impassible with the snow that begins to accumulate in late fall--usually November. No matter when the snow falls, the highway is gated at the end of November each year. Once gated, it does not re-open until mid-May. This means that it is never possible for backpackers to access the North Rim trails by vehicle from the end of November untill mid-May.
Grand Canyon is the greatest of the deep stone canyons of the Colorado Plateau; a land of extremes, especially when related to temperatures. When planning a backpacking or hiking trip in Grand Canyon National park, temperatures must be considered. The Inner Canyon can get hotter than 110 degrees Fahrenheit mid summer, and the South and North Rims differ so greatly in temperature they are two different ecosystems. From rim to river, the elevation change averages 5,000 feet and the temperature difference can be as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. This accounts for a wide variation in weather and temperature when Backpacking Grand Canyon National Park. All-Star Grand Canyon Tours is owned and staffed by experienced, knowledgeable, passionate, and professional backpacking guides. We provide season appropriate gear and itineraries for our guided backpacking trips.
When Backpacking Grand Canyon National Park, overnight visitor use is managed through a permitting system. This aspect of planning a backpacking trip in the National Park is somewhat complex to those not familiar with the Grand Canyon, and is one of the many details managed by All-Star Grand Canyon Tours.
One important fact all potential backpackers should know is the National Park Service limits the number of people on a single permit to eleven (11). This means guided backpacking tours consist of a maximum of eight (8) guests and three (3) guides on any one backpacking trip. For groups larger than 11 that want to backpack Grand Canyon, we offer guided Havasupai backpacking tours.
Grand Canyon Trails
The "Big Three" trails of the main corridor are regularly and intensively maintained. This is in part to accommodate the high concentration of visitors to the National Park, and to meet standards for regular mule traffic. These trails are clearly defined with a generally smoother tread. They are however, still steep and rugged, and may be the most difficult hiking that many people will ever experience
- Bright Angel Trail
- Indian Gardens
- Bright Angel Campground/Phantom Ranch
- South Kaibab Trail
- Bright Angel campground/Phantom Ranch
- North Kaibab Trail
- Bright Angel campground/Phantom Ranch
These trails have been occasionally improved and maintained in the past and have simply fallen into some degree of disrepair over time. The trails are still generally well-defined, but with more rocky/rough/narrow tread that is sometimes steeper than that of a corridor trail.
- Hermit Trail
- Hermit Creek
- Hermit Rapid
- Monument Creek
- Granite Rapid
- Grandview Trail
- Horseshoe Mesa
- Cottonwood Creek
- Hance Creek
- Clear Creek Trail
- Tonto Trail
Primative trails are generally remote, deserted, and have seen very little maintenance or improvement since the prospector days of the late 19th century. As a result, they are often poorly defined, have lose footing, and include sections that can be extremely steep, rough, exposed, or otherwise very difficult.
- New Hance
- Hance Beach
- Tanner Beach
- South Bass
- Thunder River/Deer Creek
- North Bass