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Weapons in the Grand Canyon

Discussion in 'Legal' started by MDG1976, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. MDG1976

    MDG1976 Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know the legality of CCWing in the Grand Canyon (national park)? AZ will recognize my MO permit but I'm not sure if it's legal in a national park. What about a 4" folder? On a side note- who has been there, can you recommend any particulare hiking trails or overlooks.
  2. Abe

    Abe Well-Known Member


    To my knowledge you can't have firearms in any National Park. National Forest yes, National Park no. I'd guess CCW is probably not going to be allowed. Here's the quote from a park services site:


    If you google "national parks AND firearms" the first site you will get is: http://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/e-mail/weapons.htm. The page states:

    Maybe there's hope? :rolleyes:

    As for hiking I've been there a number of times. The last time was a Rim-to-Rim hike thru The Canyon. Three days from North Rim to South Rim. While there are people that do Rim-to-Rim in a day (and even Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim in a day) I wouldn't even think about biting that off unless you are in top physical shape. Its 23.5 miles one way Rim-to-Rim. A normal\average person will not even be able to make it down and back in a day from the South Rim much less from the North Rim. The trip down to Phantom Ranch from The South Rim by the Bright Angel Trail is 9.3 miles with a descent of about 4400 feet. The trip down to Phantom Ranch from The North Rim via the North Kaibab Trail is 14.2 miles with a descent of about 5800 feet.

    IMHO the best way to see The Canyon is to get into it. The are a number of trail reference guides you can get. I'd recommend The Official Guide to Hiking The Grand Canyon (ISBN 0-938216-48-1) for starters. There are a number of Rim Trails to choose from. If you are going to be on The South Rim you might like to go down the Bright Angel Trail a bit to maybe Mile-and-a-Half or Three Mile Resthouse. Depends upon what you want to do and how much of a hiker you are. Don't be disappointed though as you won't be able to see the Colorado River. You can't see the river until you are way down in The Canyon.

    If you can, goto The North Rim. It's a completely different view of the park. The visitor ratio is something like 85\15 South vs. North. There's way less civilization and no creeping monoculture on The North Rim. Both are good but I far prefer The North.

    - Abe
  3. MDG1976

    MDG1976 Well-Known Member

    Abe- Thanks for the advice. I'm going to the South rim this March. I'll have the wife with me so I won't be doing anything too difficult.
  4. BDavis

    BDavis Member


    Check out the south rim, "Bright Angel Pass"....Later,B.
  5. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Well-Known Member

    You'll have to unload and seperate.
  6. sumpnz

    sumpnz Well-Known Member

    I hiked the Canyon last May. The group I was with (4 guys and 1 gal) started at the Hermit Trail (farthest west of the trails on the South Rim). We hiked to Monument Creek (picked up the Tonto trail to get there) and camped for the night. The next day we went down to the Colorado River and then back to the camp site to pick up our packs and continue the hike to Indian Gardens. Camped the night there and then the next morning hiked out on the Bright Angle Trail. Total of close to 30 miles.

    Darn near killed me. Especially the hike up Bright Angel. I was the least fit of the group at 6' and 195#. Things that would have helped were: a) be in better shape - had I been 20# lighter and done more training to improve endurance it would have made a huge difference. b) have a real hiking backpack and sleeping bag - never underestimate the value of purpose built equipment. c) walking sticks - these make a huge difference in the load taken by the thigh muscels and the knees, especially in such steep places like the GC.

    As for guns, as with all National Parks and National Monuments, they are verboten. If you're just passing through the park (i.e. it's not your destination - e.g. you're going hunting in the vicinity) if they're unloaded with the ammo kept seperate from the gun you'll be fine. If it's your destination you're not supposed to even have it in your car. That said, if you don't say anything who's to know. But I still can't recommend that course of action.
  7. Abe

    Abe Well-Known Member


    If you are going there in March you won't be going to The North Rim unless you plan on skiing there! :D The North Rim is 1400 feet higher than The South Rim and gets tons of snow. They typically close it in late October and it doesn't open again until sometime in May. When I did the Rim-to-Rim trip it was mid-October. It was in the 30's the morning I left the North Rim and twelve hours later when I got to Phantom Ranch it was in the mid-70's. When we got to the South Rim two days later it was in the 50's.

