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Quick Guide to Trails in the Falls Creek Area in Durango, Colorado

We’ve outlined some of our favorite hiking trails in the Falls Creek area to make it easier for you to pick a trail that’s right for you!

Hiking In Sedona: What You Should Know

To get you prepped for your hike in Sedona, we’ve compiled advice into a detailed guide on what to expect when going for a hike in Sedona.

Snowshoeing in Durango: Our 7 Favorite Trails

Snowshoeing in Durango, Colorado this season? Here’s a few of our favorite snowshoeing trails for your next Microadventure in Durango!

Our 10 Favorite Places to Hike in Tucson, AZ

As you’re planning you Tucson, Arizona trip, here are our 10 favorite places to hike with trails around Tucson.

Snowshoeing in Boulder: Our 7 Favorite Trails

Snowshoeing in Boulder, CO this Winter? We’ve compiled a list of our favorite snowshoeing trails to explore in and around the Boulder area.

5 Best Portable Induction Cookers For RVs and Vans

To aid you in your next Microdventure, we have compiled a list of the 5 best portable Induction Cookers for your RV or van.

Our 10 Favorite Family-Friendly Hikes in the Grand Canyon

If you’re considering hiking with your family in the Grand Canyon, here are our 10 favorite family-friendly hiking trails.

What is Car Camping?

Trying to figure out what car camping is and why so many people are doing it? Here we define car camping for you in a simple way.

Car Camping Packing List for Your Microadventure

To aid in getting you set for your next car camping trip, here’s a list of essential and luxury things to pack.

Payson, AZ Free Dispersed Camping Areas

In order to help you narrow down where to camp, here’s a list of our favorite free, dispersed camping spots and areas around Payson, Arizona.

Flagstaff Free Dispersed Camping Map

To help make a decision on where to camp around Flagstaff, AZ, here’s a map of our favorite free, dispersed camping areas and spots.

Our 10 Favorite Hiking Trails in Flagstaff

Looking to go hiking in Flagstaff? Here’s a brief list of our favorite hikes and hiking trails in Flagstaff, Arizona.

A Guide to Camping in Sedona

The famous Red Rock Country city that is Sedona, Arizona. For those who haven’t visited, Sedona is a mecca for Microadventures. With miles of hiking and biking trails, climbing, and towering red sandstone views, you could spend a lifetime exploring Sedona and not see...

Sedona Free Dispersed Camping and Campgrounds Map

Trying to figure out where to camp around Sedona, AZ? We built a map of our favorite established campgrounds and dispersed camping areas.

Our 10 Favorite Hiking Trails in Sedona

With over 200 miles of trails, there’s a lot to choose from in Sedona, Arizona! Here’s a brief list of our favorite hikes in Sedona.

Can You Hike the Grand Canyon’s Rim to Rim in One Day?

Yes, you can hike Rim to Rim in one day! I’ve done it!

The ultimate Microadventure in the Grand Canyon: Rim to Rim!

It is completely possible to hike the Grand Canyon’s Rim to Rim in just one day, as I have proven. While it’s not the most common way to hike Rim to Rim, a lot of people do it each year.

However, it is a difficult hike that you should prepare for months before you actually attempt hiking Rim to Rim in a single day. While you may be capable of hiking the 24+ miles in a single day, the terrain of this trail and really the time and energy involved makes conquering the miles a little more difficult than you think.

Here I give a little advice for those looking to hike Rim to Rim in a single day from my personal experiences doing this hike:



How do most people hike Rim to Rim?

Rim-to-Rim-Grand-Canyon-Hike

 

Backpacking Rim to Rim

Most people choose to hike Rim to Rim during a backpacking trip because they can spread the hike out over two to three days. While you do need to obtain a permit for backpacking in the Grand Canyon, many opt to go the backpacking route for doing Rim to Rim rather than in a single day.

Most people who backpack Rim to Rim (instead of a single day push), will either utilize Phantom Ranch or the Cottonwood campground for their overnights in-between hiking days.

Phantom Ranch is a little more than halfway from the North Rim and South Rim. The Bright Angel Campground is located there and it is the perfect place for those who are doing Rim to Rim from the South Rim to the North Rim. It sits at the bottom of the Grand Canyon with the Colorado River less than a mile away from camp. If you are hiking Rim to Rim from the North Rim to the South Rim, Phantom Ranch is a little further than halfway and can be a stretch for those a little more “green” with backpacking or hiking in the Grand Canyon.

If you are backpacking Rim to Rim from the North Rim, the Cottonwood Campground is, in my opinion, the superior choice for camping overnight. It sits on the bottom of a flat mesa and is a great in-between spot before you make the long slog up the southern end of the Grand Canyon up to the South Rim.

 

Hiking Rim to Rim in a single day

For the completely insane Microadventurers (like myself), hiking Rim to Rim in a single day is a much more attractive option. This is for a number of reasons:

  • You don’t have to apply for backpacking permits
  • You can rely on a lightweight day pack instead of a backpacking pack
  • Being mean and lean with weight means you can hike much faster than backpacking
  • There’s way less red tape with hiking Rim to Rim in a single day
  • Hiking Rim to Rim in a single day is a great way to earn bragging rights with your fellow Microadventurers or buddies

But hiking Rim to Rim in a single day is no easy feat. It’s a slog a lot of the time. 24+ miles across the Grand Canyon is a serious endeavor for anyone- regardless of your fitness levels and mental game.

