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Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

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Grand Canyon trip Help

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Offline mr&mrstigerwrangler

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Grand Canyon trip Help
« on: December 10, 2016, 03:29:39 PM »
Love BB, totally addicted .Well I am bringing my dad's ashes out there because he never was able to go down into the canyon only looked down at it.   Need information about when to go to Grand Canyon, would like to do 3 day 2 nite back country backpacking trip.  I noticed April, may, Sept, October is crazy busy. And doing BB 3x now I know I can do hot but hot and no shade is trouble for me. Like 85plus.  We own a business so we can go when we like basically except Dec, Jan.   We are open to camping outside and doing day hikes also.  Noticed we need to get permits 4 months in advance also. 
So any ideas would be appreciated.

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Offline elhombre

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Re: Grand Canyon trip Help
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2016, 09:02:45 PM »
Get reservations in the car campground for 7 days.  It will be completely full most every night you are there.  Go to the backcountry office first thing when you get into the park and get a number for your place in line the next morning.  You may get lucky and get a trip offered to you that next morning.  All trips leave the next day.  If you don't like the trip offered to you, you move up in line, and come back the next morning to try again.  Most campgrounds below the rim are reserved up, but they keep 2 or 3 sites available for walk ins like you.  You will get down into the canyon, but it may take a few days in line.   

Most common trip is down all the way to Bright Angel campground the first night, then half way up to Indian gardens the 2nd night.  I got Indian Gardens for 2 nights in a row last time and day hiked down to the river on the full day.  No matter how tired you are, walk out to the point above the river from Indian Gardens for the sunset.  Don't wuss out on that extra 3 miles.  Water at Bright Angel and Indian.  Vault toilets too.

They sell Tecate down at the Phantom Ranch "restaurant" for $5, but they sell out every afternoon.  Take money!

You must go when it is still freezing at night up on the rim.  It can still reach 100F in the sun in the canyon.  Did to me last April.  The lower canyon is nothing but rock, and it will cook you in no time.  I don't see how people do it in the summer without walking in the dark morning and evening.

Look around at all the people working in the stores.  They are all foreigners on the H-1B work permit.  They get paid, stay in the dorms, and live in the park.  I guess Americans simply aren't going to stoop so low as to work 40 hours a week, and spend their free time on the rim..... Gotta fly in people for that  :icon_rolleyes:
For 2 years the Fake News Media, Obama's FBI, CIA & DOJ, and Swamp dwelling Politicians COLLUDED, Illegally Spied,and LIED to America about POTUS in order to overturn an election

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Offline Jonathan Sadow

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Re: Grand Canyon trip Help
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2016, 06:37:53 PM »
Love BB, totally addicted .Well I am bringing my dad's ashes out there because he never was able to go down into the canyon only looked down at it.   Need information about when to go to Grand Canyon, would like to do 3 day 2 nite back country backpacking trip.  I noticed April, may, Sept, October is crazy busy. And doing BB 3x now I know I can do hot but hot and no shade is trouble for me. Like 85plus.  We own a business so we can go when we like basically except Dec, Jan.   We are open to camping outside and doing day hikes also.  Noticed we need to get permits 4 months in advance also. 
So any ideas would be appreciated.

To amplify elhombre's comments, he's assuming you'll go to the South Rim to hike into the canyon.  You could go to the North Rim, but if your goal is to make it to the bottom of the canyon, it's twice as far that way, plus the North Rim is day-use only from November to mid-May, so you'd have to go in a restricted time-window.  If you're going to the South Rim, if you're camping up there you'd stay at Mather Campground in Grand Canyon Village, which despite being enormous will routinely fill up each day from March to November.  Reservations can be made for dates from March 1 through mid-November and up to six months before the date of intended stay, but be forewarned that each day fills quickly as it becomes available.  The NPS does hold some sites for walk-up stays on a first-come, first-serve basis, but these go very fast, usually by noon, so you'd better show up early in the morning if you want to go that route.  It also should be noted that Mather Campground has no RV hookups;  if you want that, you'd have to stay at Trailer Village, which is run by Delaware North, so you'd have to contact them.  One more South Rim option is Desert View Campground, which is first-come, first-serve, but it's about 25 miles from Grand Canyon Village, has no RV hookups, and is closed from November to April.

For the backcountry campgrounds along the Corridor trails (Bright Angel and the North and South Kaibab Trails), reservations are required.  You can get them ahead of time or as a walk-in reservation.  As you noted, you can request starting the first day of the month four months before the planned date of use.  You can fax a request in, mail a request starting ten days before the first of the month, or apply in person up to three months before the month of intended use (you probably can't use that option).  If reservations aren't available that way, or you don't want to go through the trouble of getting reservations in advance, you'd have to get a walk-in pass (the NPS saves about a third of the campground sites for walk-ins).  As elhombre said, go by the Backcountry Office as soon as you get there.  If you're lucky, a spot might be available, but most likely there won't be any, so you'll be given a priority number.  Go to the Backcountry Office when it opens at 8 A.M. the next day, and wait for your number to be called.  If your itinerary is available, then you'll be given your pass with the appropriate campground reservations;  if not, then you'll be given a priority number again.  Repeat this sequence until your itinerary is available.  It shouldn't take more than two or three days for you to get the desired itinerary.  I hiked across the canyon in 2013 and failed to get reservations in advance.  When I got to the South Rim, I went to the Backcountry Office, got a number, came back the next morning and was able to get my pass.  Doing it this way does call for some flexibility in your agenda, as like BIBE you can only get campground reservations at most one day before your intended trip.

