Backcountry Trails and Use Areas

A permit is required to camp in a location other than a developed campground on the North and South Rims. Visit the Backcountry Permit page to learn how to obtain a permit. Also, read the Backcountry Food Storage and Safe Drinking Water guidelines when planning a backcountry trip.

Hike Smart at Grand Canyon

For a safe and enjoyable hike prepare before you arrive.


Introduction to Backcountry Hiking Brochure

This brochure is for day and overnight inner canyon hikers. It has information about hiking the Bright Angel, South Kaibab, and North Kaibab trails, as well as permit, planning, Leave No Trace, and Hike Smart information. It is distributed at park visitor centers and backcountry information centers. The web version of this publication (available below) is formatted to print on standard 8.5 x 11 letter-sized paper.

corridor campground
campground in the corridor

Corridor Use Areas

Hiking the Corridor? Be sure to visit the Trail Courtesy Practices That Leave No Trace webpage.

There are three campgrounds located along the Corridor Trails: Havasupai Gardens (formerly known as Indian Garden Campground)(CIG), Bright Angel Campground (CBG), and Cottonwood Campground (CCG). You may spend up to two nights (consecutive or non-consecutive) per campground per hike. One exception is made to this rule: from November 15 - February 28, up to four nights per campground per hike is allowed. To camp in one of these campgrounds you must obtain a backcountry permit.

Every campsite at Havasupai Gardens, Bright Angel, and Cottonwood Campgrounds has a picnic table, pack pole, and metal food storage can. All food, toiletries, and plastics must be placed inside the food storage can.

Havasupai Gardens Campground (CIG), located along the Bright Angel Trail, is a beautiful riparian area filled with cottonwood trees. A small creek passes through on its way to the Colorado River. Havasupai Gardens is 4.8 miles below the South Rim. Havasupai Gardens has a ranger station, emergency phone, year-round potable water, and toilets. Mule trains stop to rest on their way to Phantom Ranch. Day hike destinations include Plateau Point (with panoramic views of the Colorado River). (campground photos)

Bright Angel Campground (CBG) is at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, 9.5 miles from the South Rim and 14 miles from the North Rim. The campground is 1/2 mile north of the Colorado River, and sits along Bright Angel Creek. The campground is less than 1/2 mile from Phantom Ranch. The area is characterized by the river delta where Bright Angel Creek meets the Colorado River. There is a ranger station, emergency phone, year-round potable water, and toilets. To reach this campground you can travel the South Kaibab Trail (and cross the black bridge) or the Bright Angel Trail (and cross the silver bridge) from the South Rim, or travel the North Kaibab Trail from the North Rim. Cottonwood trees shade Bright Angel Campground and the creek is a wonderful place to cool off. Deer, ringtail cats, gray foxes, and squirrels are often seen. Popular activities include relaxing, wading in Bright Angel Creek, stargazing, fishing (license required), and day hiking. Day hike destinations include the River Trail and Phantom Overlook. Seasonal ranger programs are offered. Snack items and meals are available for purchase at Phantom Ranch Lodge (meals must be reserved in advance 303-297-2757). (campground photos)

Cottonwood Campground (CCG) is a small campground 6.8 miles below the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on the North Kaibab Trail. Bright Angel Creek nearby offers a cool and refreshing place to get wet. Seasonally (mid-May to mid-Oct) potable drinking water is available at the campground. During other times of the year you should be prepared to filter/treat water obtained from the creek. There are deer, ringtail cats, and squirrels in the area. Cottonwood has an emergency phone and toilets. Day hike destinations include Roaring Springs, Ribbon Falls, and Manzanita Canyon. (campground photos)


Grand Canyon Backcountry Use Areas Map

map of Grand Canyon backcountry use areas, see link below for a poster-size topographic use area map

Poster-size map of Grand Canyon use areas (7mb PDF). This pdf shows Grand Canyon backcountry use areas overlayed on a topographic map.


Use Areas

The Grand Canyon backcountry is divided into use areas. Each use area has an overnight capacity based upon the size of the area, the number of suitable and available campsites, its ecological sensitivity, its management zoning, and its use history. Use areas range in size from several hundred acres to several thousand acres. To camp in a backcountry use area you must obtain a backcountry permit. The table below lists the more popular use areas only. For additional areas not listed, contact the Backcountry Information Center.

