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Old 06-19-2013   #1
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5
Grand Canyon 1/2 Trip suggestions/Tips!!

I have a potential spot on a Grand trip in July but I cant do the whole thing. I am curious about the logistics of doing a 1/2 trip. At this point I think I will be doing only the first half. I have some questions.....

-how easy is it to drop a car at the 1/2 way point so when I hike out it is there?
-is it better to hike out the north or south rim?
-is long term (7ish days) parking available at these locations?

Any suggestions/insights are much appreciated!


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Old 06-19-2013   #2
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
Do the whole thing. Trust me.

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Old 06-19-2013   #3
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 727
Ya he's right, do the whole thing.

That said, a half a trip is still better than no trip. If you have a choice, opt for the second half as it is a few days longer. Either half provides the GC experience. Joining a trip at Phantom is really getting thrown in the fire, as the first 4 rapids you run are 4 of the classics and there are 2-3 solid days of really fun boating thru the heart of the canyon. The group also has a solid group dynamic going that will take a few days to assimilate into. Hiking out at Phantom just plain sucks cuz you are leaving your tribe, and that hike up in July is a mother. Start your hike as early as possible either way. Indian Gardens has good shade and water, so you will get a respite around the half way point of the hike.

You should be able to work out a shuttle between the incoming and outgoing hikers, that way your vehicle is only parked for a few hours at GC Village, and all vehicles can end up in flagstaff or wherever the trip is based for convenience. If you hike out you will be ready to get the heck out of GC Village.

South rim has more and better access, and way shorter drive time. Getting cars to the north rim can add a lot of drive time, but it could be convenient depending on where you and the other hikers live. There are numerous drainages you can access the south rim, but Phantom is the most convenient and popular from my experience.

You will now receive a hundred different takes on all this as well as plenty of other advice, solicited or otherwise. Boaters who have ran the GC hold it in higher regard than any other river trip, and love to talk about it.

In any case, whatever you do, go on that trip!
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Old 06-20-2013   #4
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5
Thanks for the info! Very helpful!

I will be doing the first half of the river and hiking out to the south rim. Any idea what the ideal camp is for the night before the hike? I noticed that Bright Angel Trail from Phantom crosses the river and then hugs the river left bank for about 1.5mi before heading up a drainage. Camping ideas at that drainage or a bit up stream near Phantom?
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Old 06-20-2013   #5
prescott, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 276
most trips with exchanges at try to camp at cremation camps (there are 2) right above phantom. if you are going to hike up the south kaibab, your group will let you off at the black bridge (boat beach). if you're going to hike up the south bright angel they usually take you down to pipe spring ( that extra 1 1/2 miles).

when do you launch, when does your trip expect to be at phantom?

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Old 06-20-2013   #6
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 16
I've only done it once but.... DO THE WHOLE THING!

If you can't, do the SECOND half if you can.

Assuming you are leaving / joining the trip at Phantom Ranch, consider:

The North rim is one HELL of a shuttle. The distance from Phantom Ranch is about twice that from from the South Rim.

South Rim has mule service for you and (I assume - never actually done it) your gear. As far as I know, you have to walk it out if you're going to the north rim.

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Old 06-20-2013   #7
Pullman, Washington
Paddling Since: 92
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 149
Try to leave your gear with the boats; we hiked out with just a light pack and it was very comfortable even though we didn't start as early as we should have. The outfitters have their people on the trail at 5 but they tend to be really slow. If you are reasonably fit it is a nice hike to the South Rim and there are three shelters/water stops along the way - it took me about 5 hours with long breaks.
Hope you're not going soon though as I understand the fires may close that area.

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