Critical Backcountry Updates: Including Trail Closures and Restrictions

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Park operation updates related to COVID-19 can be found on the Grand Canyon National Park Public Health Update webpage.

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Average temperatures, weather information and road conditions can be found on the Weather Conditions page.

Backcountry Status Updates (listed by date posted):

 
 
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Water Availability is Limited on Bright Angel Trail
Updated Aug 11, 2022

Drinking water at One-and-a-Half Mile Resthouse and Three-Mile Resthouse is OFF until further notice. Repairs are estimated to take several weeks and water will be off at a minimum through Tuesday, August 16.

Water is ON at Indian Garden day use area and campground.

What does this all mean? If you’re planning on hiking in the inner canyon (especially the Bright Angel Trail) in the next several days to weeks, be prepared to carry PLENTY of water and also carry a water treatment system to potentially filter creek water. Also, look for signs with the latest updates, posted at all corridor trailheads. For your safety please read them before you start your hike.

 

Drinking Water in the Cross-Canyon Corridor
updated Aug 11, 2022

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Due to pipeline breaks there is no drinking water at One-and-a-Half Mile Resthouse and Three-Mile Resthouse. Repairs are estimated to take several weeks and water will be off at a minimum through Tuesday, August 16. Day hikers and backpackers should be prepared to carry all drinking water or be able to treat creek water for drinking purposes.

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Grand Canyon's water supply comes from Roaring Springs, a natural spring located approximately 3,500 feet below the North Rim. Water is delivered via an aging pipeline that suffers multiple breaks a year. When the pipeline breaks, water stops flowing to the North and South Rims and sites along the way. Although large storage tanks provide ample water to rim locations, while the pipeline is being repaired water may or may not be available below the rim in the cross-canyon Corridor.

When hiking below the rim a method to treat water must ALWAYS be part of your hiking gear. Information on how to treat water at www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/safe-water.htm

The list below shows if water is on or off
(IF THE PIPELINE IS UNDERGOING REPAIRS WATER MAY BE OFF TEMPORARILY)

  • North Kaibab Trailhead: water ON
  • Supai Tunnel: water ON
  • Roaring Springs Day Use Area has no water
  • Manzanita Day Use Area: water ON
  • Cottonwood Campground: water ON
  • Phantom Ranch: water ON
  • Bright Angel Campground: water ON
  • Plateau Point: water ON
  • Indian Garden: water ON
  • Bright Angel Trail, Three-Mile Resthouse: water OFF
  • Bright Angel Trail, Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse: water OFF
  • Bright Angel Trailhead: water ON
  • South Kaibab Trailhead: water ON

Seasonal water stations are usually turned off for the winter sometime between Oct 10th and 30th dependent on location and associated temperatures.

Water available (year-round) on the South Rim at the Backcountry Information Center in the lobby. Water available (year-round) on the North Rim outside the Backcountry Information Center. Additional water bottle filling stations can be found on the Go "Green" and Refill Your Water Bottles web page.

Plan Ahead and Prepare: A backup method to treat water, should the pipeline break, must always be included as part of your hiking gear. Backcountry hikers should always carry extra water.

 

Road Conditions for Remote Trailheads
updated Jul 25, 2022

Dragon Fire Closures. The following North Rim areas of Grand Canyon National Park are closed to all visitor use:

  • the North Rim Tiyo Point Trail,
  • the Widforss Trail,
  • the Widforss Forest Trail,
  • the NG9 Outlet Canyon Use Area,
  • the NF9 Widforss Use Area,
  • and all NPS lands above the Coconino Sandstone between Dragon Creek and Transept Canyon that are south of the W-1 Point Sublime Road.

The closure will begin on July 25, 2022 and will extend to August 25, 2022, or as soon as the area is safe, whichever is first.

Dragon Fire info available at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8266/

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Road closures in Mangum Fire area. Monsoon rains in the Mangum Fire area caused flash flooding, resulting in three forest roads being washed out. Roads affected and associated closures are in effect for:

  • Forest Road 422A is washed out and impassable at Jacob Canyon.
  • Forest Road 461 is impassable just up canyon from the 22 junction – closed at east gate on FR 461 and south gate on FR 462.

