Grand Canyon Hiking

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Shrmdougluvr

I pity the poor fool who don't eat my cereal
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#29
Never backpacked, but camped on the North Rim side. It was October/November and it was cold. But we had a great time.

We did the same thing in terms of flying into Vegas. We rounded out our trip with visits to Bryce and Zion National Parks.

Can't wait to hear all about it.
Making plans to take this trip during Summer 2019 (end of August). My older boy will be in 4th grade, so he gets some free National Park pass that gets us all in. As of now, the tentative plan is to fly into Vegas and spend the night. Head to Zion first thing and stay in Springdale. Do 1.5 days there. Head to Bryce Canyon for the day. Spend the night (they say the stars at night are really wonderful). Head to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, do 1.5 days there. Back to Vegas, fly home.

I have never been to any of these places so am looking forward to it all. Camping is a stretch for us, but I think we will definitely do some hiking. I can handle accommodations for Vegas and Springdale. It seems staying at a lodge right in Bryce Canyon is best. Any suggestions for where to stay for the North Rim? Is the Grand Canyon Lodge the only option?
 

OttoMets

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#30
Making plans to take this trip during Summer 2019 (end of August). My older boy will be in 4th grade, so he gets some free National Park pass that gets us all in. As of now, the tentative plan is to fly into Vegas and spend the night. Head to Zion first thing and stay in Springdale. Do 1.5 days there. Head to Bryce Canyon for the day. Spend the night (they say the stars at night are really wonderful). Head to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, do 1.5 days there. Back to Vegas, fly home.

I have never been to any of these places so am looking forward to it all. Camping is a stretch for us, but I think we will definitely do some hiking. I can handle accommodations for Vegas and Springdale. It seems staying at a lodge right in Bryce Canyon is best. Any suggestions for where to stay for the North Rim? Is the Grand Canyon Lodge the only option?
I'll know more about your North Rim questions in 10 days. But I can solidly vouch for Springdale as a convenient lodging option for Zion. Easy drive from LAS (check out the cliffs on the Virgin River as you drive up I-15 over the Nevada/Utah line), and Springdale's got decent hotel options. Food's mediocre and touristy, but it's a pretty area so the town's nice enough. At Zion, I can't advocate strongly enough - do Angels' Landing.
 

Shrmdougluvr

I pity the poor fool who don't eat my cereal
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#31
I'll know more about your North Rim questions in 10 days. But I can solidly vouch for Springdale as a convenient lodging option for Zion. Easy drive from LAS (check out the cliffs on the Virgin River as you drive up I-15 over the Nevada/Utah line), and Springdale's got decent hotel options. Food's mediocre and touristy, but it's a pretty area so the town's nice enough. At Zion, I can't advocate strongly enough - do Angels' Landing.
I appreciate this otto and look forward to hearing about the North Rim. But as for Angel's landing, you don't have kids do you? ;) Mine will be 9 and 6 at the time we go. That means that even if they were able to navigate it without falling off the trail, i would be sick to my stomach the entire time with worry, and my wife would need a full-lobotomy.
 

OttoMets

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#32
I appreciate this otto and look forward to hearing about the North Rim. But as for Angel's landing, you don't have kids do you? ;) Mine will be 9 and 6 at the time we go. That means that even if they were able to navigate it without falling off the trail, i would be sick to my stomach the entire time with worry, and my wife would need a full-lobotomy.
6 is probably too young; 9 is borderline. Guess that's out for you this time. Canyon Overlook and Emerald Pools will be more their speed, and still enjoyable for you both.
 

CuseFaninVT

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#33
I appreciate this otto and look forward to hearing about the North Rim. But as for Angel's landing, you don't have kids do you? ;) Mine will be 9 and 6 at the time we go. That means that even if they were able to navigate it without falling off the trail, i would be sick to my stomach the entire time with worry, and my wife would need a full-lobotomy.
You can do the part of the trail up to the actual chains. It's still a great hike.

As for lodging on the North Rim, if you don't stay at the Lodge, and you aren't camping, then you will have to stay up near Jacob Lake, which 45-50 miles away. We didn't realize the camp sites would be all filled up (and didn't make a reservation before hand) at the camp ground close to the lodge, so we ended up finding a spot in the National Forest Service areas on the road down to the Lodge. It was actually really cool, even with a small herd of cows strolling through the site in the middle of the night (so weird). We were definitely on our own for that.
 

OttoMets

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#34
I can follow up on that North Rim question with a solid "yes" to booking rooms at the Grand Canyon Lodge. First, it's pretty nice. Rustic, but a cool vibe under the pine trees. Second, there's nothing else nearby. I didn't realize how isolated the North Rim is, essentially near the end of the Arizona Strip.

As for our hike last week, it was a great experience. Set out from the South Kaibab trailhead at about 5:30 a.m. (had a slow shuttle bus that first took a bunch of sunrise-viewers west to Yavapai Point before swinging us back over to the trailhead). It was a very low-traffic descent. One of the dozen or so people we encountered on the way to the river was a trail runner who was running a box of pastries down to one of the tour groups on the river. There's a line of work I never considered.

