To all fellow hikers I say sign yourself up to a trip to the Grand Canyon and stay within it. Don’t be the other 99% of the population who goes to one of the rims and never enters the canyon. Its the biggest of all the canyons so you have to go in. Well I do anyway. My compulsive adventurous side won’t let me do otherwise.
So there is a whole range of ways that you can do this hike. You can do it in one day (for the super fit) or break it up with camping/lodging along the way. Yes you can sleep in the canyon, and I would say you should if you can.
As is detailed in this cross-section map of the canyon I have found above. There are three camp sights to choose from when doing a hike through the canyon. Cottonwood campsite, Bright Angel Campground and Indian gardens campsite all of which you do require a permit to stay at so do look into that if this is something you would like to do yourself. There is also a lodge which is where we stayed whilst we were on our trip, Phantom ranch, its nothing fancy but it it has hot showers and cold drinking water. At the point that you make it there that is all you want in life. Trust me.
There are two trails in and out of the canyon that lead North – South. The bright angel trail and the Kaibab trail. The bright angel trail is a natural trail that was used by the native tribes to the canyon prior to the Kaibab trail being formed. The Kaibab trail was blasted and cut out of the rock and so enabling free public access to the inside of the canyon.
The route that we took was leaving from the north rim on the Kaibab trail to Phantom ranch, then the bright angel trail up and out of the southern rim. This is a 26 mile hike through heat that reached 110℉ (around 44℃). Needless to say we were all crisping like streaky bacon in that heat. Walking from one patch of shade to another, legit the only thing we could do. Plus this was in September, when it is suppose to be cooler. It wasn’t any cooler at all. Damn you global warming! We did it in two days with a night at the bottom staying in Phantom ranch. I cannot recommend it highly enough for you to go and stay there. Even if you are not going to do the rim 2 rim. You can walk down and mule back up if it is too much, but staying in the canyon is something really special, I think anyway.
So here is a rundown of our adventure into the canyon itself.
Starting point: Grand Canyon, north rim lodge.
Date: 6th September 2018.
Distance to achieve: 14 miles (25 km).
The next marker on our journey was a little less oasis and more death trap. I mean it is even called ‘The Box’ which if it isn’t off putting enough in itself, I shall describe it for you. ‘The Box’ is a corridor of stone that is so close together that the suns rays bounce off the walls of the canyon reflecting onto one another so that the heat is exaggerated. The heat is also amplified so that with every passing hour it just gets hotter and hotter. Plus the fact that we had managed to do some of the worst timings ever and were heading into this part of the walk at midday. Smart. Once through this needlessly warm part of the trek we were so close to the lodge. After managing to reach Phantom ranch we were relieved to get our of the heat. I dropped the bag in our room and then headed straight to the stream to dip my now some what stinky feet into. So nice to take off the boots after so long of walking around in the desert heat.
Phantom Ranch Lodge
Our time at the bottom of the canyon was short, sweaty and sweet. The heat got more and more intense as we made our way down into the canyon and it didn’t let up just because we had reached a little oasis at the base. The lodge was really sweet with little wooden cabins all dotted around the area that is shaded by trees. The main body of the lodge is set up as a canteen with two meal sittings a night. The first sitting at 5.30pm of steak, which I hear is enormous and is very difficult to finish. We had the 6.30pm sitting of beer stew. A good hearty meal after so long of walking around in the extreme heat that is so unforgiving. So delicious, after super we all went to bed but not before I managed to send a postcard to my family members from the bottom of the canyon. The only post office where letters are delivered by mule! I am not one usually to send post cards to people but this time I thought that it would be fun and its not like I will be able to return back to the bottom of the canyon any time soon.
After all of the days excitement everyone set out for an early night. We had earn’t it after all. The next morning we had another early start that included a rather large and delicious breakfast. Starting with some fruit followed by eggs, pancakes and bacon. I was one happy hiker to say the least. Also the combination of coffee and OJ in the mornings is the best thing ever.
Starting point: Phantom Ranch lodge.
Date: 7th September 2018.
Distance to achieve: 11.12 miles (17.91 km).
Having to get up early to make it a good way up the canyon walls before the sun hit its apex was essential so we had breakfast at 5am and then set off as soon as we were ready. Setting off before the sun had really even started to come up. The sunrise was really beautiful to see, especially with the changing colours of the canyon as the light changed. Off we set off with a fresh pep in our steps as we started the journey out of the canyon once again. Heading over the black metal bridge just as the dawn was breaking was really something special, with the Colorado river running wild down below it was setting out to be a good day indeed. The day that we had planned was set out into two main sections. The pre Indian gardens and post Indian gardens parts of the day.
To add fuel to the fire, in the last three miles of the canyon walk out there are other people walking down from the south rim who are just doing the three miles and haven’t any idea about the general rules on how to pass people who are walking on a gradient. I get it everyone is doing their own thing but people, it is so much easier to walk down hill to let the people moving up pass first before shoving your way though. So infuriating, especially when you are smelly and tired and just want a cold shower.