North Kaibab Trail

  • Start of North Kaibab Trail  - © wiki Fredlyfish4
  • North Kaibab Trail  - © wiki Fredlyfish4
  • Phanton Ranch, Bright Angel Creek, N Kaibab Trail - © William Mackesy
  • Bright Angel Creek, N Kaibab Trail from S Rim - © William Mackesy
  • Phanton Ranch area, N Kaibab from Tonto Trail - © William Mackesy
  • North kabob Trail - ©  flickr Grand Canyon National Park

Key information: North Kaibab Trail

  • This outstanding hike is the only one from the north down into the heart of the world’s most famous canyon. It combines with the South Kaibab and Bright Angel trails to make the Grand Canyon’s best-known crossing.
  •  Revel in huge views across the vast canyon; enjoy the changing colours and fantastic shapes of the cliffs, buttes and spires. Enter new worlds with wildly varying ecosystems as you climb/plunge from/into the gorge.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating95
  • Beauty37
  • Natural interest18
  • Human interest5
  • Charisma37
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating95

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 15 miles, 24km
  • 1-2 days, one way
  • Maximum Altitude: Around 2,500m
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.

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Bright Angel Creek, N Kaibab Trail from S Rim - © William Mackesy

WALK SUMMARY

The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, a World Heritage Site, and geological heaven. It is hard to overpraise the canyon’s raw, outlandish shapes and formations: they are justly famous. The sheer size of the Grand Canyon is astounding.

This outstanding hike is the only one from the north down into the heart of the world’s most famous canyon, down the long, straight, stately Bright Angel Canyon to Phantom Ranch and Bright Angel campsite near the Colorado river.

The North Kaibab combines with the South Kaibab and Bright Angel trails to make the Grand Canyon’s best-known crossing. See our Crossing the Canyon page. 

Revel in huge views across the vast canyon; enjoy the changing colours and fantastic shapes of the cliffs, buttes and spires. Enter another world with wildly varying ecosystems as you plunge deeper into the gorge.

The trail begins with a tough 7.6km (4.7 mile) switchback down Roaring Springs Canyon to Roaring Springs. It then winds gently down Bright Angel Canyon to the Cottonwood Campground in a total time so far of 11.3km (7 miles) or so. From there it is a 12 km hike down along the Bright Angel Creek to Phantom Ranch and the Bright Angel Campground near the Colorado. It is a gentle and beautiful walk, passing side-canyons and giving the opportunity to seek out some of the Canyon’s stunning flora and fauna, until you reach the deep, deep chasm known as The Box and thence to the riverside.

You can make this walk in 2 days or one long one. How far down you walk is optional: there are various points along the way with great views, where you can enjoy the magnificence of the Canyon below the rim then get back up without excessive suffering. It is still a tough walk if you go a significant way down: don’t underestimate it, limit how far down you go to the reality of your fitness. Remember that you have to get back to the rim: “Descending is optional; ascending is compulsory”, as the signs say, approximately. Walking to the Colorado river is not recommended as a day walk.

This is tough walking in hot, dry conditions. Come fully prepared, including carrying plenty of water.

The Cicerone guide has good information on these walks.   Find this and other books on Amazon.

See our Grand Canyon page for much more on the canyon, and detailed practical information.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Phanton Ranch area, N Kaibab from Tonto Trail - © William Mackesy

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Phanton Ranch, Bright Angel Creek, N Kaibab Trail - © William Mackesy...
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