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Special Alerts


Some trails and roads in the Grand Canyon backcountry are being closed due to extremely dry conditions and the resulting fire danger. If you currently have a Backcountry Permit for use in any of the closure areas you should follow the link provided below for more information. The closures are currently expected to remain in effect until the summer monsoon season begins in July.

Click here for official National Park Service information on the fires and area closures.


Access to the North Rim is currently restricted.

Click here for official NPS information on the fire.


The previously closed section of the North Kaibab Trail between Roaring Springs and Phantom Ranch has been reopened for foot traffic only - no stock. The North Kaibab Trail is now open all the way from the north rim to Phantom Ranch and Bright Angel Campground

Cottonwood Campground has also been reopened.


The Bright Angel Trail is open all the way to Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch but there is no water at the 1.5-Mile Resthouse. Water is still available at the 3-Mile Resthouse as well as Indian Gardens.

The South Kaibab Trail is open as far as Mormon Flat (Tonto Trail junction) but any party with reservations for Bright Angel Campground or Phantom Ranch will be allowed to continue beyond the closure.

The North Kaibab Trail remains closed between Cottonwood Camp and Phantom Ranch. Cottonwood Camp is also closed.


[ click here for photos ]

Effectively immediately, the Bright Angel Trail is closed due to extensive damage caused by heavy rain over the last twenty-four hours. The trail is closed from the South Rim Bright Angel Trailhead down to the Colorado River, a distance of 9 miles. The trail may be closed as long as three weeks for repairs.

The National Park Service (NPS) conducted an aerial reconnaissance of the Bright Angel Trail to determine the full extent of damage. Rangers and Trail Crewmembers also hiked the trail to further assess the damages. The assessment revealed extensive water damage including numerous rock slides, washouts and debris flows on the Bright Angel Trail. In addition, approximately two thousand feet of the trans-canyon pipeline that carries water from the north slope of the canyon to the south rim was exposed and undercut during today's flash floods. The pipeline is still intact and continues to transport water to the south rim. During the flash floods, the park had four reported injuries caused by falling rocks; two fractured legs and two minor injuries.

The South Kaibab and North Kaibab Trails remain open. The NPS Backcountry Office will not issue any new backcountry permits for Indian Garden and Bright Angel Campgrounds during this closure period. Hikers who already have reservations at Indian Garden Campground are being contacted by the backcountry office and hiking itineraries changed as necessary.

Approximately 1.52 inches of rain fell in the last twenty-four hours causing severe flash floods, a hazard associated with the summer monsoon season. The monsoon season, which generally extends from mid-July through mid-to-late September, can produce intense rain showers and thunderstorms that can come without warning. Travel in drainages and washes during a monsoon rain are particularly hazardous. It is important to stay alert to your surroundings while hiking in the Grand Canyon and to anticipate known weather conditions during the time of year you are hiking.

For information on backcountry use permits, call 520-638-7875 Monday through Friday from 1-5 p.m. MST. For general park information call 520-638-7888.

National Park Service




For Immediate Release Sandra Perl (520) 638-7885


The body of the woman found on the Tonto Trail in Grand Canyon National Park has been identified as 46 year old Nuria Serrat from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Serrat, an experienced Grand Canyon hiker, was hiking solo on a four-day hike, which began on June 26, 1999 in the inner canyon.

On June 28, 1999, a park visitor reported finding Serrat on the Tonto Trail near the Hermit Creek in Grand Canyon National Park. Park Rangers located Serrat approximately one mile west of Hermit Creek. Inner canyon temperatures were approximately 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Serrat was airlifted to the canyon's South Rim by helicopter and transported to the Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office. The initial investigation indicates that Serrat's death is apparently heat related.

This is the second hiking fatality in the inner canyon this year; the first was a cardiac related death.

