Hiking into the Grand Canyon

Apr 20th, 2003, 04:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 16
Hiking into the Grand Canyon

My husband and I were planning on hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Is there any alternative to returning to the top instead of hiking back up? If not, how long is the hike to the bottom and back to the top (distance)? Thanks.
marg102469 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2003, 05:42 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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When you hike in, you hike out. If you go down on muleback, you ride out. It's about 2 hrs. going down and quite easy. It's at least 8 hrs. climbing back up. It's very steep, very tiring, and you must be in top shape to make it out. If a helicopter is called to rescue you, it's mega-bucks.
USNR is offline  
Apr 20th, 2003, 06:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Are you in really good shape? If not, then rethink about hiking to the bottom. Hiking to the bottom and back in one day is not recommended. If you spend the night you will need to make arrangements.


utahtea is offline  
Apr 20th, 2003, 07:59 PM
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I've hiked to the bottom and back in one (long) day, and I'm not in great shape. The key is to allow enough time and avoid hiking in the heat of mid-day. We leave the trailhead for the South Kaibab Trail before sunrise. This gives you the chance to watch a spectacular sunrise from below the rim, and to reach the Colorado River before the day heats up. You can then lounge around in the bottom, near Phantom Ranch - buy a lunch at the snack bar, nap under a tree, soak for a while in Bright Angel Creek. Don't start up the Bright Angel Trail until the early afternoon. Yes, it will be hot, but as you climb, the temps will start to drop, and when you reach Indian Gardens, you can refill your canteens, take another long rest, then begin the final push to the Rim during the evening. You get to experience the sunset, and reach the top in the dark (bring a flashlight).

This way, the hike is spread out into 3 parts, and takes as long as 18 hours to complete, so it doesn't feel as though you are marching. Of course, you still have to climb over a vertical mile to get back to the Rim, and you can see every one of those switchbacks from below. Not for the faint-of-heart, but certainly do-able.

The only other way out would be to arrange for a raft trip (book over a year in advance) to pick you up at Phantom Ranch and then take you down the lower Canyon to Lake Mead (or Diamond Creek).
ALF is offline  
Apr 20th, 2003, 11:02 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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An alternative to hiking can be a one day trip run by the Hualapai Indians out of Peach Spring, AZ, that goes between Diamond Creek and the West Rim heliport.

You raft 34 miles in a motorized raft past Travertine Falls and Separation Canyon. At the end they pull you out and up by helicopter to the West Rim Airport. You are then bussed back to Peach Springs.

You stay at the Hualapai Lodge in Peach Springs the night before the trip.

The trip itself (without lodging) was $260 in 2002 (not cheap, but a lot less strenuous than the hike). The Hualapai Indians have a lock on the trip since it is on their reservation so they can charge what they want. The helicopter ride out makes it expensive, of course. You do get lunch, but nothing elaborate.

By the way, the price is appalling, but I thought it was worth every penny. And, you do not have to reserve a year in advance as you do with the longer trips which go from Marble Canyon/Lee's Ferry to Diamond Creek or Lake Mead.
LaurenSKahn is offline  
Apr 21st, 2003, 03:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The total round trip is about 18 miles depending on which trails used. I have done it in one day,but would not advise the average hiker to do it.

The hike back up is VERY steep and exhausting. When fatigue sets in and your not at the top ,your in trouble. Enough water so you never get thirsty(too much is not good either),and plenty of calories with cilff bars,fruit etc. The best hiking shoes and changes of socks.

Alf is right,start real early,the hike down is great.Rest and streching at the bottom,and start up in the afternoon if you are on a day hike.Otherwise,camp at the bottom and day hike around there.
doc_ is offline  
Apr 21st, 2003, 04:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We just got back (Saturday) from the GC and hiking the South Kaibab trail down to Skeleton point was the highlight of our trip. We had the kids, so didn't even attempt a trip all the way to the bottom. I believe Skeleton Point is 6 miles down (12 miles R/T). It took a total of 5 and a half hours. They told us it would take twice as long to hike out as it would to hike in, but it actually was took us the same amount of time. We stopped for a lot of photo ops on the way down, and scrambled back up.

That being said, it was very, very strenous. My husband is a biathlete and in great shape, but even he said it was quite the workout, harder than biking a century (100 miles). He was sure he could do the roundtrip all the way to the bottom in one day (and I'm sure he could too), but I'm doubtful that the kids could.

I spoke to a few people who went all the way down and back. It took them 5 and a half hours down and 6 hours back. You can make a reservation at phantom ranch and spend the night (call now and keep calling daily for cancellations), or you can get a camping permit and camp (which means lugging more gear). The final alternative is to do it all in one day, which is not recommended unless you are truly an athlete in top condition (ie, regular runner, competitive athlete, etc.), and it is not summer.
nina is offline  

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