Grand Canyon Hiking


Monday was our first in person attempt to win the Wave Lottery. We plan to do a more detailed post about the Wave and its lottery.  The Wave is one of the most picturesque parts of Southern Utah/Northern Arizona and perhaps the United States in general.  There are 20 people allowed into the Wave every day.  10 people through an online lottery which is done 4 months in advance and another 10 people through an in-person lottery in Kanab, Utah the day prior.  We went with high hopes of winning spots for Tuesday. Despite our optimism, we did not win.

After leaving the lottery we drove the hour and half from Kanab for some Grand Canyon hiking on the North Rim.  Jesse previously hiked the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 2005 with Adin Meir.  During the 3 day 2 night Grand Canyon hiking trip, they covered the 14 miles to the Colorado River camping at the base of the Canyon along the way.

This was Quan’s first trip to the Grand Canyon.  Most visitors (specifically the large buses of tourists) go to the South Rim with its amenities, better looking mules to ride and proximity to Las Vegas.  The NORTH RIM of the Grand Canyon is the the real hidden gem, less than 10% of visitors who visit the Grand Canyon start hiking from the North Rim. This means secluded trails, less mule droppings, and a peaceful Grand Canyon hiking experience that would be tough to find on the South Rim.  Jesse has hiked both sides and felt that the North Rim was more scenic and therefore a better fit for his addictive picture taking wife.


Pro Grand Canyon Hiking Tip: The hike down the Canyon is misleading as its all downhill and will feel relatively easy despite the many switchbacks.  You may not realized how far you’ve traveled down until you turn around to climb back UP the Canyon.  The climb back up is hard and will take about twice the amount the time of the descent, so don’t forget to factor this into the equation when you calculate your hiking time and how much water you carry on your hike.

We chose to hike the North Kaibob Trail, which The National Parks Service describes as “the least visited but most difficult of the three maintained trails at Grand Canyon National Park. Almost a thousand feet higher at the trailhead than South Rim trails, hikers on the North Kaibab Trail pass through every ecosystem to be found between Canada and Mexico.” You can get a hiking guide from the National Parks Service here.

The views are awe inspiring at every point of the trail, but one of the best is at the Coconino Lookout point which is only  0.7 miles from the North Rim parking lot and a 700 foot drop in elevation. Even though North Kaibob Trail is described as an advanced Grand Canyon hiking, the .7 mile portion to Coconino Lookout is relatively accessible to all fitness level and well worth the hike! We reached here around noon during our descent and were lucky to arrive back to Cononino Lookout during the “golden hour” for photo taking during our ascent.

The view from Coconino Lookout

We hiked 3.2 miles down the North Kaibob Trail to a bridge passing over the North Rim. We packed a lunch had a picnic here before making our ascent back up. This is when Quan discovered the evils of Grand Canyon hiking (aka coming up isn’t as fun as coming down!).  Overall, this was a great day trip and a hike that we would highly recommend no matter the distance!

Grand Canyon hiking descent
We picnicked just across this bridge at the bottom of the Canyon
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