Grand Canyon - North Kaibab Trail - Hiking Guide

Grand Canyon - North Kaibab Trail - Hiking Guide

United States
United States

When Is the Best Time

The North Rim is open from mid-May until mid-October; closed in the winter months so definitely plan a summer trip to the North Rim if you appreciate the simple things in life! There are fewer iconic views but it’s also less crowded than the South Rim. This article with tips for the prep and the South Kaibab trail is already updated.

The North Rim is only visited by 10% of the Grand Canyon visitors. You can even go in summer as the temperatures are more pleasant due to its higher elevation. Summer days are usually delightfully clear and cool except for the occasional thunderstorms in July and August. May and September are great months to hike this trail. It's not heavily crowded if you visit in the summer. But still, try to avoid weekends and start your hike early.

More about the famous Rim2Rim hike soon.

Whether you want to hike the Grand Canyon as I did or take a road trip on Route 66, this travel guide is a great help! Fodor’s Arizona and the Grand Canyon guidebook is packed with maps, carefully curated recommendations and everything else you need to simplify your trip-planning process and make the most of your time.

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
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Dec

Location and Tips

Grand Canyon - North Rim
United States
United States

It's a 4 hours drive from the South Rim to the North Rim. Although less spectacular from the rim, this part of the Grand Canyon is so beautiful, serene, and peaceful. There is only one road leading to the North Rim, and it goes directly to the North Rim Visitor Center and Grand Canyon Lodge. I was taken aback by the Lodge's simplicity yet grandiosity and the cabins that you stay in. There are many trail options for hiking, more challenging and require a few days stay. We decided to hike the North Kaibab Trail as far as possible in one day.

The North Kaibab Trail is less busy than the South Kaibab Trail but even more strenuous. We hiked the North Kaibab Trail until Ribbon Falls and back in one day. It was a 17 mi/27 km long hike with an elevation gain of 1800 m. The North Rim is 300 m higher above sea level located than the South Rim. The track is quite steep, and hiking poles are recommended. Don't forget to bring plenty of water and snacks.

We hiked the North Kaibab Trail at the end of May. To have plenty of sunlight, we already started at five in the morning with freezing temps. We reached our limit on this track because of the long ascent back. The views are not as spectacular as from the South Rim. However, it is an incredibly beautiful trail with fewer people.

Actually, we had the idea to stay at the Phantom Ranch or campground. We learnt our lesson; the Phantom Ranch can be booked 13 months in advance, and also reservations for the campgrounds have to be made early. Usually, all sites are fully booked far in advance. 

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Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I am always open, curious about new…