Feb 8, 2012 at 11:06 pm #1285411
Me and a friend have been planning a Grand Canyon Hike for 3 or 4 months now. The idea was to get permits to hike from one side to the other (North to South Rim). They told me not to submit my permit request until January 01… I sent mine out just a few days after January 01 and they told me my request had been denied due to so many other applicants in front of me… BOGUS!
Any way, im now in the market for a new adventure, and I was hoping I might get some good suggestions here. Im looking for somewhere beautiful to hike at the End of May. I was driving 20 hours to the Grand Canyon, so distance more than likely is not an issue.
anyone have any good suggestions for a good 2-3 day hike?
BenFeb 9, 2012 at 5:08 am #1836744
"Bogus"? LOL, You're kidding, right?
Their backcountry permit procedure is spelled out pretty clearly on the park website. You do need to follow it. Submit the permit request on the FIRST day to enter the lottery; requests received after the first day go the end of the line.
May R2R hike permits are the most requested (and denied) backcountry permit in the Grand Canyon. Even if you'd submitted the request on January 1st, you would still have needed some luck to get a permit. Once you missed the deadline, you essentially had zero chance.
End of May is already pretty hot in the Canyon. I'd go a little further north. Maybe Capital Reef.Feb 9, 2012 at 7:26 am #1836786
No im not kidding, I think it's bogus that there is one single day in an entire year that you can apply 5 months early for something and you still might not get in. Keep in mind I have been very excited about this trip, planning and buying gear for it just to have it pulled out from underneath me. I knew it was a "hot ticket item" but had no idea that my chances would be zero after Jan. 01. Ya I think Bogus pretty much sums up how I feel about the whole situation lol.Feb 9, 2012 at 8:28 am #1836819
So… you *knew* it was a really high-demand permit and that the lottery day was January 1st but didn't bother to send in your request until a few days later… and, now, you're ticked off because they didn't save a permit for you?
OK, I'm sorry, I'm sure I'm not making you feel any better. Just that I think your anger is misdirected, imo. If it's any consolation, even if you'd gotten the request in on time, your chances were probably 50/50 at best, significantly less if you had specific dates. There's only so much room in the corridor campgrounds and, trust me, *everybody's* excited about that trip.
And, for what it's worth, a corridor rim-to-rim is far from the best hike in the Canyon. You're in campgrounds with lots of other people, on trails with lots of other people *and* mules. Try something like Deer Creek or Thunder River in the fall, off the North Rim, or Boucher or New Hance off the South.Feb 9, 2012 at 8:47 am #1836827
The Grand Canyon is much like Yosemite – overcrowded as-is, and many more people try to go but don't receive permits.
Entering a permit lottery after the immediate start is a lost cause. I recall Whitney, Half Dome, and Yosemite Backcountry permits in addition to the Grand Canyon here.Feb 9, 2012 at 10:03 am #1836868
@jimmyjamLocale: Mid Atlantic
The R2R corridor trails are crowded with tourists on the south rim and they are literally covered in mule droppings. Take a hike down Hermit's or the Grand View- you'll get away from the crowds and they don't call it the Grand View Trail for nothing.Feb 9, 2012 at 10:37 am #1836883
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
I know it's frustrating, but there is something you can do about it, if you're willing to be a little flexible on dates.
From the NPS Grand Canyon website:
You can stop by the Backcountry Information Center at any time during open hours and request a waitlist number. This number is valid for the following morning and will be used to determine priority of service. At 8:00 a.m. Backcountry Information Center staff will call waitlist numbers. When your turn comes you can request a permit, exchange your number for a new waitlist number good for the following day, or simply ask questions. You may participate in the waitlist for as many consecutive days as is convenient.
My wife and I applied for corridor campgrounds over Spring Break, but (suprise! surprise!) we didn't get them. Since we had a week at the canyon, we decided to chance it using the waitlist system. We left on Friday as soon as we got off work, picked up my brother-in-law at the airport along the way, and drove through the night to get there Saturday a little after noon.
When we walked in to permit office, there were several sites still open that whole week, and we got incredibly lucky–two nights at Bright Angel for one trip and one night at Granite Rapids for another. Now, a lot of that had to do with luck, but we also beat the rush for the Spring Break crowd so there was much more open for the walk-in permits.
I also found the rangers to be far more helpful in person. The people we talked to told us what was still open, talked us through the options, and were really easy to work with. If I remember, the BIC does not take phone calls.
If I were you, I would go anyway (assuming you have a week or so to be there to give you time to work the waitlist system), study up on all the places you'd like to try, not just the corridor trails, and more than likely something will open up soon for a 2-3 day trip (maybe more).Feb 9, 2012 at 10:59 am #1836889
I was having a hard time with the permits last year so made other plans. I was happy I did. We covered some spectacular ground in Zion. We also planned to do Coyote Gulch but weather took a bad turn. I think there are loads of other good canyon options.Feb 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm #1836907
>> If I remember, the BIC does not take phone calls.
You can call them between 1-5PM, Monday thru Friday. But I generally have better luck with emails email@example.com.Feb 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm #1836931
[x] ignore test deleteFeb 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm #1836939
Sumi Wada – I hope I don't sound as ridiculous as your making me out to be.. I knew that it was a high demand trek, but I did not know to what extent. Obviously if I had known that you only stood a 50/50 chance to get a permit if you submitted it on JAN 01. I would not have then submitted it days later.. I thought that was a given, my apologies.
