Backpacking Trip: Grand Canyon, AZ / by Hannah Byrne


It wasn’t even on my radar to hike the Grand Canyon… but when my friend, Gabby, mentioned that her and two of her friends were looking for a fourth person to go with them - I was 100% down! Turns out this was ** hands down ** one of the coolest things I got to do in 2018.

None of us had ever backpacked, so there were a lot of unknowns leading up to this trip. I was nervous about a lot of things - carrying a backpack for 20 miles, how hard the hike would actually be, what to pack, how to pack, how cold it would be, basically everything…. SO I want to give you an outline of what we did in case you’re interested! I also just want to let you know: yes, the hike was physically challenging but it wasn’t NEARLY as bad as I imagined it. So if you’re considering it, go for it!! Oh and one more thing - early/mid November is an AMAZING time to go. You have to be prepared with lots of layers. But I will take chilly nights over 100 degree heat any day.

Basic itinerary of what we did: 3 days, 2 nights backpacking

Day 1:

  • Parked at the Bright Angel trailhead LOT D at 8AM, took a shuttle to the South Kaibab trailhead (lots of shuttles always going so you could arrive at any time. We just wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to hike that day because it was our longest day.)

  • Hiked entire South Kaibab trail (~7 miles)

  • Camped at the Bright Angel Campsite

*There is a cantina at this campsite where you can get small food items and beer :D There are also restrooms with running water/flushing toilets!

Day 2:

  • Hiked up Bright Angel trail (~4 miles, my favorite stretch of hiking we did)

  • Camped at Indian Garden Campsite (no cantina, no flushing toilets/sinks but restrooms available)

  • Once we settled at camp, we also did a short ~3 mile hike to Plateau Point at sunset. 100% worth it!

Day 3:

  • Hiked up the rest of Bright Angel trail (~4 miles)

  • Took a shuttle to LOT D from Bright Angel trailhead to pick up car (we were done walking hahaha)

NOTES:

- I didn't get our permits, but I'm pretty sure you need to get them months in advance - you should start planning your trip by booking these! You have to have them for both campsites, Bright Angel + Indian Garden. 

- There are non-flushing "restrooms" along the trail

- Depending on the time of year you go, water might be shut off in different places. We were totally fine carrying 3L of water each day. You can check the supply here: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/trail-closures.htm#CP_JUMP_1941213

- We flew into Phoenix, drove to the little town by the Grand Canyon and stayed at this hotel the first and last night (it was nice!) http://www.grandcanyongrandhotel.com/