Summer 2015 Backpacking Season – date posted May 13, 2015

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 mid-May to Oct 31.

After heavy summer rain (July and August), expect impassable backcountry roads. If clear skies abound after the rain, then it is often just a matter of days until the sun dries everything out. Sometimes heavy rain can lead to flooding, which can cause erosion of the roadbed and can delay access.

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.

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, July, and August: Hiking outside the Corridor is not recommended due to extreme heat.

WARNING FOR JUNE, JULY, AND AUGUST: 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). Hikers entering the canyon in the middle of summer do so at their own risk. Keep hikes short and rest in the shade between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. Better yet, start hikes early and plan on reaching your destination or exiting the canyon no later than 10 am. Flash flood and lightning risks remain elevated until the end of the monsoon season, usually in early September. Hike Smart! Visit www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/hike-smart.htm for more info.

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 8 am 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 North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is open for the summer season from May 15 to October 31, 2015. Locations near the 8,000 foot level such as Pt. Sublime, high elevation access to Nankoweap, and the North Bass Trailhead may 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.

November 1 through December 1 the North Rim will be open for day use (no overnight parking) unless snow closes Highway 67 prior to that date. Visitors will continue to have access to front country access points such as Point Imperial and Bright Angel viewpoints and the North Kaibab Trailhead (overnight parking allowed with a backcountry permit). Remote backcountry access points such as Widforss Trailhead, Point Sublime, and North Bass will be accessible weather permitting and with a valid permit. Access to Cape Royal and Cape Final will be restricted. The North Rim campground will be closed to car camping but a few sites will remain available to backcountry travelers with a valid backcountry permit.

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