I figured that sense it was popular, only the early birds got in; that's why I applied 5 months in advance.. I did not fathom the possibility that you only had half a day out of a 365 day calendar to apply for a permit. Ill say it again in case you didn't hear me, that's bogus! Maybe you don't like the word bogus.. maybe im using it wrong.. I think its outrageous and ridiculous that I can't get a permit 5 months ahead of my trip, but I can walk up 2 or 3 days before hand and pic from their cancellations.
Maybe they should consider charging more for permit fees, maybe then people will be less inclined to book a trip and then not go. Sorry for the rant, it just bothers me when people get on someones thread and just tear it apart, and decline to add even one single tid bit of useful information. Thanks to everyone else who gave suggestions about hiking other trails on the canyon and especially to last post about other state parks in general.Feb 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm #1836943
>> Go ahead, visit the Grand Canyon, trust me, the view from the parking lot is as good as it gets.
LOL… well, I have to feel sorry for you because you did all that work and missed the point completely. Hiking in the GC isn't about seeing the Colorado River. That's for Las Vegas tourists who spend a couple of hundred bucks to have a helicopter touch down 200 miles downriver so they can say they had a champagne lunch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
The corridor is certainly reserved for people who are only interested in doing a R2R for its "bragging rights". You get the hike you deserve. ;)Feb 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm #1836949
>> decline to add even one single tid bit of useful information.
I wasn't kidding or being facetious about my recommendation to research Capitol Reef if late May was your only dates. OR to consider Deer Creek or Thunder River, off the North Rim, in the fall or New Hance or Boucher, off the South Rim, in the spring. I've hiked a lot of the trails in the GC and these are, in fact, my favorites.
I've taken quite a few Canyon first-timers on hikes below the rim and I honestly don't think that a R2R is all that it's cracked up to be. At best, it's a fun group hike, I guess. Boucher will knock your socks off, both in terms of challenging terrain and amazing views. And there's a reason why seasoned GC hikers return to Deer Creek and the Esplanade over and over but won't step foot on a corridor trail.
But if these suggestions weren't "useful" to you, I apologize.Feb 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm #1836958
"Go ahead, visit the Grand Canyon, trust me, the view from the parking lot is as good as it gets."
My wife and I did a 3-night loop starting at Hermit and ending with Bright Angel a couple years ago. The only parts that weren't absolutely wonderful were Indian Garden and the BA Trail. Visit the Grand Canyon, get down into it, just keep off the Corridor as much as you can. You won't regret it.Feb 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm #1836975
[x]Feb 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm #1837039
If you planned this for 3 to 4 months and are surprised by this, I think something else might be bogus.
I don't think fees serve as a deterrent, and they may be capped by NPS regulations.Feb 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm #1837050
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
It happens. Solo'ed it in March 2001, and went with a group March 2007, but faxing an app for March 2008 (height of American colleges Spring Break) early in the morning Nov 1, 2007, it was rejected as apparently after midnight = apparently a deluge hit them but what can you do? Should've gotten someone to fax it midnight Nova Scotia time. The person who used to do it for my backpacking group never had an issue but I struck out. Kind of the beginning of the end of our backpacking group …
I went to Big Sur (California) instead and thinking about it, will likely do future trips to the GC in Dec/Jan.Feb 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm #1837074
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Living in Alaska rules out certain things. Iceland is on our bucket list, but the time to go is exactly the time to be home hiking, building treehouses with the kids, and putting sockeyes and halibut into the freezer.
On the other hand, coming from a 0-15F winter (lots of January this year was -25F), we aim for shoulder season spots. Copper Canyon Mexico is 50-60F in December. Most people want Mexico to be 80F and go in the Spring. For us, 55F sounds like perfect hiking weather so we go when reservations are easy and trails are empty. Likewise on urban travel. Who goes to Paris in April? The locals are wearing 3 layers of sweaters, but we're in shorts and T-shirts.
For the GCNP: If you aim to go when the weather is at its best, you'll compete with everyone else. Do you expect to go to 14,000 and find it 75F? No. So accept that limitation at GCNP and you'll be rewarded with solitude and easier permitting. Think of it as snow-camping light. Very light. And safe. There are so many ways to warm yourself up and so few ways to cool yourself off, that the winter in a safer time to go if you have anything like the right gear.Feb 9, 2012 at 7:36 pm #1837139
>> For the GCNP: If you aim to go when the weather is at its best, you'll compete with everyone else.
Well, when you're talking about a R2R, it isn't exactly about the weather. It's about doing a R2R when the North Rim services are open, May 15 – Oct 15. That's the only time the TransCanyon shuttle runs and the NR lodge is open.
I'm not sure why late May is more popular than early October. October is one of the best hiking months for the Canyon.
Winter hikes from the South Rim are great but winter access for North Rim trails are problematic. They usually close the gate to the North Rim village area sometime in December. Even in late fall, it can be iffy. Last November, we hiked out a day early after watching the North Rim get snowed on for two days; we had a 1-1/2 hour drive on dirt forest roads from Monument Point in a rented Ford Escape, so I didn't want to take a chance.
@Roger, I don't particularly like the mules either and avoid BA Trail for that reason. But in 2010, they cut the mule traffic by about 50% after studying the damage they were doing to the trails. My son and I did a short Clear Creek hike that November and were pleasantly surprised; much less mule evidence.Feb 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm #1837228
I highly recommend a trip to Zion. The 47 mile traverse of the park was spectacular. Awesome dayhikes are abundant as well.
Capitol Reef is a great option, as is Bryce Canyon (Under the Rim Trail is a good time)Feb 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm #1838045
@artemisLocale: Great Plains
Add Grand Staircase/Escalante, the Needles District of Canyonlands, and the Cedar Mesa/Grand Gulch areas to your list of prospects, too. Remember, the National Parks aren't the only areas with excellent canyon hiking!
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