Hiking Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon is probably one of the most sought-after Microadventure in Arizona. For me personally, it was at the top of my list. I became even more interested in hiking Rim to Rim after I hiked Rim to River and Back in a single day a few years ago. In my mind, once I did that hike, I was mentally prepped to tackle Rim to Rim.
The actual hike for Rim to Rim involves hiking from either the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to the North Rim or vice versa. During our hike in May 2019, we started at the South Rim and finished at the North Rim. Regardless of which direction you head, hiking Rim to Rim is an exciting and fulfilling Microadventure– definitely worth adding to your bucket list.
In this post, I’m going to attempt to answer some common questions I’ve received from friends and family about my Rim to Rim hike. Keep in mind that I’m answering these questions utilizing my own data from Strava alongside my independent research from other hikers.
How many miles is the Rim to Rim hike?
On average, it seems most hikers clocked anywhere from 23-25 miles to hike Rim to Rim with an elevation change of around 10,000 feet.
Our crew personally clocked 24.8 miles and 10,345 feet of elevation change during our May 2019 hike.
We did walk around during our lunch break at Phantom Ranch which may have skewed our mileage and elevation change. But all-in-all, plan for at least a 23-mile day when hiking Rim to Rim.
How many hours does the Rim to Rim hike take?
On average, most hikers take around 10-12 hours to hike Rim to Rim in a single day. For multiple days, the average (from my research) seemed to be around 13-16 hours of actual hiking time.
The small difference in time seemed to be attributed to carrying heavier packs which slowed down the overall hike.
Our crew personally clocked 10 hours and 32 minutes during our May 2019 hike.
During our hike, our fastest mile time was 12 minutes (hiking downhill from Skeleton Point) and the slowest mile time was 27 minutes on the final mile at the top of the North Rim. We decided to hike Rim to Rim in a single day with very light packs which contributed to our relatively fast time.
What are the common hiking trails or routes for Rim to Rim?
Hiking Rim to Rim is done via the two biggest corridor routes in the Grand Canyon: South and North Kaibab and Bright Angel, with the most common route being up and down South and North Kaibab. In fact, every person we encountered on our Rim to Rim hike was doing it via the South and North Kaibab trails.
An alternative hiking route can be done using Bright Angel and North Kaibab however this route isn’t as popular as the South and North Kaibab route.
As far as direction, hiking from the North Rim to the South Rim is the most popular way to hike Rim to Rim.
Hiking Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon is a must for any Microadventurer looking to push your fitness and stamina. Depending on what direction and route you take, hiking Rim to Rim can take 10-15 hours over a course of 23-25+ miles so plan accordingly, stretch, and get ready for the hike of your life!
How long did hiking Rim to Rim take you? Comment below or Tweet us!
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.