The National Park Service would like to remind hikers that heat related illnesses, injuries and fatalities are likely to increase during the summer months when temperatures soar over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The following tips can make hikes more enjoyable during the extreme summer heat:

  1. Hike in the early morning and late afternoon shade
  2. Avoid hiking under the mid-day sun
  3. Eat plenty of food for energy to hike well, replace your fluid loss with electrolyte drinks
  4. Keep your clothing wet to stay cool
  5. When possible, it is safer to hike with a partner.

The National Park Service and Coconino County Sheriff's Office are cooperatively investigating this incident.

June 29, 1999


The top 5 1/2 miles of the North Kaibab Trail, from the trailhead to Roaring Springs, will be closed from April 20, 1999 until approximately May 15, 1999 for trail maintenance. During this period access to Cottonwood Campground and Ribbon Falls will only be possible from the southern portion of the trail, via Phantom Ranch.

January 13, 1999 : Grand Canyon Chevron is closed

The Chevron gas station located in Grand Canyon Village has been closed so there is currently no gas available within the park. The closest gas station to the south rim would now be located in Tusayan, which is about 1 mile south of the south entrance station. It is still unclear to me whether this is a permanent closure or a seasonal closure. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

January 13, 1999 : Online Campground Reservations Now Available

National Park Service (NPS) Director Robert Stanton recently announced three changes to the National Park Reservation Service (NPRS), which has been up and running since March 15, 1998 by NPS contractor, Biospherics.

Effective January 1, 1999, reservations for camping and tours at 25 national park sites, including Grand Canyon, can be made up to five months in advance, instead of the previous three months.

Advance campground reservations may be made by calling 1-800-365-CAMP (2267) or via the website, http://reservations.nps.gov.

International callers may dial 301-722-1257 to make reservations at any of the above national park sites for camping and/or tours. The HEARING IMPAIRED may use the TDD phone number: 1-888-530-9796.

December 2, 1998 : Please be aware of problems when FAXing permit requests to the Backcountry Office

It has come to my attention that many people have been having problems when trying to FAX Backcountry Permit Requests to the Backcountry Office, especially during the first few days of the month when a new period opens. If you are patient you will normally get through but at certain times this may seem impossible. If you are FAXing from your PC you may be able to program the FAX software to retry automatically if the line is busy until the request is successfully sent. Of course if everyone is doing this then that's probably why we have this problem in the first place. My only other suggestion would be to give up after an hour or so of trying and send in your permit request via Express Mail or Overnight Mail or something similar.

January 20, 1998 : NPS Awards Camping Reservations Contract to Biospherics, Inc.

National Park Service (NPS) Director Robert Stanton officially announced today, January 20, 1998, that the new National Reservation Service will be operated by Biospherics, Inc. of Beltsville, Maryland.

Biospherics will provide camping and tour reservations to park visitors via a toll-free number. Under the contract, advanced information technology will be used to connect 25 national park sites to the Biospherics reservation center.

The contract requires Biospherics to have its national reservation service up and running on March 15, 1998 to accommodate the 1998 summer season. Beginning on the 15th of each month, visitors will be able to make camping and tour reservations up to three months in advance. With the two contract years, plus three option years, the total contract value is estimated at $12 million.

The Biospherics center will process reservations for campsites at national parks, seashores, and recreation areas such as Grand Canyon National Park (AZ), Cape Hatteras National Seashore (NC), and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (CA). Also, reservations will be available for tours at Mammoth Cave National Park (KY), Carlsbad Caverns National Park (NM), and the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (Wash., D.C.).

"We are delighted to have Biospherics provide this reservation service to the millions of people travelling to our national parks each year," said NPS Director Robert Stanton. "It is a vital service, enhancing the visitors' experience by enabling them to plan their trip in advance."

Biospherics President and founder, Dr. Gilbert V. Levin, said: "Through the use of advanced technology, this major new reservations program will increase public interest in the parks, called our 'national treasures,' and offer the National Park Service an efficient and cost-effective system. Biospherics will serve the American people and international visitors with fast and accurate information to help them select and enjoy these beautiful national parks."

