Park operation updates related to COVID-19 can be found on the Grand Canyon National Park Public Health Update webpage.
Average temperatures, weather information and road conditions can be found on the Weather Conditions page.
Backcountry Status Updates (listed by date posted):
(Confused about RSS and how to use it? Visit the Grand Canyon RSS Information page.)
Drinking Water in the Cross-Canyon Corridor
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. Please remember, when hiking below the rim a method to treat water must ALWAYS be part of your hiking gear.
The list below shows if water is on or off
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.
Summer Heat Warning
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.
Grand Canyon National Park Recreational Forecast at https://www.weather.gov/fgz/GrandCanyonRecreationalForecast
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.
The South Rim Backcountry Information Center has reopened to the public. A take-a-number ticket system is being used to limit the number of visitors allowed inside the lobby area. The ticket number dispenser is located outside the front door of the Backcountry Information Center. Only visitors currently being assisted by a Ranger will be allowed inside. All visitors must wear a face mask/covering.
Grand Canyon National Park is accepting requests for backcountry permits. 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. Information regarding how to request a backcountry permit can be found at https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry-permit.htm
The National Park Service has implemented modifications to operations at Phantom Ranch through the year 2021. 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
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.
The Silver Bridge has reopened for hiker use.
GRCA trails staff will close the Cedar Ridge Compost Toilet Facility on the South Kaibab Trail for much needed maintenance, evacuation, and rehabilitation between Sunday April 25 and Monday May 10. The tanks must be completely evacuated to perform the necessary work. If you plan on hiking the South Kaibab trail, know that you should "Go before you go". The toilets at the trailhead will be unaffected.
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.
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, noncommercial, group conducting rim-to-rim and extended day hiking and running, including rim-to-river-to-rim, and rim-to-rim-to-rim in the inner canyon is required to obtain a Special Use Permit from Grand Canyon National Park. The inner canyon is defined as the area below the Tonto Platform (Tipoff and Indian Garden) from the South Rim and below Manzanita Resthouse (Pumphouse Residence) from the North Rim. Any group, regardless of size, which has advertised to the general public, required individuals to sign up prior to participation, or that has an organizer who has been compensated for their services (including subsidized participation in the activity), is required to operate under a Special Use Permit. For more information visit www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/sup.htm
Report from the North Rim
Grand Canyon National Park's North Rim will reopen for the 2021 season on May 15, 2021. The North Rim Backcountry Information Center will open at 8 am MST on May 15, 2021.
The National Park Service will continue its North Rim operations including the Backcountry Information Center and campground 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.
South Kaibab Trailhead Access
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.
MAY, Hikers' Express buses run daily from the Backcountry Information Center to the South Kaibab Trailhead at 5, 6, and 7 am MST each morning.
JUNE, JULY, AUGUST, Hikers' Express buses run daily from the Backcountry Information Center to the South Kaibab Trailhead at 4, 5, 6 am MST each morning.
Hiker's Express buses go directly from the Backcountry Information Center to the South Kaibab Trailhead and make no other stops. Shuttle bus capacity is limited to 20 passengers and face masks/coverings are required. Prior to entry passengers must have their own face mask/covering. Visit the Shuttle Buses page page for more info.
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.
Hermit Trailhead Access
The Hermits Rest Route (Red Route) is running. Visitors wishing to access the Hermit Road Route need to park in a designated parking space near the Hermit Road. This includes the Village Loop roadside parking and the Backcountry Information Center parking lot. Shuttle bus capacity is limited to 20 passengers and face masks/coverings are required. Prior to entry passengers must have their own face mask/covering. Visit the Shuttle Buses page for schedules and more info.
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.
Road Conditions for Remote Trailheads
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.
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?
Drinking Water outside the Cross-Canyon Corridor
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.
Be Aware of Lightning Danger
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).
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.
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:
For Tuweeep info visit www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/tuweep.htm
Backcountry Management Plan
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
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:
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
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)
Last updated: May 10, 2021