Advice on hiking the Little Colorado River in July

Nate Levine

New Member
Jun 15, 2016
My friends and I were hoping to hike the grand canyon over the July 4th weekend. Since walk-in permits are unlikely I'm looking for alternatives and came across the Little Colorado River. I'm having trouble finding information on the hike so hoping somebody here has done it.

I'm trying to figure out:

1) I guess most important, do you recommend it?

2) How long is the trip from the Hopi Salt trail to the confluence? Can you do it in two nights?

3) I've heard the water is undrinkable, are there any other water sources?

4) Is July an OK time to hike if it's not raining?
It is forecast to be 111 degrees in Cameron next Tuesday so I'd expect it to be pretty hot weather in July and would keep an eye on the forecast as your time period nears. We are having some hotter weather than usual this season.

I did see This Trip Report that might help you out.
I've been there in June and it was like the surface of the sun. I can't imagine it being much fun in July.
I'd suggest trying to find climate data online for the approximate area and elevation that you're planning to go to (I don't know the Grand Canyon that well, but Phantom Ranch is at river level and might be a good choice). check out the seasonal weather averages for the month, and that should give you a pretty good idea of the temperatures you should expect to encounter.

Now perhaps if you hit up the North Rim, it'd be a little cooler. Maybe check out seasonal weather averages for that area...
If you are hiking down into the Grand Canyon you can't go by the North Rim or Grand Canyon Village on the south rim. Those places are pretty nice up in the pines, especially the North Rim that is only open in the warmer months and gets shut down for possible snow in the less warm months of November up until May approximately. We hit some big snow drift in May just after they opened back in the hinterlands of the North Rim. Down in the Grand Canyon itself in summer is roasting while it is quite bit cooler on the Rim. We will only go there in early Spring or late Fall if we are descending into the Canyon.

On the same note, Cameron is going to be a little cooler than down in the Little Colorado River canyon, hotter the further down you go. Might not be by much but they report those temps from the shade and at mid day there might not be any of that down in the canyon. If it is 111 degrees in Cameron, what do you think it will be down in the canyon? Summer is not a recommend time.
regarding your questions:

1) the area you're asking about is quite nice, but i would not hike in the Grand Canyon in July. i've been there in October when it was hot enough that i was soaking my shirt and dipping my head in the river just to stay cool enough.

2) it is about 7 miles from Salt Trail Canyon to the river. two nights should be fine.

3) i have drank water from springs in the Little Colorado Gorge. it is unpalatable, but preferable to dehydrating. i experienced some gastric discomfort the days that i drank the water. there is some possibility that some coincidental factor bothered my stomach, but i'd believe that it was due to the water. it seems to bother some people more than others. there are several springs in the area, but i don't have any reason to believe that any are better than the others. i drank from two that were miles apart.

4) again, i would very much recommend against hiking here in July. there are many other great places to see that time of the year. the Grand Canyon in July sounds terrible.