Biospherics, Inc. is a publicly held firm that specializes in large, advanced Federal and State information call centers. They include the Federal Information Center that provides comprehensive information on the Federal Government, and the Maryland Office of Toursim Development Hotlines. Besides Beltsville, the firm has centers in Cumberland and Columbia, Maryland that respond to millions of calls every year.

The company recently celebrated its 30th year of providing quality information services to the public. They include sophisticated telecommunications, computer equipment and software, access to the Internet, and the development of complex databases.

NOTE: Until Biospherics, Inc. has the national reservation service up and running, there will be a break in service. The contract with the previous provider was terminated on October 16, 1997. NO ADVANCE RESERVATIONS WILL BE TAKEN UNTIL THE NEW SYSTEM IS IN PLACE. Currently, camping is on a first-come, first-served basis. Those wishing to make reservations are advised to call the 800 number listed below for up-to-date information. Callers from outside the United States should call (202) 208-4588.

- - - National Park Service


For further details, call either
Karen Levin, Biospherics Incorporated
at (301) 419-3900, or
Carol Anthony, National Park Service
at (202) 208-4989

January 30, 1997 : Search and Rescue teams activated

On the morning of January 17th Grand Canyon received notice of a overdue hiker. William Kells, of Phoenix, AZ was due to hike out of the canyon on the 16th, but had not reported to work the next day. Search personnel covered 144 square mile area of the inner canyon, which encompassed the four use areas on his hiking permit. These areas were Clear Creek, Cheyava, Trinity, and Phantom Creek areas. A sever winter storm that hit the area last week made conditions for rescuers icy and dangerous. In addition to ground searchers, three helicopters, a search dog with NPS handler, and several man trackers were deployed. By January 18th, 98 personnel from the NPS, USFS, BLM, Coconino County sheriff's Department, Coconino and Yavapai County search and rescue volunteers, Border Patrol, and Grand Canyon Explorer Post were involved in the search. Kells was located at Phantom Ranch at 1955 hours on January 18. Kells had gone off his itinerary shortly after begining his hike. He then became disoriented about his location and , slowed by winter weatehr, opted to continue off itinerary rather than returning to a known route.

- - - National Park Service

December 10, 1996 : North rim closes for the season

(520) 638-7779


The Arizona Department of Transportation closed Highway 67 from Jacob Lake to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park today at 1:00 pm., officially bringing the North Rim visitor season to an end. The North Rim will remain closed to vehicle traffic throughout the winter season. Highway 67 and visitor facilities are expected to re-open for the summer season on May 15, 1997.

During the winter season, a Backcountry Permit is required for overnight use of the North Rim from the park's northern boundary to Bright Angel Point on the canyon rim. Permittees are allowed to camp at-large between the park's north boundary and the North Kaibab Trailhead. Between the North Kaibab trailhead and the Bright Angel Point area, camping is permitted only at the North Rim Campground group campsite. There are no facilities or services available during the winter months at the North Rim and winter access is by hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing only. The closest services available are at Jacob Lake 45 miles north of the North Rim, and Kaibab Lodge approximately 26 miles south of Jacob Lake. Prior arrangements must be made for transportation and tours to Kaibab Lodge via specially equipped snow vans.

The South Rim and Inner Canyon facilities remain open year-round. For trip planning information please write:

Trip Planner
Grand Canyon National Park
P.O. Box 129
Grand Canyon, Arizona 86023

NR96-56 # # # December 10, 1996


Responding to years of public pressure, two Acts of Congress, as well as Presidential Executive Order, the Federal Aviation Administration has finally released a proposedrule designed to help mitigate the noise problems created by the unbridled growth of the air tour industry over Grand Canyon. Although in several ways this rule falls short of the goal to substantially restore natural quiet, we hope that it could be the first step towards ending the continued degradation of natural sounds within Grand Canyon.

