Route: Grand Canyon R2R2R--Old Bright Angel Variation

Submitted by WyeastWillie on Fri, 04/08/2022 - 10:54am
Arizona, US
41 mi
Vertical Gain
12,000 ft

Admin note: This is NOT the standard crossing. Please see this page for the standard premier route.

R2R2R is the classic double-crossing of the Grand Canyon on the main, and hugely popular, "corridor" trails of the National Park: South Kaibab, North Kaibab, and Bright Angel trails (depending on how you do it.).  The R2R2R--Old Bright Angel variation puts a new twist on the usual out and back, utilizing a rarely-traveled historic trail (Old Bright Angel) to add some extra spice to the adventure.

Some history: The Old Bright Angel Trail was the original route connecting Bright Angel Canyon to the North Rim, first navigated by Sidney Ferrall and Jim Murray in 1902, and shortly afterwards by F.E. Matthes who was there mapping of the Grand Canyon for the U. S. Geological Survey.  The NPS has an interesting written account of Matthes and team descending the Old Bright Angel trail with pack animals, written by Matthes himself.  Nearly 20 years later the NPS established the Kaibab Trail to replace Old Bright Angel as the main route to the North Rim.  Over the years Old Bright Angel became less and less traveled and more overgrown/hard to follow.

As per the usual R2R2R FKT routes, the R2R2R--Old Bright Angel variation starts/ends at the South Kaibab trailhead.  Outboundit is 5+ miles and ~4,000+ ft. via Old Bright Angel from the Ranger/Pump House at Bright Angel & Manzanita Creek confluence to the North Rim at the junction of Old Bright Angel and Ken Patrick trails.  Return via the same route.