For more information visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/kaibab/alerts-notices/?aid=59436 or https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd852074.pdf

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

Other considerations for visitors travelling on remote backcountry roads include high clearance, such as may be needed on Forest Road 328 to South Bass Trailhead (limestone ledges) and on the final approach to Toroweap overlook (sandstone knobs and ledges).

Finally, consider elevation of the road that you will be travelling on, especially during the winter months. Roads in the 6,500 to 8,000 foot range may be impassable due to a snowpack, where lower elevations roads (below 6,000 feet) will see deteriorated road conditions due to rain.

Always check road conditions with the Backcountry Information Center before heading out to remote trailheads, tell someone where you are going and when you will be back, and be adaptable and prepared for the worst. High clearance, four-wheel drive is usually recommended for roads to remote trailheads.

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It is not uncommon for trees to fall and block access to remote trailheads. When you encounter a road blocked by fallen trees, what should you do?

  • Report the location and diameter of the tree to Grand Canyon park dispatch (928-638-7805) as soon as possible. The park will assign staff to clear the road.
  • If an appropriate (not blocking the road and not damaging vegetation) place to park is available, park your vehicle and continue to the trailhead on foot.
  • Do not drive off-road attempting to bypass the obstacle, doing so can cause resource damage.
 

Report from the North Rim
updated Jul 25, 2022

Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim is open for the 2022 season.

The last day of the 2022 season for most commercial services will be October 15, 2022.

The National Park Service will continue its operations including the Backcountry Information Office through October 31. Once Highway 67 is closed for the season, the North Rim is only accessible to the public via non-motorized travel.

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Dragon Fire Closures. The following areas of Grand Canyon National Park are closed to all visitor use:

  • the North Rim Tiyo Point Trail,
  • the Widforss Trail,
  • the Widforss Forest Trail,
  • the NG9 Outlet Canyon Use Area,
  • the NF9 Widforss Use Area,
  • and all NPS lands above the Coconino Sandstone between Dragon Creek and Transept Canyon that are south of the W-1 Point Sublime Road.

The closure will begin on July 25, 2022 and will extend to August 25, 2022, or as soon as the area is safe, whichever is first.

Dragon Fire info available at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8266/

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Road closures in Mangum Fire area. Monsoon rains in the Mangum Fire area caused flash flooding, resulting in three forest roads being washed out. Roads affected and associated closures are in effect for:

  • Forest Road 422A is washed out and impassable at Jacob Canyon.
  • Forest Road 461 is impassable just up canyon from the 22 junction – closed at east gate on FR 461 and south gate on FR 462.

For more information visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/kaibab/alerts-notices/?aid=59436 or https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd852074.pdf

 
Tuweep Road August 2012
Tuweep Road August 2012

Tuweep Update
updated Jun 27, 2022

Effective July 21, 2022, visitors to the Tuweep area of Grand Canyon National Park, including all park areas within Toroweap Valley and on the Kanab Plateau, must have a valid park entrance pass and either a day-use ticket or a backcountry permit. Increasing popularity of the Tuweep area has led to excessive day use for vehicles and visitation, resulting in crowding and congestion along the roads and parking lot, organized groups traveling in vehicle convoys, vehicles exceeding noise limits, and the degradation of natural and cultural resources. As a result, Grand Canyon National Park is implementing a $2 ticket fee per vehicle for day-use visitors to get to Tuweep. Visitors with a backcountry permit for overnight camping in the Tuweep area do not need to make a day-use reservation for their permit date(s).

A BACKCOUNTRY PERMIT IS REQUIRED FOR ALL CAMPERS WHO WISH TO STAY AT TUWEEP CAMPGROUND. Permit requests can be made on the first of the month four months prior to the proposed start date through the park's backcountry reservation system. The cost for a Tuweep backcountry permit is a non-refundable charge of $10 per permit plus $8 per group per night. Visitors with a backcountry permit for overnight camping in the Tuweep area do not need to make a day-use reservation for their permit date(s).

Tuweep is at High Clearance REQUIRED, its usual condition. Please see photo for any clearance concerns.

