Grand Canyon In January - Cottonwood Camp?

3:03 p.m. on October 3, 2010 (EDT)
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1 forum posts

My husband and I are looking for a 3-4 day trip through the Grand Canyon this January. We saw a post a couple years back for the Cottonwood hike and were wondering if it's still a good trip to take. The trail posted was:

Cottonwood Camp
Day 1: S. Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Campground; water
Day 2: Bright Angel Campground to Cottonwood Campground. Although about 7mi this is an easy hiking day. Side trip opportunity to Ribbon Falls (along the way) and/or up to Roaring Spring. Carry the water you'll need or collect and purify near Ribbon Falls and carry only the last 1.5 miles.
Day 3: Cottonwood to Indian Gardens (12mi); water
Day 4: Bright Angel Trail out.


How would this trip be in January? Would there be water available at the campgrounds or are the pipes closed during the winter? How clearly marked are the trails/easy to follow along with a map and compass? Does the trail out end near where we start at the S. Kaibab Trail -- how would we get back to our car? Grand Canyon would be a first for us, so all help is appreciated!

3:43 p.m. on October 4, 2010 (EDT)
200 reviewer rep
4,153 forum posts

Yes that route/trail is very nice in January. Dec/Jan have always been my favorite months to hike the canyon. Its fairly warm near the bottom of the canyon and you can expect to wear light pants ,shorts and a Tshirt even tho its January. It can get cold at night, but days are in the 40-60 range. The trails in the main section of the canyon which is called the corridor are easy to follow. No map and compass is needed. The water may be cut off at Cottonwood but it is available in Bright Angel Creek nearby but should be treated,boiled or whatever you choose. There will be water turned on at the Bright Angel Camp near the Colorado.

And I am asuuming your car is going to be on the South Rim, as the North Rim closes between November 1st and midApril as the snow makes it impossible to drive out tho a crosscountry ski trip is possible in winetr (January)

If you plan to do the hike in January, make reservation now for the permits and also if you plan to stay on the South Rims hotels instead of the campground. The rim will be cold about 0-32 degree's and may have 2-6 feet of snow., so if you plan to camp at Mather Camp besure to have cold weather gear. Inside the canyon night will drop to freezing. But no snow may be expected

The day from Cottonwood to Indian Gardens would a long one with the 7 miles to the Colorado and 6 miles to Indian Gardens, plus elevation gain from the Colorado to I.G.

September 20, 2014
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