Oct 5, 2009 at 12:20 pm #1239922
I just found out I can make a detour to both Zion and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon on my Thanksgiving Holiday. I'll be in Zion on November 22nd and the GC on the 23rd. Will be car camping a night in each park and will have basically half a day to explore each spot. Can anyone recommend epic day hikes for each area? Plus info on expected weather (cold and variable?) and any advice on the car campgrounds in the area would be great.
Thanks, NathanOct 5, 2009 at 12:29 pm #1533169
Art …BPL Member
Angel's Landing is the classic hike if you have little time. 2 hours or so. Great views, great exposure for non climbers, great up hill cardio workout.Oct 5, 2009 at 1:02 pm #1533182
b sBPL Member
Zion NP car campground is first-come first-served and fills up early during busy times. You might be ok in November. Don't worry if it's full though. You can spend the day in the park and then camp at the overflow primitive campground (no water or bathrooms) a few miles outside of the south entrance. That campground isn't really advertised anywhere but that's where they sent me when it was full last year. The good news is that it is free – the bad news is that you have to listen to traffic all night.
A through hike of the Narrows would be an epic day hike but it might be a little chilly that time of year. And you might be short on daylight. Enjoy.Oct 5, 2009 at 1:13 pm #1533186
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
Yep, the "epic" day hike that fits most people's needs would be the Narrows top to bottom in a day. Arrange a shuttle beforehand! There are companies that do this for about $30 per person. Other "epic" hikes in zion are generally canyoneering slots. They are amazing. Otherwise, Angel's Landing is short, crowded and awesome. The Subway is "epic" and requires only handlines to downclimb. This is a good time of year for it. You probably won't get a permit for the whole thing though. If you want to stay on trail but get off the beaten track, Kolob Canyon and Hop Valley are amazing.
Do you have a good reason to go to the South Rim? The North Rim is a whole lot closer to Zion, and I prefer it. The road should still be open but will be closing shortly. Or if you are adventurous and the roads are dry and the weather good, consider driving out one of the dirt roads on the North Rim. Or go to Toroweap (high clearance required) which is the bees knees.Oct 5, 2009 at 1:38 pm #1533196
Greg MihalikBPL Member
"A through hike of the Narrows would be an epic day hike but it might be a little chilly that time of year."
I believe the shuttle ends around the first week of October. I don't know if that is when the permitting ends as well. If not, you can probably find someone to get you up there.
Unless you're a regular cold water swimmer, a wetsuit bottom and neoprene socks will make the trip a lot more fun.Oct 5, 2009 at 4:04 pm #1533257
Why am I going to the South Rim?
Having never been to the Grand Canyon I don't have a preference for either side, other than the North Rim I'm assuming is less crowded and less tourist trappy. I'm just not sure if weather will permit the road to stay open to the North Rim. Plus, even though the North side is closer to Zion I'm continuing on to the Phoenix area, so dropping by the South Rim isn't out of the way for me. I guess I'll just keep an eye on the weather and hit the North Rim if the Highway is snow free.Oct 5, 2009 at 4:26 pm #1533272
Greg MihalikBPL Member
From the NPS web site –
"North Rim Lodging and camping along with all other visitor services and facilities are only open from mid-May to mid-October. Reservations are strongly recommended. Additional facilities are available in the surrounding Kaibab National Forest, the Kaibab Lodge area, and Jacob Lake.
During winter months, the road to the North Rim, Highway 67, is often closed due to snow. After the close of visitor facilities in mid-October, there may be a period when the North Rim is open for day use only. (before the snow comes) During this time there are no services or overnight facilities available inside the park. The road from Jacob Lake to the North Rim (Highway 67) is subject to closure due to snow with little or no notice during this interval and then remains closed until mid-May."
[Emphasis added.]Oct 5, 2009 at 4:49 pm #1533282
Thanks for the info Greg, I saw that warning about snow on the website earlier today. So South Rim it is. So what should I do with a day there? Bungee jump into the abyss, lose ten pounds so I can ride a mule (200 lbs clothed limit, really?), or go on a sweet day hike recommended by a BPL member?Oct 5, 2009 at 4:59 pm #1533284
Art …BPL Member
Never been to the Grand Canyon?
Everyone should hike to the bottom at least once.
South Rim to Phantom Ranch round trip is 17-19 miles depending on Bright Angel or South Kabob trails.
9 hours (+- 2 depending on your conditioning).
October is one of the best months for this.Oct 6, 2009 at 7:37 am #1533477
Joe GeibBPL Member
@joegeibLocale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
I just got back from Zion. We did some Narrows, and other hikes. I didn't have time (nor guts) to do Angel's Landing. Hikes I wish I could have had more time to do out there: Observation Pt (opposite Angel's, 8mi RT), and East Rim (10 mi thru, goes along top of canyon, drops into some narrow canyons (requires shuttle)). I think Kolob is cool too, but may be closed due to snow.Oct 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm #1535102
@davecLocale: The West Slope
You're going to both during the best time of year.
I'd call Zion Adventures about a Narrows shuttle. They might run a one of if you're whiling to pay. Start eary, bring neoprene socks and a warm coat in a dry bag, and a headlamp.
Failing that, I'd do an out and back from Weeping Rock up around the head of Hidden Canyon out to the overlook of the Great White Throne. You won't see too many people beyond Echo Canyon.
If you have a bit of climbing experience do The Subway. Bring a farmer john wetsuit, neo socks, and 60 feet of rope. No harness needed for the strong and fearless. Hitch hiking isn't hard to do up to the upper trailhead. Get a permit as early as possible the day before.
Or, if you're adventurous, have money, and are not afraid of heights, hire Zion Adventure Co. to take you canyoneering. Call and ask if Tom Jones is available.
For the Grand Canyon, it depends on fitness. The best dayhike on the south rim is down New Hance and back up Grandview, but that's a tough 18 miles and a dayhike for marathon fitness or better only. Second best is to take the shuttle over to the South Kaibab, take it down to the Tonto trail, across to the Bright Angel, and back up the BA. Go out to Powell Point while you're there. I actually think this is cooler than going to the river and back.
Free car camping at both places:
Park in the Coal Creek wash TH on the way into Zion, between Virgin and Rockville.
Right as you're leaving Tusayan you'll see a forest road going west (right). Drive it for a few miles, pull off, camp.
Enjoy.Oct 11, 2009 at 10:06 pm #1535455
Steven ThompsonBPL Member
Grand Canyon "epic" day hikes. Since you've never been there before, if you are in excellent shape and have 8-10 hours, S. Kaibab to Phantom Ranch then up the Bright Angel should qualify. If you have only half thet amount of time, then Bright Angel out to Plateau Point and back is the hike.
Expect cold on the rim, below freezing at night, and mild temps along the Tonto Plateau and in the inner gorge. That said, be prepared for a winter storm, and a foot or more snow on the rim and its companion cold and rainy down in the canyon. Check the weather forecast before you go.
Getting a site in the campground should not be a problem in November. If the weather is nasty rooms in the Bright Angel lodge are reasonably priced.
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