    I agree with sumpnz points...I was walking like Fred Sanford when I got down to Phantom Ranch. :D I was very thankful I had one walking stick and was wishing for two when I made the ascent up the South Rim after a day at the bottom. Don't overestimate your abilities unless you like really expensive unplanned helicopter rides!

    Enjoy your trip. If it's your first time there be prepared to be amazed. No picture\video you've ever seen even comes close. Get away from the crowds (which aren't going be a big issue in March) and sit and watch the sun work through The Canyon. Take the time to get up early and watch the sunrise and stay up late to watch the sunset. It's far and away my favorite place on Earth.

    And now back to firearms...I think the NPS rules on firearms are whacked. Setting aside personal defense from two-legged critters, it doesn't make a bit of sense in parks where there are four-legged critters that can kill you and eat you.

    - Abe
  8. answerguy

    answerguy Well-Known Member

    Uhmmm....that's called crutches.:neener:
  9. Mark in California

    Mark in California Well-Known Member

    Go By Air

    My wife and I were to the Grand Canyon last October. There is a indian tribe that has both top and bottom canyon reservation land. They can and do fly into the Grand Canyon. The feds can not stop them since they stay over their own property. You just buy a ticket and go. They do not offer sight seeing flights, only trips down to the canyon and back up.
  10. Harry Tuttle

    Harry Tuttle Well-Known Member

  11. gazpacho

    gazpacho Well-Known Member

    Yes, all National Parks are off limits to firearms, but not all lands controlled by the National Park Service are. Both the Lake Mead National Recreational Area and the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Prohibit LOADED firearms. The signs posted at the "park" entrances specifically mention "loaded firearms are prohibited". In a fit of pure genius one day I pointed to the sign and asked a park ranger, "only loaded firearms?" He grimaced at me and quoted the sign verbatim. In those areas, I now carry a Ruger Sp101 357 and loose ammo. It's better than nothing. Oh, in some jurisdictions, carrying a loaded magazine or speedloader along with an unloaded gun is the same as carrying a loaded gun, hence the loose ammo.
  12. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Well-Known Member

    Near the bottom between the north rim and phantom ranch, there's a little side trail that leads to a little three-tier waterfal (Ribbon Falls?). It's an easy mile or two, well worth the detour time.

    Walking out of that canyon is a bear. North or South, they're both hard hikes. The north rim is certainly more scenic, much greener.

    Gun? Who would want to carry the extra weight out of that pit?

  13. LAK

    LAK Well-Known Member

    It won't replace a firearm; but a flare gun might be better than no gun. It is a valuable signalling device in any case and essential going into any remote area IMO. That, a knife or three and a good walking staff.


  14. Smurfslayer

    Smurfslayer Well-Known Member

    Gaz: You'd better actually have a real look at 36 CFR regulation 2.4.

    Carrying the weapon is it's own distinct violation.

    You are allowed to have weapons in the National Parks, you may only have them loaded in a dwelling. This includes private property within the parks.

    Before you go into park specific rules, US v. Lofton - Superintendents may not suspend this or any other provisions of the CFR.

    That, among other peskly, nettlesome, tiny issues like due process of law, total usurpation of the ability of a citizen to defend themselves... is why the petition to amend this regulation was submitted, and is currently under consideration.
  15. Boogyman

    Boogyman Well-Known Member

    When I lived in Washington State I had a CCW. I was driving through North Cascades National Park when I was pulled over for exceeding the "recommended safe speed" by a Park Ranger. When he asked if I had a weapon I said "yes, and a permit" and he ordered me out of the car and removed it from the holster. I showed him my CCW. He then got on his radio and did every check he could on both me and my weapon.
    I then pointed out that though I was in a National Park, I was traveling on a STATE highway (20) with no intent to stop anywhere inside the park, my destination was outside the park boundaries, therefore I was still protected under state law.
    He went back and got on the radio for another 20 minutes, came back and returned my weapon, then the cartridges, and told me only Park Rangers were supposed to have guns in the park and to "get the hell out of here".
    I don't know what the law is, but I suspect if I had been clearly breaking it I wouldn't have gotten off so easy. I think his superior on the radio probably told him to let me go, probably because they were'nt sure themselves and didn't want the hassle in court.
    Hey, whether I was right or not, it worked!

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