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Grand Canyon North Kaibab Trail

The North Kaibab Trail goes from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River for a distance of 14.5 miles.

Hikers need to be aware that rockfalls sometimes cover or force sections of the trail to collapse especially after the spring thaw and or a summer thunderstorm. After hiking just under 5 miles (4.7), you will arrive at Roaring Springs. This stretch of the trail is steep. En route, hikers will pass through a tunnel or two as well as cross over a bridge. The mules turn around at Roaring Springs.

Two miles further down, hikers will come upon Cottonwood Camp. Rangers are sometimes found here. One mile from here is the Ribbon Falls turn off. The falls are 8-8.5 miles down and are down a side trail.

Six miles further on, hikers will encounter the Phantom Ranch. Prior to reaching the Phantom Ranch, hikers will pass through "the Box." "The Box" as it is so affectionately called can easily turn into an oven. Shortly after passing through "the box" hikers will arrive at the Phantom Ranch and then the Colorado River.

At the Colorado River hikers have two choices if continuing on to the South Rim. These are the Bright Angel Trail, and the South Kaibab Trail. The Bright Angel, while being a little longer, has more people — and more importantly water. The South Kaibab does not have any water.

It is strongly recommended that hikers bring sufficient water and food. Although the weather may be a balmy 60-70 degrees at the top, temeperatures in the inner Canyon frequently exceed 100 degrees. I and others in the Canyon have found dehydrated hikers face down in the dirt miles from the top and ended up carrying/helping them out. The park service rescues hundreds of hikers every year.

Please come prepared... it's not the going down that going to get you... it's the going out! As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended that hikers allot 3x as much time as it took them to go down to get out. If you decide to hike in for an hour, plan on three hours getting out.


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