Got to Phantom Ranch without any trouble, but then it got a little hot - only in the low 90s, but rough for those of us who experienced a cold spring in the Northeast. The Ribbon Falls detour from the North Kaibab was a good change of pace - a little quasi-off-trail hiking, some shade, and a spectacular sight at the falls. I was pretty well out of steam by the time we got to Cottonwood Camp, but a soak in the stream helped a little. The rest of the way (6 or 7 miles, I think?) was a slog. Too bad, because the rest of the North Kaibab was one of the prettiest parts of the hike: all the different rock layers and the changes in vegetation as the elevation increases.

Three of the six in our group decided we'd opt out of hiking the next day, so we really dogged it from the pumpmaster's house on up. I think we took about 100 minutes for the last 2 miles. Finished up at about 7:15 p.m. and were relieved to catch a ride to the lodge at the North Rim (I'd read that it was a flat mile on the road, but it's more like a rolling 1.9 miles and I wasn't up for that). We'd overshot our dinner reservation by almost 2 hours so we all grabbed a bite at the little deli in the lodge building. The food was mediocre, but all food is good after 23 miles and however much elevation change we'd put in. (Funny aside, both the lodge dinner menu and the deli menu have brisket, but the deli workers noted that it wasn't available because it was the first day the North Rim was open and nobody considered that the 16 hours it takes to smoke a brisket would carry them into the next day before it was ready.)

Really a fun hike, I'd love to do it again but I'd probably want to be in somewhat better shape and go with better footwear - I was all kinds of blistered and couldn't have made the return hike the next day if I'd wanted to...some hip and calf soreness was minor compared to how beat up my feet got. So three of us caught a ride back to the South Rim the next day (interminable - some neat sights but really a long ride through mostly desolate areas) and the other three hiked on back via the North Kaibab and then the Bright Angel trails. They made better time (no detours to Ribbon Falls or Plateau Point, though) without me slowing them down; their return only took about 12 hours. Hope I can join in next time.
 

DMDMD

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#35
I can follow up on that North Rim question with a solid "yes" to booking rooms at the Grand Canyon Lodge. First, it's pretty nice. Rustic, but a cool vibe under the pine trees. Second, there's nothing else nearby. I didn't realize how isolated the North Rim is, essentially near the end of the Arizona Strip.

As for our hike last week, it was a great experience. Set out from the South Kaibab trailhead at about 5:30 a.m. (had a slow shuttle bus that first took a bunch of sunrise-viewers west to Yavapai Point before swinging us back over to the trailhead). It was a very low-traffic descent. One of the dozen or so people we encountered on the way to the river was a trail runner who was running a box of pastries down to one of the tour groups on the river. There's a line of work I never considered.

Got to Phantom Ranch without any trouble, but then it got a little hot - only in the low 90s, but rough for those of us who experienced a cold spring in the Northeast. The Ribbon Falls detour from the North Kaibab was a good change of pace - a little quasi-off-trail hiking, some shade, and a spectacular sight at the falls. I was pretty well out of steam by the time we got to Cottonwood Camp, but a soak in the stream helped a little. The rest of the way (6 or 7 miles, I think?) was a slog. Too bad, because the rest of the North Kaibab was one of the prettiest parts of the hike: all the different rock layers and the changes in vegetation as the elevation increases.

Three of the six in our group decided we'd opt out of hiking the next day, so we really dogged it from the pumpmaster's house on up. I think we took about 100 minutes for the last 2 miles. Finished up at about 7:15 p.m. and were relieved to catch a ride to the lodge at the North Rim (I'd read that it was a flat mile on the road, but it's more like a rolling 1.9 miles and I wasn't up for that). We'd overshot our dinner reservation by almost 2 hours so we all grabbed a bite at the little deli in the lodge building. The food was mediocre, but all food is good after 23 miles and however much elevation change we'd put in. (Funny aside, both the lodge dinner menu and the deli menu have brisket, but the deli workers noted that it wasn't available because it was the first day the North Rim was open and nobody considered that the 16 hours it takes to smoke a brisket would carry them into the next day before it was ready.)

Really a fun hike, I'd love to do it again but I'd probably want to be in somewhat better shape and go with better footwear - I was all kinds of blistered and couldn't have made the return hike the next day if I'd wanted to...some hip and calf soreness was minor compared to how beat up my feet got. So three of us caught a ride back to the South Rim the next day (interminable - some neat sights but really a long ride through mostly desolate areas) and the other three hiked on back via the North Kaibab and then the Bright Angel trails. They made better time (no detours to Ribbon Falls or Plateau Point, though) without me slowing them down; their return only took about 12 hours. Hope I can join in next time.
Man, good for you. I get the appeal of traveling light and going far, but 23 miles, ~6,000 feet down and up (and doing it again the next day) is bound to be brutal!
 

OttoMets

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#36
Man, good for you. I get the appeal of traveling light and going far, but 23 miles, ~6,000 feet down and up (and doing it again the next day) is bound to be brutal!
Those guys (and girl) who did it the next day are crazy. I had enough trouble hobbling around the various 0.75-mile trails at the North Rim on Wednesday, the thought of waking up at dawn to walk down those switchbacks is insane to me, forget about climbing back up the other side. Though it'd be cool to get in more miles and see if I could make it happen next spring.

And you got the "traveling light" part right - other than my mangled toes and heels, soreness from the pack was my biggest problem toward the end of the hike. I never had more than two liters of water on me (other than the gap on the South Kaibab, there are a ton of water options down there), but I was still totally unaccustomed to even that light weight on my back. Gotta do a better job with that in the future.
 
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