Grand Canyon Reopens North Kaibab Trail Following Pipeline Failure

Sunday, June 03 2012 12:41   Grand Canyon
A hiking trail closure in effect since May 31 was lifted June 2, 2012 between Roaring Springs and Cottonwood Campground on the North Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park.

A temporary route through the damaged section has been established, however it is very narrow and hazardous conditions exist so extreme caution should be used when hiking in that area.

may2012_gc_pipelinebreakThe pipeline break, the third in just a few weeks, closed a one-mile section of the North Kaibab Trail between Roaring Springs and Cottonwood Campground.

"As trail crews work on the trail and pipeline ,additional temporary closures will be necessary and delays could occur for hikers on this section of trail," said park spokesperson Maureen Oltrogge. "These temporary short-term closures could occur with little or no advance notice."

The latest break occurred May 31, 2012 approximately one-half mile above the campground and caused a 45-foot section of the trail to fail prompting the closure.

On May 25, the National Park Service reported a pipeline break near Phantom Ranch. The pipeline, known as the trans-canyon pipeline, broke in two separate places. One break occurred near the South Kaibab Trail south of Phantom Ranch and one south of the Colorado River on the Bright Angel Trail near the Pipe Creek Resthouse.

"Crews are moving as fast as possible, but conditions are tough," Oltrogge. "Temperatures right now are in the hundreds, about the same as in Phoenix (Arizona)."

Potable water will not be available at Roaring Springs or Cottonwood Campground located on the North Kaibab Trail until the pipeline is repaired, which is anticipated to be by this Sunday. Hikers using those areas should be prepared to access and treat or filter creek water.

Because of large storage tanks on the North and South Rims of Grand Canyon, potable water is still available at those locations. Potable water is also available at Phantom Ranch as maintenance crews have been able to refill the storage tank between repairs.

Repairs have been completed on the break south of Phantom Ranch, and maintenance crews expect to have repairs completed on the break south of the river by June 3. Repairs on the third break will commence with completion of the section of pipeline south of the river.

The pipeline, installed in the mid-1960s, feeds water from Roaring Springs, located approximately 3,500 feet below the North Rim. Water is piped from the springs to the South Rim via a 16 mile-long pipeline.

"A lot of the pipeline is exposed," Oltrogge added. "A break can be caused by a variety of things, such as stress."

Water is then gravity-fed to the Indian Gardens pumping station, located 3,000 feet below the South Rim, then pumped from Indian Gardens to South Rim water tanks. Water is also pumped from Roaring Springs to North Rim water tanks by a seven mile-long pipeline. Portions of the pipeline are exposed and therefore can be susceptible to breaks.

For additional information about trail access, permit changes and water availability in the inner canyon, contact one of the Backcountry Information Centers within Grand Canyon National Park at (928) 638-7875 (South Rim) or (928) 638-7868 (North Rim), or visit the park on-line at .


Related Articles