Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim in under 24 hours

In 2011 we did this hike the comfortable way with a rest day on the north rim. See here for more.

This time our goal was to do it as a day hike, i.e. in under 24 hours. Here are some stats and thoughts about this outing.


  • Complete the round trip without camping (sleeping)
  • If possible finish in under 24 hours
  • Be conservative in managing our strength


We all prepared in different ways. Matt focused on trail running and bicycling, including a triathlon. He also opted to go as light as possible using his trail running gear. I had done 8 hikes of 15 miles or more in the 4 month before this hike and focused on leg strength in the gym. Greg did numerous shorter hikes with a heavy backpack. Greg and I approached this as a hike and carried our typical day hike backpacks and gear.

Key Pointers Gathered from reports on the internet:

  • Pace yourself. Don't start out too fast
  • Carry a variety of food items. One get's tired of energy bars and gels over 24h
  • Make sure to intake enough salt/electrolytes
  • Be prepared for blisters


South to north: Down South Kaibab - Bright Angel Canyon - Roaring Springs Canyon. (21 miles)
North to south: Roaring Springs Canyon - Bright Angel Canyon - Bright Angel Trail (24 miles)

Time Splits:

Where Arrive Depart Duration
Start -- 3:53  
Phantom Ranch 6:38 6:54 16 min
Cotton Wood Camp 9:20 9:56 36 min
Tunnel Roaring Springs Cyn 12:00 12:18 18 min
North Rim 13:07 13:46 39 min
Cotton Wood Camp 16:12 16:43 31 min
Phantom Ranch 19:10 19:40 30 min
Indian Garden 21:35 22:05 30 min
Bright Angel Trailhead 00:21 --  

Some Totals:
Time on trail:   20 hours 28 minutes
Major breaks:    3 hours 20 minutes
Moving time:   17 hours 8 minutes
Total hiking distance:   45 miles (72 km) (45 miles in the canyon; 5 additional miles on South Rim to connect trailheads/parking lot not included in times above -> Hiked 50 miles in a day)
Elevation gain    > 11,000ft (> 3350m)


  • Good preparation pays off. Overall the whole thing went as planned. We actually exceeded our expectations. None of us had done anything even remotely as long and we had no idea how we would fare.
  • Shoes which are comfortable for 30 miles may not stay comfortable for 50 miles. I had some hot spots an a minor blister
  • We were probably extra conservative with our break time. I'm actually surprised our breaks where that long, but we didn't want to hurry and did what felt naturally not timing our breaks while on the trail.
  • While hydration and calorie intake was adequate I probably could have eaten more, particularly during the easy down sections (I brought plenty of food back). I estimate that I ate/drank about 7,000 kcal. Online calculators gave estimates as high as 15,000 for someone of my weight, for the distance and elevation gain involved.

Here is Matt's perspective

Hike Profile

Note that Google does not handle GPX files all that well and comes up with wrong elevation gain totals and distances