South Rim Trail

Grand Canyon
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South Rim Trail

Distance: 8.0mi
Elevation: 427ft
Time: 1.5-2h

Difficulty Rating:

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

Getting there

Park in any of the many parking lots in Grand Canyon Village. Walk towards the Bright Angel Hotel. Though the trail continues to the east of the Village, our favourite part starts at the Bright Angel Hotel and continues west towards Hermits Rest. The trailhead can be found just past the bus stop for Hermits Rest

About

When to do

Spring and Fall, avoid summer heat

Backcountry Campsites

None

Toilets

At trailhead and the trail’s end

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

High

Route Type

One Way


Elevation


Detailed Description

This hike offers tons of variability as the Hermits Rest Bus makes a number of stops along the trail. You can hike for a while, then hop on the bus for a bit of a rest, then hike some more if you want! The bus makes all of its stops while going out towards Hermits Rest, but only three on the way back. For this reason we recommend hiking on the way out, then taking the bus on the way back, saving you time for more hiking!

The majority of the trail is almost entirely flat, featuring a variety of dirt and paved trails. Notably, the first leg of the hike has the steepest uphill section. Though it is short, those wanting to avoid it can simply take the bus to the first stop and continue on their way! The first section of the trail also yields views of the Bright Angel Trail leading down towards Phantom Ranch. For those looking to do this hike, this could be a fantastic way to scout out the route, as you do get a fantastic appreciation for the amount of elevation that you gain on that trail!

Several points along the trail hug the very edge of the rim of the canyon. These instances occur most frequently in the middle sections of the hike, though sporadically at others. At these points you will be granted full panoramas of the Grand Canyon. Even at some point you will be able to see the raging Colorado River, the whitewater rapids visible just under a mile up!

Additionally, there are points where the trail spurts you onto the road. At these points there are markers making sure the buses and cyclists won’t run you over. Don’t worry, these stints always last less than 100 yards, and the mild inconvenience is usually a telltale sign of fantastic views coming up!

Throughout the entire trail there are numerous signs which both tell you the distance to the next bus stop, as well as to Hermits Rest. These are great at helping you plan your rests, and also keep you motivated to keep going in the summer heat! On the note of heat, much of the trail is covered by trees and offers excellent shade throughout the majority of the day. Water can also be found at Hermits Rest as well as Grand Canyon Village, but nowhere along the hike. So on the hottest days pack a ton of water and plan to leave early!

The final two legs of the hike are paved, and though they don’t offer the best views of the Canyon, they are excellent if you want to bring your child and their stroller along for part of the route. Finally you will arrive at Hermits Rest, which has amazing views of the Canyon as well as a small snack bar and gift shop. This is also the trailhead for two of the other top 10 hikes! Hop on the bus that goes every 15 minutes and head back to find your car.

Insider Hints

  • Doing sections of this hike brings the difficulty grade down to a 1/5.
  • You can rent bikes in the village and bike along the Hermits Rest Road, another fantastic way to experience the trail.

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