There is a HIGH likelihood for multiple flat tires from sharp rocks. Travel SLOW to mitigate tire damage. Carry multiple spare tires and/or a vehicle air compressor and tire plugs. When available, a tow truck runs $1,000-$2,000+.

When possible, during summer monsoon season travel during the morning hours since storms cycle through in the afternoon and evening.

Be prepared to spend the night in your vehicle in the event you become stuck. Carry sleeping bags, food, and extra water.

Travelers should carry:

  • Extra water, food, and gasoline;
  • Good tires, including at least one usable spare;
  • Parts, tools, and knowledge to handle vehicle and tire repairs including tire plugs and a portable air compressor.

For Tuweeep info visit www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/tuweep.htm

Reservations to enter the Tuweep area will go on sale through Recreation.gov starting July 5, 2022 at https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10089462.

Park entrance pass info at www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/fees.htm

 

Summer Heat Warning
updated Jun 27, 2022

The National Park Service urges SPECIAL CAUTION for all hikers during the summer months. Individual days can reach a high of 115°F (46°C) or higher. These temperatures are beyond unpleasant or uncomfortable-they are, in fact, dangerous and if you fail to factor the heat into your plans the results could be tragic.

It's hot down there! Manage the heat for a safe hike.

  • get wet
  • take breaks in the shade
  • hike early and/or late
  • eat real foods and foods with high salt content (salt pills aren't advised, instead have salty foods like chips or ramen noodle soup)
  • add an electrolyte mix to your water
  • visit Summer Hiking - Hike Smart for more info


Phantom Ranch weather at https://www.nws.noaa.gov/wtf/MapClick.php?site=fgz&textField1=36.1050&textField2=-112.0940&lg=ep

Grand Canyon National Park Recreational Forecast at https://www.weather.gov/fgz/GrandCanyonRecreationalForecast

 

Be Aware of Lightning Danger
updated Jun 27, 2022

Summer storms in the southwest are often accompanied by potentially deadly lightning. Visitors walking and hiking in the park are reminded that if they can hear thunder, they should consider ending outdoor activities. If the sound of thunder follows a lightning flash within 30 seconds, seek shelter inside a building or vehicle. If this is not possible, move well away from high points such as ridges and the edge of the canyon. Do not seek shelter beneath tall trees.

More information can be found on the Lightning Danger web page (www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/lightning-danger.htm).

 

Trails Update
updated Jun 27, 2022

Check in with the Backcountry Information Center for the latest trail conditions prior to starting your hike. For information about vehicle access to remote trailheads, contact the Backcountry Information Center.

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Note: Although we haven't had any reports of trips turning back due to new obstacles on Grandview Trail or Boucher Trail, we wanted to pass this information along so it does not take you by surprise.

Grandview Trail: The Grandview Trail has several major trail washouts from the heavy summer rains of 2021. They occur in the traverse section above Horseshoe Mesa. Page Spring trail is also eroded with loose footing and exposure to steep drop-offs. Use caution. Cottonwood Creek has major blowouts in the bed of the creek, wiping out most of the campsites.

Boucher Trail: Boucher trail has a new rockslide/washout in the Supai (above White’s Butte). A football field size worth of debris obscures multiple switchbacks making route finding necessary. Use caution.

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Ribbon Falls Bridge has been removed due to damage. Until the bridge is replaced, visitors will be asked to stay on the North Kaibab Trail and travel safely in this area. The bridge was closed for over two years due to its deteriorated state. Recently, part of the bridge collapsed into Bright Angel Creek. The park intends to replace the bridge as quickly as possible and is actively seeking funding opportunities so that Ribbon Falls can be safely accessed.

The Cave of the Domes is closed to protect roosting bats and other sensitive cave resources. Bats are particularly sensitive to human disturbance and will abandon roost sites. As a reminder all caves in Grand Canyon National Park are closed to protect sensitive resources.

