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North Rim Trails
8,250 feet (2,515 m): North Kaibab trailhead
5,200 feet (1,585 m): Roaring Springs
4,080 feet (1,244 m): Cottonwood Campground
2,400 feet (732 m): Colorado River
4.7 miles (7.6 km): North Kaibab trailhead to Roaring Springs
6.8 miles (11 km): North Kaibab trailhead to Cottonwood Campground
14.2 miles (22.9 km): North Kaibab trailhead to the Colorado River
Well maintained and well marked.
American Indians and prospectors originally used a route now followed by the Old Kaibab Trail. Mapmaker Francois Matthes improved the trail during his Grand Canyon survey in 1902. A year later, David Rust established a tourist camp at the mouth of Bright Angel Creek. Rust constructed a cable crossing over the Colorado River a few years later, linking the North and South Rims. The Fred Harvey Company acquired Rust’s holdings and built Phantom Ranch, a tourist lodge named after nearby Phantom Creek.
Old Bright Angel Route: 7.8 miles (12.6 km) long. The trail can be reached from the North Kaibab trailhead by following the Ken Patrick Trail. Good route-finding skills are required for this unmaintained route. The old trail descends a series of steep switchbacks in the upper canyon cliffs. Scrub oak thickets obscure the upper portion of the trail, but conditions improve as it descends. The trail bypasses a pouroff at the top of the Redwall cliff by climbing to the right (west) and leading to a steep break. After reaching Bright Angel Creek, the trail stays above the creek bed on the west side to avoid brush and boulders. About 0.5 mile (0.8 km) before reaching the junction with Roaring Springs Canyon, the trail crosses to the east side.