hikes in Grand Canyon National Park
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.
Hiking in the Grand Canyon National Park is centered on the canyon itself, but there are many different trails to choose from, suitable for hikers of all levels. From the iconic South Kaibab Trail to the epic Rim-to-Rim hike, there’s plenty here 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.
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 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, allowing 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.
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 relatively short hike is a great way to spend a morning in the Grand Canyon National 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 to the trail!
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.
The best hikes in Grand Canyon National Park
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