When it Snows in the Grand Canyon

Rob Grand Canyon Sunset

We’re in the Thanksgiving mood this month, and we want to express our gratitude for our fearless co-founder, Rob Little! In honor of his passion and leadership at Cairn, we’re sharing a story about one of his favorite memories: hiking in the Grand Canyon.

A few years ago - maybe a few more than I’d like to admit - me and some of my college buddies set out to hike into the Grand Canyon from the North Rim in mid-October. It was the end of the tourist season, and we wanted to check out a spot that was less traveled. The North Rim seemed perfect, and extra exciting because it was the last weekend that the ranger's station was open for the season.

Grand Canyon Trip

We arrived in the late afternoon, with just enough time to make it out to Point Sublime for sunset. If you haven’t been to this spot in the Grand Canyon, and you love the outdoors, it’s a must-see. To date it was one of the most spectacular places to watch a sunset I have ever been.

Grand Canyon Trip

We continued on our drive to the trailhead the next morning, but as we made our way along the bumpy dirt road we suddenly came across a small forest fire that had blocked our route. It was time to get some real hands-on outdoor experience. We worked together to move a few downed trees blocking our way along with the fire and were able to clear the road. It was exhilarating to get past this obstacle and continue on our adventure. We made it to the trailhead and then hiked into the canyon. We found a good place to camp and fell asleep early - exhausted from the day’s activities.

Grand Canyon waterfalls

The next day we were up early and off to hike seven miles to Phantom Ranch, on the other side of the base of the canyon. The day was full of side trails, waterfalls, and memorable adventures. After returning to camp that night, with plans to hike out the next morning, we started bantering with one another over a beer and campfire dinner about who was in the best shape to hike out. Of course I won the vote of confidence, but that’s another story…

It was late, well past dark, when someone in the group suggested we start hiking out right then and there. Really. Of course, none of us was in a position to turn down the challenge. So we quickly packed up our stuff, put on our headlamps, and began the 3-4 hour hike from the base to the top of the canyon in complete darkness.

About halfway up it started snowing--heavily...  

By the time we arrived at our car we were cold and wet, but also full of energy and ready to do it all again! I'll never forget that first experience of mine in the Canyon.

What’s Up Next?

Roberto and Bella of The Expeditioners will be telling us a story about what they’re grateful for this Thanksgiving--and they’ve got some very exciting news to share!

What’s one of your favorite outdoor adventure stories? Tell us in the comments! #CairnRocks