Click here for more info and to let your voice be heard.

August 2, 1996 : Small plane crashes in the Grand Canyon

Today, Friday, August 2nd, at around 10:20 am [MST] a light plane crashed into the wall of the Grand Canyon below the South Rim near Pima Point and above Monument Canyon. The plane burned on impact and there are reports of no survivors. The number of occupants abroad the aircraft is not known at this time. Reports say there was at least one person on board and possibly as many as six. Bad weather and the inaccessability of the site is making operations difficult.

According to radio news reports, the plane was flying from California to Kansas.

July 31, 1996 : Bright Angel Trail expected to re-open on August 1, 1996

The trail closure of Bright Angel should be lifted on Thursday, August 1st, 1996 as the damage done to the trail by the rock-slide has now been repaired. The trail should now be available for through-hike use all the way from the rim to the river. It is still recommended that people planning to use the Bright Angel, or any other Grand Canyon trail during the remainder of the summer hiking season, check with the National Park Service before doing so as the heat closures are still in effect. The latest official release from the Park Service reads:
*** "Trail restrictions are subject to daily and immediate implementation. To get the latest update for tomorrow's potential restrictions, call after 5 pm [Mountain Standard Time] to the NPS information center at 520-638-7888. Select menu option for "road and trail closures". ***
If restrictions are implemented, access to the inner-canyon trails will be restricted between 7 am and 5 pm.

July 29, 1996 : Grand Canyon announces trail restrictions

Due to a combination of extreme heat conditions and an increase in the number of heat related incidents occurring on inner canyon trails within Grand Canyon National Park, the Superintendent will implement restrictions on all trails below the canyon rim, with the exception of day hikes on the upper 1 1/2 mile section of the Bright Angel Trail and North Kaibab Trail to Supai Tunnel, approximately 2 miles below the canyon rim. Effective Saturday, July 17th, at 7:00am restrictions are being placed on these trails to reduce risk to visitors during extremely hot weather. All inner canyon trails, with the above exceptions, within Grand Canyon National Park will be closed to access from 7:00am until 5:00pm. This is being done to prevent hikers from hiking during the extreme mid-day heat. Restrictions will remain in place until there is a significant reduction in daily average temperatures.

Click here for more info

July 23, 1996 : BRIGHT ANGEL TRAIL closed due to rockslide

The Bright Angel Trail is closed until August 6. The Trail is open from the top to the 1.5 mile rest house for day hiking and closed below that. All day mule trips have been cancelled and overnight trips are operating using the South Kaibab Trail. All Hikers with permits are being rerouted to the South Kaibab and on to Phantom Ranch or Indian Gardens. This does add 4.5 miles each way to Indian Gardens with no water on the trail.

The story is that the rock slide (from a thunderstorm) is not too bad and they may open earlier if they can.

Rumor has it that the Park Service is putting emergency water on the South Kaibab Trail. Check with the Backcountry Office before you depend on this.

May 20, 1996 : FIRE DANGER is EXTREME!

A major fire has closed the road leading to Grand Canyon National Park from Flagstaff. The road is expected to be reopened by the end of the day.

Grand Canyon National Park is still open to the public but the Forest Service has closed many portions of the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests that surround the park because of extremely high fire danger. Campfires are not allowed anywhere within the park and people are being warned to be especially careful when smoking.

You may call Coconino National Forest at (520) 527-3600 or Kaibab National Forest at (520) 638-2443 for more information on the fire danger and areas that are closed.

Click here for Forest Closure Details

April 20, 1996 : Visitor Appreciation Day; as one way to acknowledge visitor contributions to the stewardship of park resources the park will waive entrance fees.

January 28, 1996 : The telephone number for making reservations at all Fred Harvey establishments at the Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon National Park Lodges) has been changed to 303-297-2757. The Fred Harvey Company recently acquired the concession rights to North Rim Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion and Yellowstone National Parks. The reservation center for all of these is now located in Denver, Colorado. The new FAX number is 303-297-3175.

