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Winter / Spring 2014 Backpacking Season – date posted Jan, 9, 2014

Posted at January 9th, 2014
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 closed until mid-May.

Be prepared for winter hiking and expect icy trail conditions January, February, and March! Plan accordingly and prepare for winter conditions. Some trails are more difficult than others to navigate in the winter. Access to all dirt backcountry roads to remote trailheads on both canyon rims will range from difficult to impossible depending on recent snow or rain and daytime high temperature. Changing conditions make it impossible to generalize about the condition of specific roads or trails. Hikers considering traveling dirt roads to remote trailheads should contact the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest at 928-643-7395, the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest on the South Rim at 928-635-4061, or the Backcountry Information Center for current conditions.

January and February: Permits for most areas are generally available and can be obtained in person. Upper portions of trails are snow packed and icy. Over-the-shoe traction devices are strongly recommended. Access to South Bass Trailhead may not be possible when snowpack exists, from late December through mid-March.

March: Bright Angel and Indian Garden Campgrounds are full the last three weeks; some availability between the 1st and 10th.

April: Spring is a delightful time of year for overnight hiking, and consequently most corridor and threshold use areas are at capacity.

May: Corridor campgrounds are full. Hiking outside the Corridor becomes inherently more risky, especially later in the month as temperatures start to climb above 100°F (38°C) at the Colorado River.

June: Submit a written permit request starting February 1st. Hiking outside the Corridor is not recommended due to extreme heat, average highs are over 100°F (38°C) at the Colorado River.

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
  • 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 North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is closed to vehicles for the winter season. The park’s group campsite and a yurt can be reserved throughout the winter months. You must obtain your backcountry permit prior to arrival. Backcountry permits for North Rim winter hikes can be obtained from the South Rim Backcountry Information Center, at Pipe Springs National Monument, or the BLM Interagency Visitor Center in St. George, Utah. The North Rim will open for the summer season mid-May 2014. Locations near the 8,000 foot level such as Pt. Sublime, high elevation access to Nankoweap, and the North Bass Trailhead will not be accessible until road beds have dried and downed trees have been removed, often in late May, but possibly as late as mid-June.

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