A backpacker hiking in the Grand Canyon. They are surounded by orange cliffs. A path is carved in the side of the cliff on which the backpacker is traveling.

The Rim-to-Rim Trail

Cross one of the largest chasms in the world. From high up on the Grand Canyon’s rim, descend a full mile deep to the Colorado River, then climb back out. Are you ready for the challenge?

Overview

Mileage
21–23 miles
Duration
2–4 days
Best time
May 15–31, Sep 15 – Oct 14
© Mapbox© OpenStreetMapImprove this mapArizona
© Mapbox© OpenStreetMapImprove this mapArizona

When to go

The best time to hike The Rim-to-Rim Trail is from May 15 to May 31, and from September 15 to October 14. This is when temperatures aren’t too hot or too cold, and North Rim is open.

IdealIdealJFMAMJJASOND59°35°60°35°66°39°70°44°81°51°93°59°95°65°92°64°86°57°75°49°66°42°58°34°
IdealIdealJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec59°35°60°35°66°39°70°44°81°51°93°59°95°65°92°64°86°57°75°49°66°42°58°34°
Temperature. Best from February 1 to May 31, and from September 15 to December 15.
IdealIdealJFMAMJJASONDJan 1 May 14Oct 15 Dec 31
IdealIdealJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecJan 1 May 14Oct 15 Dec 31
North Rim Closure. North Rim is closed from October 15 to May 14.

Itinerary

There are 2 options: via Bright Angel Trail or via Kaibab Trail. We recommend to hike via Bright Angel Trail in the Southbound direction because it’s shortest, has the least elevation gain, and has more campgrounds.

via Bright Angel Trail
Southbound
Northbound
via Kaibab Trail
via Bright Angel Trail
Southbound
Northbound
via Kaibab Trail
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Transportation

Most people hike The Rim-to-Rim Trail point-to-point. As with any point-to-point hike, we recommend leaving your car at the end of the trail. You may be faster, or slower and it’s always good to know there’s a car waiting for you at the end. It’s better than stressing out about catching a shuttle or giving somebody a call!

You have three options

  1. Book a shuttle. It’s the most convenient, but it’s also the most expensive option at $120 per person.
  2. Arrange a key swap. You exchange car keys with a party who will hike the trail in the other direction.
  3. Drive in with two cars. Leave one car at the end of the trail.

Parking

North Kaibab Trailhead
Bright Angel Trailhead
South Kaibab Trailhead
© Mapbox© OpenStreetMapImprove this map
© Mapbox© OpenStreetMapImprove this map

Park at the North Kaibab Trailhead Parking Lot (Google Maps)

Permits

A Grand Canyon National Park Backcountry Permit is required to hike The Rim-to-Rim Trail. Quota is on a per-campsite basis and you must book each campsite you wish to stay at. Permits are available on Recreation.gov.

Plan ahead

Enter the lottery 5 months before your trip starts.

Trips starting
Jan 1 – May 14

Closed
Ideal time
Trips starting
May 15–31

Enter the lottery
Dec 16, 2023 – Jan 1, 2024
Passed
Trips starting
Jun 1–30

Enter the lottery
Jan 16 – Feb 1
Passed
Trips starting
Jul 1–31

Enter the lottery
Feb 16 – Mar 1
Passed
Trips starting
Aug 1–31

Enter the lottery
Mar 16 – Apr 1
Passed
Ideal time
Trips starting
Sep 1–30

Enter the lottery
Apr 16 – May 1
Passed
Ideal time
Trips starting
Oct 1–14

Enter the lottery
May 16 – Jun 1
Open, enter now
Trips starting
Oct 15, 2024 – May 14, 2025

Closed

Last-minute

Unclaimed lottery permits are released online 3 months before your trip starts. Canceled permits can also be booked online. Here is the current number of permits available for every start date:

Select campsites to view current permit availability.

Permits sold out? Create an Outdoor Status Alert to get notified when we find permits.

Need to know

  • Water. Water fountains at all campgrounds supply water along the Rim-to-Rim corridor. However, there is no water on the South Kaibab Trail.

Regulations

  • Bears canisters: not required.
  • Fires: prohibited.
  • Dogs: not allowed.
  • Poop: dig a cathole at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Pack out toilet paper.

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