January 6, 1996 : The park is open again... for now. Temporary measures have been passed to bring the government back to work. If some permanent solution is not found in the upcoming weeks we will likely all be treated to another case of Republican lunacy. If your plans call for travel to any National Park area before the situtation is resolved permanently you should keep a close eye on the news for updates and further information.

December 23, 1995 : Grand Canyon National Park is currently closed to access below the rim and has been since the federal shutdown started (again) on December 15. This means no hiking or backpacking below the rim is permitted. Phantom Ranch has been shut down and if you had a reservation it has been cancelled and you should expect a refund. The trailheads have supposedly been barricaded which probably means that they have posted a sign saying the trail is closed and if you pass the sign you are committing a federal offense.

Most of the privately operated (Fred Harvey) services on the rim are still open, thanks to the great state of Arizona, but all National Park Service operations (Visitor Center, ranger programs, etc.) have been terminated.

The situation is not expected to change in the next week and you should watch or listen to news programs for updates on it. I will not be available to post updates to the web site until after January 1, 1996 so don't rely on these pages for any more information about the closure. You might also consider checking the rec.backcountry and/or rec.outdoors.national-parks USENET newsgroups for updates on the situation.

If this whole concept sickens you as much as it sickens me you should get in touch with your local representatives and let them know. You can find E-Mail addresses for members of the Senate here.

Grand Canyon National Park officially closed on Thursday, November 16, 1995 at 4 PM MST.

It will not reopen until the bureaucrats in Washington, DC can stop fighting among themselves and remember who they really work for.

The park has been reopened as of Monday, November 20, 1995.

The North Kaibab Trail is closed between its junction with the Clear Creek Trail, just north of Phantom Ranch, and Cottonwood campground, just south of Roaring Springs.

Heavy rains on the north rim earlier this Spring caused Bright Angel Creek to flood and destroy a number of sections the trail. The Park Service does not plan on re-opening the trail until late September, 1995. Because of this cross-canyon hikes using the North Kaibab Trail will not possible this year. The trail can still be used from the north rim down to Roaring Springs and from Bright Angel Campground near the river to the junction of the Clear Creek Trail. Access to Ribbon Falls is also not possible.



Conserve water

Water is always in short supply on the south rim and you should minimize its use whenever possible.

Area code change

On September 1, 1995 the area code for all Arizona telephone numbers outside of the metro Phoenix area will change from 602 to 520. Until that time either area code will work for areas outside of Phoenix but after that date you must use the 520 area code to reach these areas. The 602 area code will be used for metro Phoenix telephone numbers ONLY!

Do not feed the wildlife

Feeding the wildlife in the park is just asking for trouble, for both you as well as them. Feeding the wildlife causes them to become tame and unafraid of humans. This often causes them to adopt behaviors that are at least undesirable and at most dangerous. Once they become accustomed to receiving handouts they will not be able to survive without them and will begin to seek them out, sometimes aggressively. In most cases the food that you are giving them is not good for them anyway and they could become sick and possibly die. Recently the Park Service had the unpleasant task of shooting 15 mule deer in the park because they had become habituated to human food. They had consumed large amounts of plastic bags and other food wrappings along with the food that was handed out to them. Autopsies conducted after the shootings revealed that their digestive tracts had become clogged with this trash and that they could no longer take in enough food to remain healthy. They were starving to death while they ate. The rodents in the park also carry a variety of rather unpleasant diseases and direct contact with them should be avoided whenever possible (see below).

Health Warning

Rodents in the park are known to carry the following diseases:

All involve flu-like symptoms, those being: fever, fatigue, muscle aches, cough, headaches and vomiting. To minimize your chance of becoming infected you should avoid contact with rodents, areas which they frequent and items which they may possibly have contaminated. The first two of these diseases should be considered life-threatening. If symptoms persist medical attention should be obtained as soon as possible.

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