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

Organized Group Rim-to-Rim and Extended Day Hike/Run: Any organized, non-commercial group of 12-30 participants, or not-for-profit group conducting rim-to-rim, rim-to-rim-to-rim, rim-to-river-to-rim, and/or extended day hikes in the inner canyon must obtain a Special Use Permit (SUP). The inner canyon is defined as the area below the Tonto Platform from the South Rim and below Manzanita Resthouse from the North Rim. Groups may not break into smaller groups on different permits to accommodate group size. Commercial operations are not authorized under this SUP. For more information visit www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/sup.htm

 

South Kaibab Trailhead Access
updated Jun 27, 2022

NOTE: There is ***NO PARKING ALLOWED*** at the South Kaibab Trailhead. Hikers must park their vehicles elsewhere. DO NOT PARK at the South Kaibab trailhead. If you drive beyond the "Do Not Enter" signs, and park at the trailhead, you WILL get a ticket.

You can either walk to the South Kaibab Trailhead or take a park shuttle bus. Two park bus routes stop at the trailhead.

The Hikers' Express bus starts at the Bright Angel Lodge, then travels to the Backcountry Office, the Visitor Center, and the South Kaibab trailhead. The bus runs daily and operates at the following times:

  • June, July, August: 4 am, 5 am, 6 am
  • September: 5 am, 6 am, 7 am
  • October: 6 am, 7 am, 8 am

The Kaibab Rim Route (Orange Route) eastbound operates daily. Hikers can park at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and access the South Kaibab Trailhead via the Kaibab Rim Route (Orange Route).

Visit the Shuttle Buses page for schedules and more info.

 

Backcountry Status
updated Jun 27, 2022

Up-to-date information, including a full list of open and closed areas, available at: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/grand-canyon-national-park-public-health-update.htm.

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The National Park Service has implemented modifications to operations at Phantom Ranch through the year 2022. The Phantom Ranch Wastewater Treatment Plant (PRWWTP), located at the bottom of Grand Canyon, requires critical rehabilitation due to deferred maintenance and increased visitation levels. In order to reduce water and wastewater demands to the PRWWTP, the National Park Service has limited overnight use and existing visitor facilities at Phantom Ranch. This project is anticipated to last approximately 18-24 months. At Bright Angel Campground, site reservations have been decreased by 50% with a reduction in flush toilet restrooms for both day and overnight users. Phantom Ranch has closed all hiker dormitories and suspended all guest showers. All visitors are encouraged to use the existing compost toilets in the inner canyon corridor, including at Phantom Ranch. Day hikers to the inner canyon are reminded to plan ahead to ensure they can properly contain and dispose of all human waste during their hike. More information at https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/news/grca-phantom-ranch-opps-mod-06-30-2020.htm

 

Hermit Trailhead Access
updated Jun 27, 2022

From Mar 1 to Nov 30, Hermit Road is closed to private vehicles. A numerical code is required to open the gate giving access to Hermit Road. Hikers with a valid backcountry permit who are beginning or ending their hike via the Hermit Trail will be permitted to park at the Hermit trailhead. The Backcountry Information Center will provide the gate access code when the backcountry permit is issued.

The Hermit Road shuttle between South Rim Village and Hermit Rest and the Hermit trailhead is operational Mar 1 to Nov 30. The Hermit Road Shuttle is free. Visit the Shuttle Buses page for schedules and more info.

Weather dependent, Hermit Road is open to all private vehicles Dec 1 to Feb 28. Be aware that in wintertime inclement weather can cause Hermit Road to close with little notice as storms move through the area. Always check with the Backcountry Information Center regarding the wintertime status of Hermit Road or call 928-638-7496 for updated road conditions.

 

Drinking Water outside the Cross-Canyon Corridor
updated Jun 27, 2022

Hikers should make every effort to obtain recent confirmation of water availability and become familiar with routes to the river before starting any hike. Contact the Backcountry Information Center for recent water reports.

Water available (year-round) on the South Rim at the Backcountry Information Center and at Hermits Rest (near the other public amenities). Water available (year-round) on the North Rim outside the Backcountry Information Center.

Additional water bottle filling stations can be found on the Go "Green" and Refill Your Water Bottles web page.

 

Backcountry Management Plan
date posted Mar 11, 2016

The National Park Service (NPS) is working on revisions to Grand Canyon National Park’s Backcountry Management Plan (BMP).

