Forum Index » Pre-Trip Planning » Grand Canyon Question


Display Avatars Sort By:
James Clark
(jclark50) - F
Grand Canyon Question on 02/15/2012 18:37:43 MST Print View

All,
I finally got my permit and now want to plan how long I will stay before/after at the South Rim. I had some questions that can change this decision and some other general questions.

1. I plan to go from S. Rim in early May and stay at Cottonwood for 2 nights and then Indian Garden for 1 night. If I wanted to add one day to my trip, what is the best way to do this? I know I can mail it back, but I'm guessing what I want is already booked. I would like to add a first night at Bright Angel. Or change my 3rd night to Bright Angel and add a 4th night at Indian Garden. I'm sure the waiting list at the Backcountry office is an option and have done this before, but I was not sure how well it works to change an itinerary.

2. When you reach the top of the North Rim at the N. Kaibab, are there good views of the canyon nearby? Only ask because all the videos I watched show the view obscured by trees.

3. Should I expect temperatures at Cottonwood and Indian Garden 15 degrees warmer than the South Rim at night?

4. Sort of off the subject, but I'm also visiting Havasu Falls. Does anyone know if it is worth it to hike from Havasupai to the Colorado River?

Thank you. Reading other posts have helped me a lot.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Views and Temps on 02/15/2012 18:56:27 MST Print View

I dayhike there and have never gotten a permit (other than a private rafting trip 16 years after requesting the permit!).

But I know about:

2. When you reach the top of the North Rim at the N. Kaibab, are there good views of the canyon nearby? Only ask because all the videos I watched show the view obscured by trees.

The expansive views are on the South Rim and some remote locations along the North Rim. At the North Kaibab trailhead, you're in a pine forest, looking down the upper reaches of a river canyon. The kind of views you imagine from the Rim were from the South Rim. And it's not like you can walk another 100 meters or a mile to see those views. The whole developed portion of the North Rim is not on the edge of a big overlook like the South Rim is.

3. Should I expect temperatures at Cottonwood and Indian Garden 15 degrees warmer than the South Rim at night?

Almost everywhere, temps decrease 3.5F per 1000 feet of elevation gain, so River to Rim should be an 18F increase. EXCEPT, in the Grand Canyon, on a sunny day, you have very hot rocks (hotter than the air temp) radiating heat at you in the Inner Canyon (below Indian Gardens), very little shade, and only the water you've carried on your back. Physiologically, I find Inner Canyon temps >30F warmer and Indian Garden temps to be 20F wamer than the South Rim PLUS the normal temp rise each day.

Therefore, you can leave the South Rim when it is 30F and be in a sweater and long pants but shed them in one mile, strip to shorts and t-shirt an hour later and be left wondering why you brought all these clothes with you when you're in the Inner Canyon experiencing 90F plus radiant input in the mid-afternoon. I graciously let my 11-year-old son do just that last May because I was along to carry it all extra clothing the rest of the day and it seemed a "teachable moment" about the adiabetic expansion of air ("lapse rate") and clothing strategies while on long hikes.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Earth (mostly)
Re: Grand Canyon Question on 02/15/2012 19:56:31 MST Print View

#3 15 degrees is a good safe range since weather can get inside the canyon, though during a warm spell in March 07I've pushed it to 30 degrees. Basically a 15F bag on the south Rim and a 45F one inside; I'd awake cold at 4:30 am but it was time to get up anyways , get coffee, breakfast, break camp, and start hiking at dawn with the rest of my group to make the next camp before the afternoon sun hit too hard. The chill was worth shaving almost a pound of sleeping bag but it has snowed on the Tonto as well in March.

Edited by hknewman on 02/15/2012 19:59:30 MST.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Grand Canyon Question on 02/16/2012 08:49:34 MST Print View

Email the backcountry office about changing your itinerary: grca_bic@nps.gov. If it's possible to change it, they'll usually do it for you via emails and just mail you a new permit.

Normally, I would say that your chances are nil BUT I've heard that they experienced lots of issues with the new permit software they implemented and used for the first time with the May permits. Someone I know reported recently that he was able to walk into the backcountry office two weeks ago and obtain a permit for a May corridor hike after having his permit request denied originally. So, it's definitely worth asking.

James Clark
(jclark50) - F
Re: Views and Temps on 02/20/2012 12:40:54 MST Print View

David & HK,
Thanks for your comments. Did not know about the roughly 3.5 degrees per 1000'. Both Indian Garden and Cottonwood are about 3000' below S. Rim, so I can guess in a temperature fluctuation. My only other trip to the GC I got a light dusting of snow at the S. Rim in late May. I had my 50 degree bag inside another bag to keep (yeah I'm from California where it was much warmer at the time. I spent two nights at Bright Angel and could have gotten away with a very light sleeping bag. I am not too worried about the temps, but the size of the sleeping bag was specifically why I was asking.

As for the views from the N. Rim, how you decribed it is pretty much what I figured. Still looks very beautiful there though with all the pine trees and all.

James Clark
(jclark50) - F
Re: Re: Grand Canyon Question on 02/20/2012 12:46:16 MST Print View

Sumi,
Thanks for your advice. I e-mailed the Backcountry Office and as both you and I expected everything is booked now for the dates and places that I wanted. The ranger did offer some good advice though becuase I asked about adding a day to the front of permit or adding one to the end. He suggested the front would be easier based on how they issue the waiting list permits.

I am still thinking about it, but I think I am going to try and get there before the Backcountry Office closes to get a number 3 days before my hike. Then I have 2 days in line to try to add Bright Angel on the front of my permit. If not I will just enjoy the views for a view days.