All northern access routes come through St. George, UT, or Page, AZ. The North and South Kaibab trailheads (access to the Clear Creek Trail) are more than 200 car-miles apart. The road to the North Rim is paved, but at 8,200 feet it’s inaccessible under winter snow for months. Access to Hack Canyon (for Kanab Creek) and Toroweap Point (for Tuckup Trail) involves considerable dirt road travel. Pick up maps and advice in the town of Fredonia.
All overnights in the park require a permit. Expect competition for campsites near Phantom Ranch on the North Kaibab Trail (book months in advance).
Carry plenty of water, know the permanent springs, and bring water treatment. Check weather reports for thunderstorms and beware of the flash floods that follow–never camp within reach of one.
Hiking the Grand Canyon, by John Annerino ($17). Grand Canyon Loop Hikes II, by George Steck (out of print but available used for about $20) for off-trail options along all three hikes. Trails Illustrated’s Grand Canyon National Park map #207 (800-962-1643; www.backpacker.com/mapstore; $10). Contact Backcountry Information Center, Grand Canyon National Park, (928) 638-7875; www.nps.gov/grca