For me personally, I find hiking Rim to Rim in a single day the far better option for completing the Rim to Rim challenge. I like the added level of difficulty- it makes the experience much more intense. In addition, getting backpacking permits in the Grand Canyon can be an absolute nightmare thanks to the competition from the bazillion people who apply every year for permits.

Hiking Rim to Rim in a single day bypasses all of that.

The true caveat of that fact is that you can’t just pick up a pack and head out. It takes more physical fitness and mental strength to push yourself the 24+ miles in a single push.





How long is Rim to Rim in miles and hours?

The length of the hike from Rim to Rim seems to vary per person, but personally, I made the trek in 24.8 miles. Now, I may have added a little bit of mileage when I was walking around during our lunch break, so my mileage may not be completely accurate. However, it is safe to say that you will want to plan on at least 23 miles for your Rim to Rim hike regardless if you do it in a single day or over the course of several days via a backpacking trip.

During the 24+ miles of hiking Rim to Rim, you will experience a 10,345-foot elevation change.

It will take most people between 10-12 hours to hike Rim to Rim in one day.

Personally, I finished the Rim to Rim hike in 10 hours and 32 minutes with my group. This time is right on par with the average hiking time of 10-12 hours. It’s worth noting that several of my friends who are slower hikers completed the Rim to Rim hike in 13 hours.

Something to consider: it is difficult to adjust to the elevation changes quickly and you can easily become dehydrated by the long miles if you are not careful. Therefore, I recommend bringing 3-5 liters of water with you on the hike.

It’s really important to check the availability of water on the trail. Depending on the time of the year, water may not be available at Phantom Ranch or Roaring Springs.

Here is a great resource that gives water availability and trail conditions issued from the Grand Canyon.

Should I hike Rim to Rim in a day or backpack?

Only you know the answer to whether you should hike Rim to Rim in a day or backpack it over several days.

However, I can tell you that doing the Rim to Rim hike in one day is a slog and can be dangerous for the inexperienced. Hikers do get heat exhaustion in the Grand Canyon every year and it’s not unheard of for someone to die attempting the Rim to Rim hike.

Even an experienced hiker may have trouble with doing Rim to Rim in a single day.

If you’re worried about your ability to handle the mileage, elevation changes, heat, and conditions of the trail, go the backpacking route instead of a single day push.

If you do choose to hike Rim to Rim in one day, you will not be able to back out halfway through. You are committed to hiking out either by completing the whole thing or turning around and returning back on the trail you started on. You are not allowed to camp anywhere in the Grand Canyon without backpacking camping permits. Keep that fact in mind when you’re deciding whether to hike Rim to Rim in a single day or backpacking it.




Ok I’m in! Rim to Rim south to north? North to south? Which is better?

Grand-Canyon-Rim-to-Rim-Phantom-Ranch-Hike

Once you decide you are going to do the Rim to Rim hike, you may be wondering which direction is best. South Rim to the North Rim, or the North Rim to the South Rim?

The South Rim to North Rim route via South Kaibab to North Kaibab offers a gradual descent for the first few miles to the Colorado River but is a much steeper hike up and out to the North Rim.

I’m personally a big believer in going the North Rim to the South Rim via North Kaibab to South Kaibab. Most of my friends have done this route instead of South to North. In fact, this is the preferred route of hiking Rim to Rim.

The first few miles North Kaibab are a steep descent- basically a few miles past Roaring Springs. It is much easier to keep your footing while counting down the miles than slowly dragging your feet uphill, as the miles never seem to add up.

The trail tends to level off past that and all the way to Phantom Ranch. From Phantom Ranch, it is a gradual incline up and out to the South Rim- long but totally manageable.

I’ve personally hiked from Rim to Rim taking both of the routes and I can honestly say the North Rim to South Rim route is much more enjoyable. The South Rim to North Rim route is way more challenging, especially the slog from Roaring Springs to the top-out at the North Rim.

Conclusion

Grand-Canyon-Rim-to-Rim-Day-South-Kaibab-Hike

Hiking Rim to Rim in a single day is the ultimate Microadventure in the Grand Canyon. It is on the bucket list for a lot of hikers- my friends included.

If you’re considering hiking Rim to Rim, it is worth weighing your options, your experience, physical fitness, and mental strength before you take the plunge. If you’re concerned about any of these factors, it might be a better option for you to hike Rim to Rim over a few days by backpacking it.

Either way, hiking in a single day or backpacking it, Rim to Rim is an incredible experience and should be a priority if you’re wanting to really experience everything that the Grand Canyon has to offer.

 

So get out there and hike Rim to Rim!

 

Rim to Rim resources

Nick The Rambling Man
Nick The Rambling Man

Nick is the owner and regular content writer for Southwest Microadventures. When he’s not writing, you can find him rock climbing, peak bagging, mountain biking, backpacking, or drinking strong coffee.

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