There's one last option you could do, and that's to use one of the non-Corridor trails to go into the canyon.  The demand for backcountry passes for them is far less than for the Corridor trails, so you can probably get a pass in advance for any zone you want.  Of course, this is a more primitive way of doing things, as these trails have no campgrounds and no support facilities such as toilets, running water, resthouses, and regular ranger patrols, and the trail conditions themselves are considerably rougher than the Corridor trails.  It's more like zone camping in BIBE.

In terms of time to go, April, May, September and October are the most popular months for a reason.  From June through August the river area is incredibly hot (daytime highs of 110 to 120 F are not uncommon), and from November to March while the river temperatures are pleasant, up on the rim it's quite cold, with temperatures often below freezing causing the upper elevations of the trails to be covered in ice and be slippery.  When I hiked the canyon in late May, the high at Phantom Ranch that day hit 96, and the humidity was close to zero.  I had approached from the north on the North Kaibab Trail, and due to the presence of rock all around me it was probably even hotter when I went through it in the early afternoon.  If you want to use the Corridor trails, it's advisable to hike down the shorter and steeper South Kaibab Trail and back up the longer but less-steep Bright Angel Trail. which also as Indian Garden Campground about halfway between the river and the rim.  If you stay at Indian Garden, do as elhombre says and hike out to Plateau Point;  I did and saw my lifer California Condor there.

If you do wish to pursue this trip, I'd strongly advise going to the park website for more details.

Re: Grand Canyon trip Help
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2017, 05:17:17 PM »
You say Dec/Jan are out, so I'm of little help I'm afraid. I did the overnight  in early January a couple of years ago. Car campground (Mather) is almost completely empty in January even though they close all but one loop. I didn't have a problem getting a tent site at Phantom Ranch either, although I know sometimes NY Eve will fill 'em up.

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Offline okiehiker

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Re: Grand Canyon trip Help
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2017, 07:02:00 PM »
The first question is what you are looking for. The second is how fit and how much you enjoy challenging hikes.

If you want more privacy and solitude you definitely should go off of the north rim.

I can give you information about most of the routes, north and south. Depending upon where you go, March-May and September-November may be options.

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Funny... I have a story about that...

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Offline Quatro

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Re: Grand Canyon trip Help
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2017, 10:36:52 PM »
Wow.  Good to hear from you OkieHIker. Welcome back!
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro - HST

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Grand Canyon trip Help
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2017, 10:44:19 PM »
Wow.  Good to hear from you OkieHIker. Welcome back!

Ditto. I had to look twice to make sure I read the avatar right.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline okiehiker

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Re: Grand Canyon trip Help
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2017, 08:41:45 PM »
Thanks for the greetings folks!
I moved to Montana 7 years ago. During the time that I lived up there

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Big Bend Chat mobile app

Funny... I have a story about that...

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Offline okiehiker

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Re: Grand Canyon trip Help
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2017, 08:56:04 PM »
I only made it to bibe a couple of times. Being back in Oklahoma I'm hoping to make it back a bit more often.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Big Bend Chat mobile app

Funny... I have a story about that...

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Offline dkerr24

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Re: Grand Canyon trip Help
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2017, 11:13:07 AM »
Speaking from my own experience hiking in the Grand Canyon, I've had far better luck getting an itinerary I want if I stick to non-corridor trails like Hermits Trail, or Tanner Trail.  Both trails will get you to the Colorado River if you're ready to tackle them.  You'll see far fewer people than you will along the crowded Bright Angel or Kaibab trails.

The best times to hike in the Grand Canyon is Mar-Apr and Oct-Nov.  The rest of the year is either too hot, or too dicey with winter weather.  I made the mistake of hiking from the rim to the river and back in the same day during August and I tell you that was a death march in the heat.  I started that hike with 50F weather at the South Kaibab trailhead.  It was over 100F when I reached the bottom at Phantom Ranch.  Then I turned around and hiked out using the Bright Angel Trail.  One of the most grueling hikes I have ever tackled.

If you start from the North Rim, there is only one 'easy' way to get to the river...  the North Kaibab Trail.  All the other ways are extremely difficult unless you are a very experienced backpacker.  My last visit to the GC was last October.  I did dayhikes from several places along the North Rim and only met a handful of hikers the entire time.  I was staying at the hotel in Jacob Lake, so I had a 45 mile (90 mile round trip) commute each day to get to the trails.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 11:21:28 AM by dkerr24 »

 


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