Ya, I’m not kidding about needing water filtration and purification in the inner canyon!

by Jean on January 24, 2015

So, I know all of you r2r or r2r2r hikers already frequent the NPS backcountry site for critical backcountry updates (hint), and you know I require my friends to bring both water purification AND water filtration systems into the Grand Canyon (we’ve drank muddy creek water for the past several years on our R2R2R hikes).   So I am sure you all already read the latest post from 1/23/15 but for the highlights here goes (this covers only a 1/3 of our water source, much more of the pipeline is exposed, old, and prone to breakage from North Rim to the South Rim – 24 miles).  Oh, and if you blow off the water issue you might die.  You also should glance at an inner corridor map because there are not many creeks on the trails:

Grand Canyon to Replace Portion of Trans-Canyon Pipeline at Phantom Ranch


-Grand Canyon National Park will begin replacing a portion of the Trans-Canyon Pipeline at Phantom Ranch beginning on Monday, January 26,2015.  The project area will replace up to a half mile section of the Trans-Canyon Pipeline (TCP).

-It is anticipated that construction will be complete by the end of July 2015. During this time period all hikers and backcountry users should expect to encounter detours, possible delays, and closures while traveling near the construction zone.

-Hikers and backcountry users should be prepared treat creek water while in the inner canyon. Construction will require intermittent shutdown of the pipeline temporarily shutting down the drinking water system along the corridor trails. All hikers should check in at the Backcountry Information Center, prior to starting their hikes, for up-to-date information on trail conditions, construction detours, and water availability.

-Individuals who have questions should contact the Backcountry Information Center at 928-638-7875.

-The Trans-Canyon Pipeline was built in the mid-1960’s and feeds water to Grand Canyon National Park from Roaring Springs. 16 miles in length, the aging pipeline is constructed of 6-8″ aluminum pipe that over the past decade has suffered numerous leaks, fissures, and breaks. Full replacement of the TCP is currently estimated at $100-150 million dollars. This current project replaces only a very small section and addresses immediate issues where breaks occur frequently with the highest risk to visitors and facilities at Phantom Ranch.

-Since 1978, major pipeline breaks have occurred anywhere from five to 30 times annually and the frequency of breaks continues to increase as the pipeline ages. A flash-flood in 1995 caused extensive damage to the pipeline, shutting it down for 28 days while it was repaired. During that time the park implemented emergency water hauling measures and trucked in 23 million gallons of water (85 trucks per day) from outside sources at a cost of approximately $5 million dollars. More recently multiple breaks along the TCP in late June 2013 (yep, we were there) required the closure and evacuation of guests and employees from Phantom Ranch. This past December another large break required the temporary closure of Phantom Ranch for several days while crews dealt with weather related delays in repairing the pipeline.

If you have been with us on a sweltering 110+ degree day with no water – in the middle of nowhere – then you would know this is a warning you take seriously and one that you never forget.  The pipeline breaks happen without warning, with alarming frequency because the pipe is older than most of us – and without notice (considering we begin to hike at 2:30 AM – it isn’t like they can text you updates you just realize 6 hours in that you are in trouble).

Hike smart, everyone.


P.S. I’ve had to shut down all commenting on the site.  Sorry but I don’t have the time to delete thousands of spam comments but I’m sure all the products are WOW.  But if you read the other pages you might figure out a way to reach me.  People, I have a Grand Canyon to hike …

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