Let's Hike The Grand Canyon Rim to Rim
|You can see the ruts in the trail. Miles of this.|
|The river! Bridge on the far right, Bright Angel Campground in the left-center.|
|Elevation chart over distance, according to my Fenix 3.|
|Shade and flat never felt so great.|
|Humphreys in the background|
|View from the North Rim Lodge foyer. Leather couches, cocktails, views.|
- Water/water receptacle - I used a 3 liter bag for my main supply and carried a .5 liter Platypus flask for mixing electrolyte tabs. Some sites have said with the frequency of water stops you can carry a 2l bag and save some weight, but I would have run dry more than once with only 2l. Water is available along the Bright Angel and North Kaibab trails, but check ahead of time to ensure it is running. A rock slide weeks before our hike knocked out water on the North Kaibab trail, but luckily the pipeline was repaired by the time we hiked. As of posting, this site included a link to water status.
- Electrolyte tabs/salt packets - many people don't realize that salt is actually essential to staying hydrated. In the Canyon, because you lose salt to sweat due to heat and exertion, and typically replace it with regular fresh water, lack of sodium (hyponatremia) can be a deadly condition. I used Nuun tabs and consumed approximately 5; though it could be as simple as salt packets from McDonald's.
- Food - you'll burn serious calories. According to Outdoors.org's estimates, you could expect to burn an extra 5,000 calories hiking, in addition to your basal metabolic rate. You will want to replace those calories or you won't be making it out. Snack decisions are somewhat personal, but a good combo of quick burning carbs, with proteins and fats, should keep you happy. I took several PB&J&Hazelnut Spread sandwiches on Dave's Killer Bread, a multitude of Cliff Bars, and several shot blocks and energy jelly beans.
- Comfortable shoes - I wore Nike Wildhorse 4 trail running shoes. Most, perhaps all, of our group wore trail runners or low hiking shoes. The trail was not uneven enough to warrant boots, in my opinion and the comfort of Nike Air made my feet the only things to come out of the hike feeling unused. DO NOT wear a brand new pair of shoes for the first time on this hike.
- Trekking poles - you don't have to have them, but man do they make the trip easier by letting you propel yourself with all four limbs. Using Nordic Walking techniques (remember the arm motion from Nordic Trac machine? It's similar.). You can take some of the work off your legs. This saved me when my quads started cramping with several miles to go. Trekking poles can be quite expensive, but you can find them seasonally at Costco for around $30.
- Wide-brimmed hat (I like the Outdoor Research Sombriolet), cooling towel, and/or Buff. You'll probably hike for hours in direct, unrelenting, sun. Keeping it off your skin is can be a literal life-saver. Also, you'll have many opportunities to dip a Buff, cooling towel, and your shirt into water along the way--I suggest you take it.
- A loose, long-sleeved cotton shirt. Again, the sun is brutal. A loose cotton shirt will actually keep you cooler in direct sun by keeping it off your skin while allowing for air circulation. (Arabs wear robes for this reason.) It's also another item that you can soak in the cold water for a recharge.
- Gaiters - trail running gaiters like these Sparkplug Gaiters from Outdoor Research are so lightweight as to be practically unnoticeable, except for the fact that you won't be picking pebbles from your shoes at every rest stop.
- A comfortable backpack. Whatever works for you is best...you do not want to wear a brand new, untested backpack on this hike.
- Camera - for obvious reasons.
- Rim to Rim.org - everything from guides to trip journals to t-shirts.
- National Park's Service Grand Canyon Hiking Tips
- National Park's Service Grand Canyon Day Hiking Guide
- Trans Canyon Shuttle Schedule
- South Kaibab Trail Description
- North Kaibab Trail Description