Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
7,000.00 ft (2,133.60 m)
Trail type
21.00 mi (33.80 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

AZT Passage 38: Grand Canyon - Inner Gorge is a 21-mile point-to-point section of the roughly 800-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail. This challenging section runs from South Kaibab Trailhead to North Kaibab Trailhead and is located entirely within Grand Canyon National Park. This passage is accessible for hikers, trail runners, and long-distance backpackers. 

Passage 38 crosses the Grand Canyon from the south rim to the north rim. This physically strenuous and awe-inspiring section follows a well-maintained singletrack trail that descends sharply from the south rim to the Colorado River, and ascends steeply to the north rim. Your hard work will be rewarded by the sheer beauty of the Grand Canyon and what is possibly the most scenic section of the Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT)!

The journey begins on the South Kaibab Trail, a high-quality trail with scenic vistas, little shade, and no water. The trail makes a stunning descent of over 4,000 feet within the first six miles, following a series of switchbacks down the canyon wall to meet the mighty Colorado River. 

After passing through Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon, the trail becomes the North Kaibab Trail, where it continues gently toward Cottonwood Campground. After this landmark, North Kaibab truly begins its arduous climb out of one of the world’s deepest canyons. It ends at the North Kaibab Trailhead at an elevation of 8,000 feet, where temperatures remain cold and snow may persist into late spring. 

There are no words or photographs that can convey the magnitude of the Grand Canyon's unique landscape. The only way to appreciate the canyon's grandeur is to hike into its depths, a place that gets fewer than one percent of the park's total annual visitors. 

Camping at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is a unique experience that should not be missed, but must be planned in advance. Permits are required for camping and can be obtained in advance from the Backcountry Office. Walk-up permits are also possible. In addition, the Backcountry Office handles accommodations for long-distance hikers, bikers, and equestrians traveling the entire length of the AZT. 

Note. Horses are not recommended in this section and bicycles are prohibited from being ridden in the canyon.

South Kaibab Trail to North Kaibab Trail.
North Kaibab Trail to North Kaibab Trailhead. 

Check the Arizona Trail Water Report for current information at:


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Open Year-round



Scenic Views. Interesting Geology. Pristine Wilderness.


May have crowds.

Trailhead Elevation

7,260.00 ft (2,212.85 m)

Highest point

8,241.00 ft (2,511.86 m)


Vault toilet
Backcountry camping
Historically significant
Potable water
Bird watching
Native artifacts
Big vistas
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day


Permit required


Permit self-issue on site



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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