As one of the natural wonders of the world, it is not surprising that millions of people venture out to the Grand Canyon each year. While many of those people will only spend their time in the main visitor area, others like yourself will choose to tackle the Rim to Rim hike. This hike is one of the best ways to experience the sheer beauty of this area. And as a true bucket list item, it is one you will want to check off your list sooner than later.
What is the Rim to Rim Hike?
The Rim to Rim hike in the Grand Canyon is when you hike from either the South Rim to the North Rim or the North Rim to the South Rim. While most people will start at the North Rim and make their way to the South Rim, some people will do the reverse.
If you begin this hiking adventure at the North Rim, you will hike down the North Kaibab Trail until you reach the Bright Angel Trail. That trail will then take you the rest of the way to the South Rim. However, if you begin at the South Rim, you will follow the Bright Angel Trail until you reach the North Kaibab Trail to the North Rim.
What is the Distance/Miles of the Rim to Rim Hike?
The distance of the Rim to Rim hike is 24 miles. It is a strenuous trail, so you will know you have walked that far by the end. The Bright Angel Trail is 9.6 miles long, while the North Kaibab Trail is 14.3 miles in length.
You will also find yourself making a 6,000-foot descent or climb on the North Kaibab Trail and a 4,500-foot climb or descent on the Bright Angel Trail. The descent or climb is dependent on which direction you are headed on those trails.
Why is the Rim to Rim Hike so Amazing?
There are so many areas where you will want to stop and enjoy the magnificent views of the canyon and the surrounding area. The fact that the Grand Canyon is an iconic landmark adds to the amazement of completing this hike. You can easily spend more time doing this hike, so you can venture off the trail a little to see all the different waterfalls and underappreciated landmarks and attractions other people do not stop to see along the way. If you do nothing else on this hike, at least take the time to stop along the shores of the Colorado River. This is where you will see massive rock formations jutting out of the Earth. You will want to fully appreciate them all during your visit because you won’t see anything like them anywhere else in the world.
Why Should I Hike Rim to Rim?
The Rim to Rim hike in the Grand Canyon is an item that many people place on their bucket list, so that should be the main reason why you tackle this hike. Another reason to hike this trail is for the extraordinary views that will be everywhere along the way.
The best reason for hiking this trail though is to escape all the crowds within the Rim areas of this park and see the sights from different vantage points. This is the only way you can see the true beauty of two billion years of history and the multiple layers of rocks that were formed during that time.
Things to Consider When Thinking About Hiking Rim to Rim:
You must plan for this hike because you will be ending at the opposite end of where you started. So, unless you want to do a Rim to Rim to Rim hike, you must have a vehicle at both the South Rim and the North Rim. The other option is to hop on the shuttle at the North Kaibab Trail. The shuttle station can be found at the trailhead and the shuttle will take you down to your car at the South Rim. There is another shuttle station at the Bright Angel Lodge and by parking lot D at the South Rim. You can hop onto that shuttle to get back to the North Rim if you do not want to make the trek back.
Due to the length of the Rim to Rim hike, you should be physically and mentally fit. You should also plan on having plenty of water and snacks for the duration of your hike, as well as sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. It is recommended that you wear hiking boots that are broken in because brand-new ones might not feel that great a couple miles into your journey.
The Rim to Rim hike is a little more manageable than the Rim to Rim to Rim hike for many people. If you are ready to see the Grand Canyon in a new way, you must tackle this hike right away. You should be prepared to get hooked though because this trail will draw you in and before you know it, you will be hiking between the rims regularly.
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.