Hikes in Grand Canyon National Park

Region in Arizona, United States

Grand Canyon Hikes

Grand Canyon hikes are a truly life changing experience, as it's hard to fathom just how vast it is! The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic sights in the whole of the United States, a dramatic crease in the desert landscape that surrounds it. This plunging gorge was sculpted by the Colorado River and in some places is over a mile deep, creating a mind-bending landscape that appears to defy nature. A trip to the Grand Canyon is a must for all true adventurers, and Grand Canyon hikes are the best way to experience the landscape!

Hiking in the Grand Canyon National Park is centered on the canyon itself, but there are many different trails to choose from that are suitable for hikers of all levels. From the iconic South Kaibab Trail to the epic Rim-to-Rim hike, there are plenty of Grand Canyon hikes to keep even the most adventurous traveller happy. The rugged trails and jaw-dropping landscapes mean that you’ll be well rewarded for your efforts, and this is a hiking trip likely to remain etched in your memory for years to come.

Hiking in the Grand Canyon National Park is also a wonderful way to learn more about the fascinating geology of the region. The steep canyon walls tell the story of millions of years of the earth’s history, with colorful layers of sedimentary rock that give us fascinating insights into the environmental history of the region. Step back in time millions of years and explore the earliest history of the development of our planet on one of the many Grand Canyon hike son offer!

This incredible natural wonder is on almost every hiker’s bucket list. To give you a little inspiration for your next hiking adventure, we’ve put together a list of all our favorite Grand Canyon hikes, together with some top tips on how to enjoy the canyon. Read on to find out more!

Types Of Hiking In The Grand Canyon National Park

As the name suggests, the Grand Canyon is the destination for some truly epic hikes in an epic landscape – ideal if you’re a keen adventurer looking for a bit of a challenge. Hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon is no mean feat, and you’ll certainly need plenty of energy and stamina for the steep climb back up to the top. However, this can be an immensely rewarding experience, whether you choose to do it as a strenuous day hike or camp out for the night on the valley floor.

However, you don’t need to be an experienced hiker to enjoy all that this incredible natural gorge has to offer. There are lots of shorter, easy hikes in the Grand Canyon National Park that allow you to appreciate the majesty of the landscape without committing to a long, tough canyon hike. Kids will adore the fantastic viewpoints over the iconic landscape, and it’s a great opportunity to learn a little more about the geology and nature that makes this region so beautiful and distinctive. Grand Canyon hikes really are an incredible experience that are perfectly suited to all ages and skill levels.

Easy Hikes In The Grand Canyon National Park

Cape Royal Hike: This short, easy hike will take you along a paved path to one of the best viewpoints in the Grand Canyon National Park. The trail is dotted with fascinating information boards that tell visitors about the geology and biology of the region, but the real draw is the magnificent panorama from Cape Royal itself. You’ll have a view that extends across the canyon all the way to Desert View on the South Rim. This is one of our favorite easy hikes in the Grand Canyon National Park.

Family Hikes In The Grand Canyon National Park

South Rim Trail Hike: The South Rim Trail is the most popular route in the park, and with good reason. This relatively easy hike, passing from Grand Canyon Village with Hermits Rest Point, traces the flat valley bottom, making it an ideal route for hikers of all ages and ability. This is one of our favorite family hikes in the Grand Canyon National Park.

Day Hikes In The Grand Canyon National Park

Bright Angel Trail Hike: Beware – this challenging hike is not for the faint of heart! It’s a strenuous day out, but we think it’s one of the best day hikes in the Grand Canyon National Park. The initial descent offers incredible views over the canyon, and the landscape just keeps getting better and better until you reach the bottom and gaze upon the picturesque steep inner canyon.

Challenging Hikes In The Grand Canyon National Park

South Kaibab Trail Hike: This epic trail is one of the most challenging hikes in the Grand Canyon National Park, and should only be attempted as a day hike if you’re an experienced, fit hiker! However, the rewards make all the effort worthwhile, with views over this incredible, otherworldly landscape. To make this trail a little easier, split it over two days and camp at the Bright Angel Campground.

