I did the 23.4 miles rim to rim day hike through Grand Canyon during last week of November (Thanksgiving weekend) 2017. Unlike most hikes like Mt. Whitney, the hard part (ascent) comes later and therefore it is easy to get trapped. Be very certain of your fitness level before you try this.
Download a copy of this sheet for your use here.
I started at 6:45 AM in the morning and it took me about 10 hours 45 minutes to finish the hike. This included 4-5 breaks of 5 minutes each along the way. Here are some photos of the major checkpoints along the way. The first of them is a short tunnel called Supai Tunnel.
After Supai Tunnel, the next major milestone is Roaring Springs. The actual springs are a bit off the route, therefore, I would recommend not going there.
Manzanita Rest area was the first stop where I got potable water and being 5.4 miles away, this is the first major checkpoint on the way. And it’s a good time to evaluate how you are doing on time. If it has already taken you three hours or more to reach here, I would highly recommend turning back. Cottonwood campground is a little over a mile from here. From here on, the trail is next to the water stream.
Till Cottonwood, the descent is really steep. Beyond that, it becomes much more smooth and pleasant to walk. From here on, it becomes a long walk towards the Phantom Ranch.
Eventually, I reached the Phantom Ranch, it’s a small town in the middle of the canyon. I refilled my hydration pack here. They do seem to serve food to day hikers.
Bright Angel campground, a much smaller campground, is only 20 minutes away from here. Bright Angel campground is 14 miles from the start and is the lowest checkpoint of the hike. Here I encountered the board that I am finally crossing over to the South Rim.
Soon after this, I came across the Silver Bridge on Colorado river, which is used for crossing over to the south side of the canyon.
The temperature was climbing up now and I was sweating due to the strong sun. That’s when I came across more smarter travelers.
Next, I saw this really cool cave. Being alone, I decide not to take the risk but I am still unable to get this off of my head.
From here on the hike becomes a strenuous climb.
Seven-and-a-half hours into the journey, I reached Indian Garden. It’s an Oasis in the middle of the desert and is the last point to get potable water before the last leg of the journey. While Indian Garden is only 4.7 miles away from the Bright Angel trailhead, it is 3000 ft below that, so, I had to climb an average 12% gradient in the last leg of the journey.
The next major stop is 3-mile Resthouse which is 3 miles from the Bright Angel trailhead. From here on, one encounters many day hikers who are coming down from the south rim for the shorter hikes.
Eventually, I crawled to the final checkpoint 1.5-mile Resthouse.
Finally, a view from the top.