Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona), one of the world’s most iconic natural wonders, is undergoing significant changes. The National Park Service (NPS) has announced a series of trail and campground closures over the coming years due to the construction of the Transcanyon Waterline.
This pipeline, which spans 16 miles, has been a lifeline for the park, delivering water from the North Rim’s Roaring Springs to the South Rim. However, with multiple breaks and failures since its construction in the 1960s, a replacement is now underway.
The construction project, divided into multiple phases, is essential for ensuring a reliable water supply for both visitors and residents of the park. Among the most affected is the popular Bright Angel Trail. The NPS has been proactive in communicating these closures, emphasizing the importance of safety for both hikers and construction crews.
“No hikers or other trail users will be allowed to pass through closure areas under any circumstances,” the NPS wrote in a statement. “The National Park Service emphasizes the importance of always staying on designated trails, and visitors should not attempt to go over or around a closure. Trail users should pay attention to directions from park rangers, volunteers, construction flaggers, and signs placed along the trail.”
From October 1, the trail near Bright Angel Lodge, known as the Rim Trail, will be inaccessible due to construction, prompting visitors to use an alternative route until November 17, as stated by the NPS. Additionally, starting October 12, the segment of the Plateau Point Trail between the Tonto Trail junction and Plateau Point will be shut down, with plans to reopen in March 2025.
The Bright Angel Trail will undergo closures in two phases. The first phase, starting December 1, will see the closure of a section from its starting point to the Silver Bridge, encompassing the Havasupai Gardens Campground, until April 2024. The subsequent phase will commence on December 2, 2024, closing the trail stretch from Havasupai Gardens to Silver Bridge until March 14, 2025.
Despite these closures, the South Kaibab Trail will be available for private river exchanges during the Bright Angel Trail’s shutdown periods.
Furthermore, the Bright Angel Campground is scheduled for closure from December 19, 2024, to May 9, 2025. The Silver Bridge will also be inaccessible from September 15 to December 31, 2025.
To assist visitors during these disruptions, the NPS plans to transition to an online system for booking overnight backcountry permits in the Grand Canyon next year.