Best Hikes In The Grand Canyon National Park

Santa Maria Springs Hike: This hike in the western tip of the Grand Canyon passes by some impressive rock formations, as well as offering wonderful views over the canyon edge. The path descends steeply down a series of switchbacks before reaching the flat valley bottom, and the Santa Maria Springs. Although the climb back to the trailhead is steep and arduous, this is one of the relatively short Grand Canyon hikes, and is a great way to spend a morning in the park.

Cape Final Hike: This short, easy hike is one of the lesser-known routes in the Grand Canyon National Park, meaning that it’s a good option if you want to escape the crowds. You’ll also enjoy a fantastic panorama of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. It’s possible to extend this hike into an easy overnight backpacking trip, perfect for families and beginner hikers!

Grandview Trail Hike: The steep descent into the eastern section of the Grand Canyon is a little challenging, but the views along the way are simply spectacular. Your destination is Horseshoe Mesa, a plateau that juts out into the canyon. Make sure to bring plenty of water, as there is little shade in the later stages of the hike, and it can get hot underneath the afternoon sun!

Bright Angel Point Hike: The route to Bright Angel Point is a wonderful short hike for all the family! The views are simply remarkable, with a panorama that extends across the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, and the North Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails that weave their way down the into the gorge. The path is well maintained but steep, so not suitable for strollers.

Shoshone Point Hike: Hikes in the Grand Canyon National Park can often be crowded, but this short, easy hike is usually much quieter than the other routes listed here. The destination is an incredible viewpoint, where you can gaze out at the remarkable scenery from the viewpoint – a white, jutting rock that hangs over the canyon. This is one of the best places in the Grand Canyon National Park for a picnic!

Dripping Springs Hike: This secluded, shady hike is perfect for a hot day, as you’ll enjoy plenty of shade from the warm sun. The trail passes through a lush valley, and you’ll need to negotiate some tricky places where cacti and plants have invaded the path, making you feel as though you’re on a real adventure. The destination is a picturesque spring, with water dripping from the mossy roof of a stone alcove.

When Is The Best Time To Go Hiking In The Grand Canyon National Park?

Although some parts of the Grand Canyon National Park (such as the South Rim) are open year-round, the main hiking season runs from April to mid-October. Outside this time, the North Rim is subject to snowy conditions and the trails are closed. The summer months of July and August can be extremely warm, making uncomfortable conditions for hiking, and at this time the park can often be saturated with visitors. As a result, we think that the best time to go hiking in the Grand Canyon National Park is spring or autumn. Early spring is ideal as the weather is still cool, wildflowers adorn the trail, and there are fewer crowds in the most popular areas of the park. However, some areas around the North Rim are likely to be closed. In autumn, the fall colors add an extra layer of beauty to this already spectacular landscape.

Other Outdoor Activities In The Grand Canyon National Park

The best way to appreciate the majesty of the Grand Canyon is on foot, but in addition to hiking, there are many other outdoor activities in the Grand Canyon National Park! There are many opportunities for cycling around the park, including guided bike tours. Take advantage of the Colorado River and try your hand at whitewater rafting or smooth water trips on the river. It’s also a wonderful place for camping and backpacking, and there’s no better place to appreciate the beauty of the night sky than on a camping trip in the Grand Canyon National Park!

How To Plan A Trip To The Grand Canyon National Park

If the Grand Canyon National Park is on your bucket list, it’s time to start planning your adventure today! We’ve put together everything you need to know in our guide to planning a trip to the Grand Canyon National Park. In addition to information about when to go and where to stay, we’ve got plenty of ideas for how to spend the perfect day in the Grand Canyon National Park, and of course, our top 10 hikes. We’ve done the hard work to make sure your trip goes perfectly – all you need to do is grab your hiking boots and head out on one of the many amazing Grand Canyon hikes!

Frequently-Asked-Questions About The Grand Canyon National Park

How long does it take to hike down the Grand Canyon?
Whichever route you choose, it usually takes around four or five hours to reach the Colorado River and the valley floor. The ascent back to the top typically takes around seven or eight hours, which is why it’s not usually advisable to attempt an out-and-back hike to the canyon floor in one day unless you are very fit. Obtain a backcountry camping permit in advance and split your hike over two days.

