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Trip Report

Backpacking the Grand Canyon

Overnight backpacking trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Hard hike. Astounding views. 12/10 recommend

by dorapereliAtlasGuru Contributor

North AmericaUnited States2 days / October 2019

Highs & Lows

The views.


Itinerary Overview

We left Los Angeles at 9 am on Friday. It is about an 8 hour drive. We arrived at The Grand Canyon around 6 pm, and stopped in to take a peak at what we would be hiking down the following day. All of our jaws dropped at the beauty and size of it. I had already been twice before, and it never gets old. 

The land surrounding the Grand Canyon is national forest so you can camp anywhere within it for free. Just a couple miles outside the part we took a right turn down a rocky road, and looked for a nice place to set up camp. We picked a little area about 1/2 of a mile up the road and claimed it as our home for the night! We cracked a couple beers, set up our tents, and  got the fire going. We made backpacking dinners that we got from REI, which you just have to add boiling water too. They are actually SO delicious ( maybe because you are camping they taste better, or maybe they are actually that good). It was about 60 degrees when we arrived, and got down to about 40 by the time we went to sleep. Luckily we had warm sleeping bags and lots of layers. 

HIKING DAY 1: We woke around 7 am, made instant coffee, packed up our bags, and parked at the parking lot D.  I highly recommend starting early because it gets hot there fast. Especially when you are carrying a heavy pack.  We got a permit to sleep at Bright Angels Campground which was only 4.5 miles from the trailhead.

To get to the campground, we hiked on the N. Kaibab Trail. There are a couple of rest stops and water spouts along the way. You run into a lot of day hikers in the first 2 miles of the hike. Everyone was super friendly and from all over the world. It took us around 3 hours to get to the campsite. Once we got there, we dropped our packs, and proceeded down the rest of the canyon. We couldn't miss swimming in the Colorado river! It took about 1.5 hours to get down the rest of the canyon. It was really nice to do so without a pack! Every time we turned a corner, a new, incredible view would appear. We also saw so many deer! The water was absolutely freezing but also very refreshing. Not long after, We headed back up , because it gets dark there quick. 

That night we ate another couple of backpacking meals and shared stories from the day. 

HIKING DAY 2: The next day we awoke early, packed up, and began trucking up the mountain. Our feet were VERY sore and had many a blisters. Also it was all up hill. Having said that- we were in the most beautiful of sceneries, so we couldn't complain too much. 4-5 hours later- we made it to the top. We immediately found the closest restaurant and stuffed our faces. We headed back to LA with a weekend full of the best memories and stories. 12/10 recommend. 

  • 1 Night: Kaibab National Forest
  • 1 Night: Bright Angel Campground
  • Day trip: Colorado River

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    I would have stayed an extra day. It is too beautiful not to.

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    Our jet boil almost didn't start...luckily we figured it out but if it hadn't, we would have been dinner-less.

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Don't overpack! You really feel the weight of your pack going uphill on your way out.

  • Packing tips?

    Don't forget a head lamp, a bathing suit, and toilet paper!

  • Transportation Tips?

    Carpool if you can! It makes the adventure way more fun.

  • Any surprises?

    Lots of DEER! And they are very friendly too! And the river is COLD!