4-5 nights in the Grand Canyon in November?
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Robin B
(beckcommar)

Locale: NorCal
4-5 nights in the Grand Canyon in November? on 08/17/2012 14:31:45 MDT Print View

I'm looking at putting together a trip out to the GC the second week of November or so. I have a few questions for folks more familiar than I am. Overall I'm looking for a great 4-5 night trip. I've searched around a bit but I'd be interested in suggestions about favorite spots that time of year. I also wonder if there's a particular guide book or other resources folks would recommend to help my make my plans.

Also, as you can probably guess, I don't have a permit yet. My thinking is that I'd probably need to put together a few possibly itineraries and just show up and see what's available. Shouldn't be a problem at that time of year, right? (I'm looking for more of a wilderness experience than just staying on the corridor trails).

Thoughts? Advice?

Steven Thompson
(stevet) - M

Locale: Northeast
Grand Canyon on 08/17/2012 20:55:03 MDT Print View

November is prime time for the canyon and most permits for the most popular areas are probably gone.

You don't say much about your backcountry experience so it is hard to make a recommendation. The are 4 types of routes in the canyon.

1-Corridor. Some backcountry experience, zero off trail experience. Includes Bright Angel, South Kaibab, North Kaibab
2-Off corridor. This is my label for unmaintained trails that receive lots of traffice. Includes Hermit, Grandview (to Horseshoe Mesa), some sections of the Tonto Trail, and Clear Creek Trail
3-Unmaintained. These are seriously challenging trails, several rockslides to navigate, etc. Include South Bass, New Hance, Tanner, Thunder River, North Bass, Bill Hall, the Tonto Trail west of the South Bass
4-Routes. Remote, trail-ish, may include technical climbs. Includes Royal Arch Loop, Escalante, Nankoweap.

With more detail on your backcountry experience and fitness level, can recommend options from among these.

Guide-wise: Annerino's Sierra Club guide book, the Harvey Bouchart books.

Robin B
(beckcommar)

Locale: NorCal
Re: Grand Canyon on 08/18/2012 23:33:23 MDT Print View

Thanks. And yes, more info about me probably makes sense. I'm looking for something more like the off-corridor or unmaintained options. I have a good amount of backcountry experience, but I'm not looking for technical climbs and the like. I mostly go backcountry in the Sierra's these days and I find I usually feel best if my days are around 10-15 miles at altitude and not much more.

I'm not really looking to push myself on this trip, but rather to have a great wilderness experience in a less popular part of the canyon. It seems permit-wise that I probably need to have some flexibility in my planning so I'd like to find a few good options. Any other thoughts would be great, thanks!

Will Webster
(WillWeb) - M
GC in November on 08/19/2012 10:08:33 MDT Print View

I've only backpacked the Grand Canyon once, so take my input for what it's worth.

My wife and I did 4 days/3 nights two years ago, the week before Thanksgiving. We started at Hermit Rest, spent the first night at Hermit, the second at Monument, and the last at Indian Garden before hiking out on Bright Angel. By doing short mile days we were able to set up camp and go exploring while knowing how much daylight we had remaining. This is especially important in the areas where you are restricted as to where you can camp. We sent the application in the first day we could, and got our first choice. On the other hand, we were the only people at Hermit (there was another party at Hermit Rapids but we were at the higher camp) and there was only one other party at Monument. I don't know whether the sites had been booked up but people just didn't show, or if they were still available at the last minute. IIRC, the reservations website has some information on what's available.

The hike was fantastic; the biggest problem with the Tonto Platform is that words - and most photographs - fail to capture how spectacular it is.

Indian Garden and Bright Angel are best avoided.

We carried YakTraks and they made the last mile over packed snow a lot more comfortable.

Lots of good information and very experienced GC hikers on hikearizona.com.

Tonto Rainbow