Do you need hiking boots for the Grand Canyon?
The trails in the Grand Canyon National Park are typically uneven and therefore it’s advisable to bring sturdy hiking books with appropriate ankle support.

Is the Grand Canyon dangerous?
The vast majority of visitors to the Grand Canyon National Park enjoy their trip in safety and security. However, as with any wilderness area, accidents can happen, and therefore it’s important to take precautions. Water can be scarce on many trails, so make sure to bring plenty of drinking water to ensure you stay hydrated. Fatalities occur each year due to falls at the Grand Canyon, so take care when walking on the steep cliffs.

Are there bears in the Grand Canyon?
Black bears can be found in the conifer forests around the North Rim. However, encounters with humans are very rare.

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Best Hikes in Grand Canyon National Park

Open details for South Kaibab Trail

South Kaibab Trail

Very Hard
24.2 km
1,442 m
8-11.5h

The South Kaibab Trail is one of the hardest hikes in the Grand Canyon National Park and makes for an unforgettable challenge if you’re up to the task! You’ll be provided with incredible views over the park for most of the way and then enjoy some backcountry camping at the scenic Bright Angel Campground.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Bright Angel Trail

Bright Angel Trail

Very Hard
28.5 km
1,328 m
8.5-12h

Completing the Bright Angel Trail in one-day is only for the fittest of all hikers. We debated including this hike, as it is so dangerously tough. Better yet consider getting a backcountry camping permit and staying at the Bright Angel Campground! Even though it's a challenging hike, we think the Bright Angel Trail is one of the best hikes in the USA.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Dripping Springs

Dripping Springs

Moderate
11.3 km
703 m
4-5.5h

This less trodden trail leaves from Hermits Rest and bring you to a secluded and shaded spring that seeps down from a hole in the roof of a small overhang. This hike gets very little sun, and the solitude of the picturesque spring is well worth the physical effort!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.4
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for South Rim Trail

South Rim Trail

Easy
12.9 km
130 m
2.5-3.5h

The South Rim trail is easily the most popular hike in the park – it’s generally flat, connecting Grand Canyon Village with Hermits Rest Point and boasts fantastic views of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Shoshone Point Trail

Shoshone Point Trail

Very Easy
3.5 km
81 m
1h

The Shoshone Point Trail is a fantastic less travelled easy hike to gain some much-needed solitude from the crowds of Hermits Rest and Grand Canyon Village. A mostly flat route leads you out to a magnificent viewpoint that you will most likely be sharing with under a dozen people!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.3
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Bright Angel Point

Bright Angel Point

Very Easy
1.6 km
88 m
0.5h

This popular trail leads from the North Rim Visitors Centre to the scenic Bright Angel Point over a paved path with minimal elevation gain. This is a perfect short trip for all levels of hikers, offering spectacular panoramic views.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Grandview Trail

Grandview Trail

Moderate
10.3 km
829 m
4-6h

The Grandview Trail may not be quite as “epic” as those that hike way down to the river, but nonetheless the steep climbing is easily worth the fantastic views of the eastern section of the Grand Canyon – and it’s typically less crowded, too!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.3
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Cape Final

Cape Final

Easy
6.9 km
192 m
1.5-2.5h

The mostly flat trail leading out to the rim of the stunning Cape Final isn’t the most well known, but it’s definitely well worth it. Here you will get absolutely fantastic panoramas of the Grand Canyon as well as views down to the Colorado River.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.3
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Santa Maria Springs

Santa Maria Springs

Easy
7.8 km
640 m
3-4.5h

While exploring the far western tip of the Grand Canyon, this hike descends towards a rest shelter with a quaint rocking chair as well as water for the horses. Stunning views of the edge of the canyon, as well as of impressive rock formations permeate the entire trail.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.6
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Cape Royal

Cape Royal

Very Easy
1.6 km
47 m
0.5h

At the end of the harrowing scenic drive, Cape Royal is definitely an impressive reward. A short hike along a paved path from the parking area brings you past Angel’s Window to stunning panoramic views of the Grand Canyon, including Grandview Point across the river.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.6
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.

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Open details for Perfect day in Grand Canyon National Park

Perfect day in Grand Canyon National Park

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Open details for Planning your trip to Grand Canyon National Park

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