Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Grand Canyon in 2 Days ?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Grand Canyon in 2 Days ? on 03/30/2007 08:01:45 MDT Print View

I am headed out to Arizona with my girlfriend in September and we have just come up with the idea to possibly hike the Grand Canyon. From everything that I have read it looks like a 20 mile round trip on certain trails. On a few sites it recommends up to 3-4 days to do this. I completely understand the heat is the biggest factor, but do people do this trip in 2 days. Am I crazy to think about hiking down one day and then back up the next with 2 really early morning starts to avoid the heat of the day? Both of us carry less than 9 pound base loads, so with the water and all we will still only be in the 20 pound range. Any thoughts?

Donovan Sarka
(dsarka) - F

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Re: Grand Canyon in 2 Days ? on 04/04/2007 21:16:02 MDT Print View

Hello, my husband and I live in AZ and hike the GC often. A great site is Do you have campground reservations or Phantom Ranch reservations? If you are staying in that area there are basically 2 trails down, Bright Angel and South Kaibab. Last week we went down the South Kaibab, it took about 2 1/2 hours. We stayed at Phantom Ranch. The next day we went to Clear Creek, 9 miles each way. It took 4 hours to get there and 3 1/2 to return. We had dinner and a cabin at Phantom Ranch and hiked out the Bright Angel the next day, it took 4 hours to get out. So hiking down and coming out the next day is easily done. Just make sure to start early. Coming out is all up, you want to beat the heat. When it is warm we are on the trail at 4 AM. Going up Bright Angel the last 3 miles are intense, and you really need all the shade you can get, which means starting early. If you have any other questions feel free to ask.

John Davis
(JNDavis) - F

Locale: Isle of Man
Grand Canyon in 2 Days on 04/17/2007 13:23:11 MDT Print View

Don't! It's sensational down there. Stay at least a week.

I put my name down on the reserve list for permission to camp in the bottom on a Thursday evening and received my permit on Saturday morning (in 1991). I did a similar trip to the one described above and thoroughly enjoyed it but always regretted requesting only two nights in the bottom. If you have the slightest interest in geology or in natural history, you need more than two nights.

Patrick Weir
(skorpion317) - F

Locale: Northeast
re: on 05/04/2007 06:57:31 MDT Print View

I had the opportunity to go to the Grand Canyon a few years ago. The Bright Angel trail is supposed to be one the best trails in the country. I went down the South Kaibab with my brother and father, we only went about an hour's hike and then turned around (had to get back out before it got dark!) Some people are capable of doing rim to floor and back in one day, but this is DEFINITELY not recommended. It's well worth it to spend at least a few days there, if not a week.

Kim Grant
(Kimberlymae) - F
Easy to do in 2 days, IF... on 05/06/2007 23:05:15 MDT Print View

Hi, if you stay at the Phantom Ranch overnight and aren't carrying pack, the Grand Canyon is easy to do in two days. If you take the Kaibab Trail, it's ~7 miles each way. (However, if you can't call a 7 mile hike easy under any circumstances, don't attempt this).

Here's how you do it. Start at the top about 5:00 or 6:00 am with a headlamp, and you'll be at the bottom by noon and avoid most of the heat (gets hotter the lower you get).

Have a protein breakfast, NOT pancakes. Drink at least a liter before you start the trail, better to drink two. Carry four more liters in a hydration pack, and be sure to add a powdered supplement to replish electrolytes.

Also carry two snickers bars each, plus whatever you're having for lunch. Wear a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. And carry a change of undewear and a clean shirt for the next day. At Phantom Ranch, you can buy ALL other ammenities you might need. The showers have soaps and towels, the cabins have all the bedding you could use.

Phantom Ranch bunkhouses are not co-ed, but have greater vacancy. The cabins are bunk beds and wonderful, but much harder to get.

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: Grand Canyon in 2 Days ? on 05/08/2007 16:42:35 MDT Print View

My wife and I did the classic S. Kaibab-Bright Angel Trail loop last May. This is a great run for first time Grand Canyon hikers. The heat had just hit the Canyon and daytime temps at Phantom Ranch were 105 in the shade. We overnighted at Bright Angel Campground and hiked out the following day. I recommend going down the S. Kaibab and up BA so you're travelling in the opposite direction of the mule trains, which makes for quicker going. The S. Kaibab is 7 miles to Phantom Ranch/B.A. Camp and the B.A. is 10 miles to the rim.

We hit the trail head at 5:30am and hit the Colorado river by 10am. We spent the entire day trying to stay cool. The Phantom Ranch cantina provided some relief in the way of lemonade and air conditioning. The rest of the time, we just stuck our feet in the Bright Angel Creek or the Colorado River, watching pack rafters gear up. The heat was oppressive, just too hot to do any dayhiking so our plan to visit Ribbon Falls was scuttled.

The next day, we were hiking by 5 a.m. and made it to Indian Gardens just before 10am. The plan was to wait until 4pm, when large portions of the remainder of the B.A. Trail are shaded, but we were both feeling strong and had visions of bacon cheeseburgers dancing in our heads so we pushed up the trail after only an hour layover. In hindsight, I wish we'd had another night to stay at Indian Gardens to relax and catch the sunset from Plateau Point but we couldn't allot time for another night in our itinerary. If you have the time to do this, I recommend it.

Anywho, we reached the rim by 3pm, hitting both rest points (3 miles and 1.5 miles from the rim) for shade and water. The trail was crowded from the 3 mile rest stop to the rim but it wasn't unbearable traffic. The heat was a different story. We each went through about 3 liters of from Indian Gardens to the rim but never had to carry more than a liter due to the spacing of the water stations.

I'd heartily recommmend this hike to first-timers. You can take an easy pace and you're never far from water (with the exception of the descent down S. Kaibab) or people. The flora and fauna are not what you'd expect from the canyon; the entire section from the Colorado river to Indian Gardens is a very lush riparian area...gorgeous. If I was doing it all over again under a similar forecast, I would've left raingear behind and would've ditched the tent and sleeping bag in favor of bug netting and a bag liner just slept on the picnic table at B.A. Camp. Shaving a few extra pounds off your packweight would be very noticable onces quad failure starts to flare up on the appropriately named Jacob's Ladder...the last set of switchbacks out of the canyon.

Have a great hike, I guarantee the Canyon will be one of the best hikes of your life.

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: Grand Canyon in 2 Days ? on 05/08/2007 16:48:08 MDT Print View

Oh, and everything you need to know about hiking the most popular areas of the Canyon (and some not so popular) you can find here: Excellent resource.