This is the most difficult Rim-to-River trail. Depending on your choice of trailhead, this hike is about 14 miles long and experiences roughly 11,500 feet of elevation loss+gain. Just to spice it up, there is no reliable perennial water until reaching Nankoweap Creek, after over 10 fatiguing miles of hiking.
2. North Bass
Only the most experienced, determined, and physically fit hikers will finish this 13.5 mile hike in 1 day. This trail is very challenging and features many sections that are in poor condition. On the bright side, solitude and perennial water near the halfway point can ease the struggles of this difficult trek.
3. Thunder River
The distance from this remote North Rim trailhead to the Colorado River is 14 miles. The Esplanade traverse is the only longer portion of this trail that isn’t strenuous. When departing from the Bill Hall Trailhead, this hike can be shortened by about 3 miles.
This trailhead is technically located beneath the Rim in Hermit Basin. The lack of consistent switchbacks through the Supai and Redwall layers make this trail painfully steep.
What makes this 9 mile trail difficult is the complete lack of water, unless you’re lucky enough to be hiking during or right after a storm. The section between the Rim and 75-Mile Saddle is steep, and the
stretch from atop the Redwall to the Colorado River is vastly bereft of shade.