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Summer and Fall 2013 Backpacking Season – date posted Jul 22, 2013

Posted at July 22nd, 2013
Posted by Zion National Park Motel
Categories: Park Details
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If you would like to make an advance reservation to camp in the Grand Canyon, we need at least three weeks’ notice. If your planned hike is less than three weeks away, come in person to the Backcountry Information Center and request a walk-in permit. Availability of last minute permits is dependent on the season. The South Rim Backcountry Information Center is open year-round. The North Rim office is open from mid-May to October 31. Permits for the North Rim and the Arizona Strip are also available at Pipe Springs National Monument or the BLM Interagency Visitor Center in St. George, Utah.

August: Permits are easily obtained last minute at the park. There are very few hikers in remote areas. Most summer use occurs at the inner canyon campgrounds (Indian Garden, Bright Angel, and Cottonwood). Warning: elevated hiking risk due to extreme summer heat. High temperatures at the bottom of the canyon in the shade range from 100°F to 115°F (35°C – 42°C). Low temperatures at the bottom of the canyon range from 70°F to 80°F (20°C – 25°C). Flash flood and lightning risks remain high until the end of the monsoon, usually in early September.

September: This month marks the traditional start to the busy fall hiking season even though the average temperature is still near 100°F (38°C) at the canyon floor. Thunderstorms are possible the first half of the month with the second half trending towards dry. Bright Angel Campground is full, no advance reservations available.

October: One of the most desirable months to hike in the canyon, often dry with temperatures usually in the 80s F (27°C) at the canyon floor. Be prepared to share the trail. Bright Angel Campground is full, no advance reservations available.

November: A pleasant month to hike. Chance of precipitation increases, but still more dry than wet with temperatures often in the 70s F (21°C) at the bottom of the canyon. Cottonwood trees turn brilliant yellow along inner canyon stream corridors. Short-lived ice may cover roads and trails after an early winter storm passes over. Bright Angel Campground is full the first week of the month.

Options for hikers who are unable to obtain a backcountry permit in advance:

  • Get a permit at the park. A limited number of last minute walk-up permits are available for Corridor Campgrounds (Indian Garden, Bright Angel, and Cottonwood Campgrounds) at the Backcountry Information Center. These permits are issued in person only, are for one or two consecutive nights, and cannot be purchased more than one day prior to the start of a hike. Review information on our website (www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm) or contact us at (928) 638-7875 between 1 pm and 5 pm Monday through Friday (more info)
  • Day Hike: No permit needed to day hike. Weather and trail conditions are variable and can change dramatically from one hour to the next. Plan Ahead and Prepare. (more info)

North Rim (Kaibab Plateau / Highway 67 / North Kaibab Trailhead): The last day for most concessioner services and regularly scheduled ranger-led programs will be October 15, 2013. The National Park Service will continue its operations, including the Backcountry Permits Office, through October 31. November 1 through December 1 the North Rim will be open for day use only (no overnight parking) unless snow closes Highway 67 prior to that date. Starting November 1, camping will be available to those that walk or hike in (no car camping) at the North Rim Campground, provided a backcountry use permit has been obtained prior to arrival.

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