A couple weeks ago, we had the opportunity to spend a week exploring the Grand Canyon. Originally, we sought out a permit along the main rim to rim trail, leaving from the South Kaibab Trailhead and traveling due north along Bright Angel Canyon. This is the most popular way to experience the Grand Canyon in a backcountry setting. It's the way all of the ultra-runners do it, and it obviously attracts countless tourists.
Needless to say we failed to obtain this permit, as this was our first time working through the Grand Canyon's Backcountry Office, and there's a bit of learning curve. BTW, hit us up if you're looking for guidance on obtaining permits and we can help you avoid some (but not all) of the faxing and headaches.
So, we called an audible and decided on something a little more remote, namely, the Deer Creek, Thunder River Loop, and we couldn't have been more impressed. Thanks for the reccomendation, Jim! As the photos below will show this was much more remote and minimally trafficked, while also serving as a more technically challenging hike.
We'll forgo walking you through the trip leg by leg as there's plenty of good blog posts out there (see: Backpacker Magazine's writeup and the REI Co-Op blog post). As a quick summary, this loop will take you past steep slot canyons, epic water falls, clear blue swimming holes, beach campsites, and of course, no shortage of unbelievable canyon views.
Now for the photos...