Winter Overnight In The Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon POST
grand Canyon panoramic
grand Canyon trail

There are many hikes you could do in the Grand Canyon, but if you are short on time and you’re visiting it during winter, this two-day hike including an overnight stay is one of the best ways to have a glimpse of what the park can offer. The hike could be done in just one challenging day, but spending one night out there in the canyon is a more interesting way to experience it.

In this post I will explain how I accomplished a two-day hike and overnight down the canyon without planning anything prior to my arrival and without being provided with any tent or sleeping bag.

Two days hiking and bivouac down the canyon
It is Monday night and I finish my job in Las Vegas. I always ask for some days off after I finish work, so I can recover, and pull the stress out of my body.
The first thing I do the very same night is to book a car. So the next day in the morning I directly rush to the airport to get my transport for the next days. I had no time to see which are the cool places around Las Vegas, so I decide to be on the safe side and I head up to the Grand Canyon. I tell myself that once there, I will figure out what is nice to do.

Main places to consider:

 

Here is what I did:

  • Walk the South Rim (the North Rim is closed during winter) from the GC Visitor Center to the Kolb Studio.
  • Take some pictures and reading the geological story of the canyon.
  • From Kolb Studio, I go to the Backcountry Information Center.
  • Buy a backcountry permit that cost me 18USD
    • during winter you don’t need to book a permit beforehand. You will see there are not many people around.
  • I head up to the Market Plaza where I rent a -6 C sleeping bag. It cost me 10USD (you can also rent a tent).
  • Then, I take the bus towards South Kaibab Trailhead.
  • It is 3 pm and I take the South Kaibab trail down to the canyon.
  • I walk the trail while the sun is setting down. Everybody is going up the canyon instead to get back to their accommodation.
  • As I walk further, the temperature rises due to the dramatic level differences, so I’m starting to get warm.
  • I have to rush a little bit to get to the campground before the sun sets completely.
  • I cross the bridge and I can feel I’m close. I see some signs and by following them, you easily get to the campground.
  • I easily find one spot next to the stream and I settle there – The campground is just beautiful!
  • The night comes fast and I get some sleep.
  • I wake up early. As I don’t have much to pack, I start my way up, this time I take the Bright Angel trail.
  • I walk the trail alone, so I can spot some mule deer very easily.
  • The trail is less steep and it feels more alpine. It is a bit longer though.
  • It takes me 4 hours to reach the rim at a fast pace. The elevation difference is remarkable.
  • Once in the rim, I go back to the Market Plaza where I take one of the best showers I’ve ever taken. It cost me 6 USD.

Trail Map:

 



Highlights and additional information:

Total Distance:

6.5 miles/10.4 km – From South Kaibab to Bright Angel Campground.
9.3 miles/15 km – From Bright Angel CG to Bright Angel trailhead.

Elevation Change:

4300 ft/1430 m

Best time to do it:

Start at 12 pm from South Kaibab Trailhead.
From Bright Angel Campground, the later the start the more sun you will get.

Time of Year:

Winter.

Ease of Access:

All accesses are well indicated and it is kind of difficult to get lost. To move from one point to another you can use the free bus service that operates within the park.
Just make sure to have printed the maps of the park or save them on your phone and you will not get lost.


Extra info from the park:

Intro to backcountry hike in the Grand Canyon
South Rim Pocket Map
Grand Canyon National Park Official site

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