Code Use Area Name Mgmt. Zone Camping Type
AH9 Vishnu Wild At Large Camping
AJ9 Cheyava Wild At Large Camping
AK9 Clear Creek Threshold At Large Camping
AL9 Greenland Springs Wild At Large Camping
AP9 Phantom Creek Wild At Large Camping
AQ9 Trinity Creek Wild At Large Camping
AR9 Scorpion Ridge Wild At Large Camping
BE9 Hance Creek Primitive At Large Camping
BF5 Horseshoe Mesa Threshold Designated Sites
BG9 Cottonwood Creek Primitive At Large Camping
BH9 Grapevine Primitive At Large Camping
BJ9 Cremation Primitive At Large Camping
BL4 Horn Creek Threshold Designated Sites
BL5 Salt Creek Threshold Designated Sites
BL6 Cedar Spring Threshold Designated Sites
BL7 Monument Creek Threshold Designated Sites
BL8 Granite Rapids Threshold Designated Sites
BM7 Hermit Creek Threshold Designated Sites
BM8 Hermit Rapids Threshold Designated Sites
BN9 Boucher Primitive At Large Camping
CBG Bright Angel Corridor Campground
CCG Cottonwood Corridor Campground
CIG Havasupai Gardens Corridor Campground
NA0 Walhalla Plateau Primitive At Large Camping
NB9 Thompson Canyon Wild At Large Camping
NC9 Ken Patrick Primitive At Large Camping
ND9 Robbers Roost Primitive At Large Camping
NF9 Widforss Threshold At Large Camping
NG9 Outlet Primitive At Large Camping
NH1 Point Sublime Threshold Designated Sites
NJ0 Swamp Ridge Primitive At Large Camping
SC9 Eremita Mesa Threshold At Large Camping

Corridor Zone Recommended for hikers without previous experience at Grand Canyon. Maintained trails. Purified water stations. Paved roads to trailheads. Toilets, signs, emergency phones, and ranger stations. Use of private livestock (horses and mules only) allowed only when specified on permit.

Threshold Zone Recommended for experienced Grand Canyon hikers. Non-maintained trails. Scarce water sources. Dirt roads to trailheads. Pit toilets. Use of private livestock (horses and mules only) allowed with permit only on Whitmore Trail and on designated roads and trails on the rim.

Primitive Zone** Recommended for highly experienced Grand Canyon hikers with proven route-finding ability. Non-maintained trails and routes. 4-wheel-drive roads to trailheads. Occasional signs. No other developments. Use of private livestock (horses and mules only) allowed with permit only on the Ken Patrick Trail to Uncle Jim Trail to Uncle Jim Point and on designated roads on the rim.

Wild Zone** Recommended for highly experienced Grand Canyon hikers with extensive route finding ability. Indistinct to non-existent routes require advanced route finding ability. Water sources scarce to non-existent. No other development. Use of private livestock is not allowed.

** Primitive and Wild Zones are not recommended for use during summer months due to extreme high temperatures and the lack of reliable water sources.

Hiker on a dusty trail.

Hike Smart Podcast 03 (05m:31s) Heading Down the Trail
You know, it's all about planning... Before we start down the trail, there are a few to consider. First, are you in good physical condition? If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before visiting. Make sure you are healthy enough to hike steep and difficult trails. Listen


Sunrise and Sunset Times

(all times in Mountain Standard Time)

Sunrise Sunset
Jan 15 7:38 am 5:37 pm
Feb 15 7:15 am 6:09 pm
Mar 15 6:39 am 6:35 pm
Apr 15 5:55 am 7:01 pm
May 15 5:22 am 7:27 pm
Jun 15 5:11 am 7:46 pm
Jul 15 5:23 am 7:45 pm
Aug 15 5:46 am 7:18 pm
Sep 15 6:11 am 6:36 pm
Oct 15 6:35 am 5:53 pm
Nov 15 7:05 am 5:21 pm
Dec 15 7:32 am 5:15 pm

Tonto Trail Distances

Tonto Trail: This trail crosses the Tonto Platform approximately 3900 ft (1200 m) below the South Rim, intersecting both the Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails.

For a table showing distances along the Tonto Trail view the following PDF file: Tonto Trail Distances.

Backcountry Use Statistics

Backcountry use statistics (from overnight backcountry permits). The statistics include:

  • yearly statistics
  • permittee breakdown by country and US state
  • use trends, corridor and non-corridor
  • use area details

Last updated: April 25, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023



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