This is the first of several trip reports for some great 'done in a day' hikes I experienced during the past week as I traveled through Arizona and Utah. More to come!
My route for Rim2Rim2Rim was South Kaibab trail down to the river, North Kaibab Trail to/from the North Rim, and then Bright Angel trail back to the South Rim.
Several folks have written great reports on this trail, both here and in the ultra running community:
Andy Skurka in BPL
Here are some tips for folks aiming to tackle Rim2Rim2Rim in a day, based on my experience.
I highly recommend an early (4-5AMish) start, since that'll give you plenty of time to finish the trail. I was moving pretty swifly (3-4 mi/hr) and it still took me about 16 hours.
The South Kaibab Trail --> North Kaibab Trail (up & down) --> Bright Angel Trail route is a really great way to go, especially if you get the early start. As you hike down the South Kaibab Trail, you will get the first rays of morning light right away, so you won't need the headlamp for too long. Bright Angel trail on the other hand is more shaded and also 2 miles longer.
When you make the long (14 mi) hike up North Kaibab trail to the North Rim, that early start will pay off, as you'll have the advantage of shade from the canyon walls for a good deal of the climb.
On the way back up to the South Rim, the Bright Canyon trail offers a lot of shade from the afternoon sun. South Kaibab trail, on the other hand is pretty exposed and will be much hotter.
Since the start and end points are a few miles apart, I'd recommend parking at the Canyon Rim Visitor center, walking the ~2mi to the South Kaibab trailhead, and then taking advantage of the visitor shuttle to get from the top of Bright Angel trail back to your car in the evening. This'll put your total distance around ~46 miles. I was a bit too loopy from the long day to think of this, and ended up walking an extra 2-3 miles to get back to my car, making for a nearly 50 mile day!
Check out my photos!