The purpose of the BMP is to establish an up-to-date plan that addresses contemporary backcountry issues and provides an adaptable framework and continues to allow the public to experience and preserve Grand Canyon’s unique backcountry and wilderness. Grand Canyon’s existing BMP was completed in 1988 and requires revisions to comply with current NPS laws and policies and the park’s 1995 General Management Plan. The park’s backcountry encompasses over 1.1 million acres, most of which are proposed for wilderness designation.

Learn more about this planning effort at parkplanning.nps.gov/grcabmp

 

Public Health Alert - Rabies
date posted Oct 17, 2014

October 2014: A bat removed from an area along the Colorado River within Grand Canyon National Park tested positive for rabies. All visitors to Grand Canyon, including those in the backcountry and on the Colorado River, are reminded to be aware of their surroundings and be alert to potential interactions with bats or other wild animals. When camping in the backcountry and along the river consider using a tent while sleeping to prevent contact with bats or other wildlife. As a precautionary measure, anyone who comes into contact with a bat should notify a park employee and see a healthcare provider as soon as possible. (more info)

July 2014 a bat captured at Tusayan Ruin/Museum on the South Rim tested positive for rabies. A second bat found dead on the North Kaibab Trail a few days later also tested positive for rabies. (more info)

Bats at Grand Canyon (park webpage)

Additional information about bats and rabies can be found at www.cdc.gov/rabies/exposure/animals/bats.html

A fox exhibiting abnormal behavior was euthanized in November 2011 near Phantom Ranch along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. Earlier that month, another fox collected near Phantom Ranch tested positive for rabies.

Rabies is considered a natural wildlife disease. To reduce your risk of injury or illness from an animal encounter (fox, bat, elk, mountain lion, squirrel) please follow these simple guidelines:

  • educate yourself and your children about proper behavior around animals, especially concerning to animals common to the area you will be visiting
  • don't touch, pick-up, or approach wild animals
  • stay together as a group
  • keep food appropriately stored at all times
  • never feed wildlife
  • wild animals approaching humans is not normal - be aware of your surroundings and keep your distance
  • consider sleeping inside a tent
  • if you see sick or erratic behaving wildlife notify a park employee or call the park's 24-hour emergency communications center at 928-638-7805
 
 

How to contact the Backcountry Information Center:

The South Rim Backcountry Information Center is open daily from 8 am to noon and 1-5 pm Mountain Standard Time. The North Rim Backcountry Information Center is open daily mid-May to October 31 from 8 am to noon and 1-5 pm Mountain Standard Time.

Backcountry Information Center staff answer information telephone inquiries at 928-638-7875 between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday, except on federal holidays. This telephone number is for information only.

Email the Backcountry Information Center

FAX number for permits is 928-638-2125
you can send a fax 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year - HOWEVER the first day of every month we receive many faxes and the number may be busy

Mailing address is:
Grand Canyon National Park
Permits Office
1824 S. Thomson St., Suite 201
Flagstaff AZ, 86001

Backcountry Permit Request Form (PDF file) NOTE: This is a printable form only. You must print the form, fill it out, and then fax/mail it directly to the Backcountry Information Center.

PDF Form Issues? If you are using a web browser to view and use our PDF forms, you may experience issues where the PDF does not function correctly. Some web browsers do not automatically open PDFs using the Acrobat Reader application. Using a different PDF viewer in a web browser can cause the form to malfunction.To fix issues with our PDF forms you have two options. 1. You can select the Acrobat Reader plug-in for your browser's default application for viewing PDFs. Or 2. You can right click and save the PDF document to your desktop and then open it with the Adobe Reader application. Get the newest version of the free Adobe Reader.

Trip Planner (2mb PDF file): The information in this newspaper can assist you in obtaining a backcountry use permit.

Video: Hiking Grand Canyon, Prepare for Backpacking. This video is designed to help you plan for and enjoy your hike into the canyon's harsh, yet fragile, environment.

Video: Leave No Trace. All Grand Canyon backcountry users are asked to follow Leave No Trace principles. The goal is to have minimum human impact on the canyon as a result of your trip.

Hike Smart: Be sure and listen to the Hike Smart Podcasts! (transcripts available)

The Grand Canyon Conservancy sells maps and guides on hiking in Grand Canyon National Park.

 
 

Last updated: August 11, 2022

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