Grand Canyon Hiking Trails
With some of the most spectacular views in the world, the Grand Canyon is truly a destination that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime. In this guide to seeing the Grand Canyon as a day hiker, we’re going to explore:
- Some of the most popular options for both Grand Canyon day trips and overnight stays
- Tips for making the most of your hiking trip, including how to stay safe and the best trails in the Grand Canyon
- Great ways to extend your Grand Canyon experience, including guided tours
Most first-timers describe the Grand Canyon as infinitely bigger, deeper, and more breathtaking than they ever could have imagined – so don’t be surprised if you find yourself speechless when you arrive at the canyon rim.
But while there’s no doubt that virtually any view of the Grand Canyon is an incredible one, hiking down into the canyon is the best way to get a true sense of the scope of its beauty.
Grand Canyon National Park Trip Styles
Before you start planning your hiking trip, you’ll want to think about the different types of Grand Canyon trips that are available:
- Backpacking in the Grand Canyon: Outfitted with a large backpack filled with all the necessities, you can make the trip down into the canyon and spend a night camping on its floor.
- Mule-supported trips into the Grand Canyon: For an easier hike, let one of the canyon’s friendly mule crews carry your gear for you while you soak up the surrounding scenery.
- Day hikes in the Grand Canyon: Whether you only have one day or several, you can combine hiking by day with comfortable accommodations at one of the rim’s hotels or resorts. Some visitors opt to stay in “basecamps” situated at the rim, where they have basic amenities, while staying close to the next day’s adventure.
How to Plan a Trip to the Grand Canyon National Park
If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, organizing your first trip can sometimes be a little confusing. Many people simply don’t realize just how vast the canyon is, with hundreds of miles separating the three main areas that visitors can experience.
First, you’ll need to decide which part of the canyon you’ll be visiting:
- The South Rim (part of the Grand Canyon National Park)
- The North Rim (part of the Grand Canyon National Park)
- The West Rim (owned and operated by the Hualapai Nation)
Then, you’ll need to decide how long to spend at the Grand Canyon. The $35 per vehicle entrance fee will get you a permit that lasts seven days, valid at both the North and South Rim. Even though you can absolutely enjoy a single-day visit to the canyon, we highly recommend planning for at least a few days to see everything the area has to offer.
Finally, map out your hikes and set aside time for at least one professional tour – our team will take you on an exciting Hummer drive so you can soak up the views, look for wildlife, snap photos, and learn all about the canyon’s history along the way.
Hiking in the Grand Canyon – Tips for Day Hiking in the Grand Canyon
If you’re considering a hiking trip in the Grand Canyon, here are some tips you’ll want to have on hand:
- Be well-prepared for varying weather conditions. The Grand Canyon experiences all four seasons and can range from chilly and snowy in the winter to very hot in the summer. Temperatures shift considerably depending on the elevation, with the canyon floor often averaging about 20-30 degrees warmer than the rim.
- Sun protection is a must. Sunscreen is absolutely a necessity, no matter what time of year you visit. Sunglasses and a sun hat are also recommended.
- Bring plenty of water. Dehydration is dangerous, and it’s not uncommon for hikers to require rescuing because they didn’t drink enough water. Generally, about one gallon per person is the recommended amount for a day hike.
When is the Best Time to Visit the Grand Canyon?
The best time to visit Grand Canyon National Park depends on a few factors, including which part of the rim you’re heading to. While the South Rim is open year-round, the North Rim is closed due to snow in winter and early spring.
Generally, spring and fall are the best seasons for going to the Grand Canyon. Temperatures are mild, and it’s typically less crowded than during the summer months.
Grand Canyon National Park – South Rim: South Rim Day Hikes
Bright Angel Trailhead to the Indian Garden Campground (8.8 miles, 5-10 hours)
- As one of the most famous trails in the park, this is a very safe option with multiple water fountains and a solid ranger presence.
- You’ll hike through 2 billion years of geology on a clear, well-maintained trail, traveling from massive rock formations to a lush oasis.
- There’s a free shuttle bus to take you to the trailhead, as well as a restaurant nearby.
South Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge (3 miles, 4-6 hours)
- This trail is the shortest route into the canyon’s depths, often less crowded than the Bright Angel Trail, and is a wide, well-maintained path the entire way.
- You’ll get to see panoramic views of the canyon as you hike, and you might even meet a few mule trains along the trail.
- Parking at the trailhead is limited, so take advantage of the free shuttle bus.
Trail of Time (1.3 miles, 1-2 hours)
- A flat, relatively easy hike that is part of the 13-mile Rim Trail offers gorgeous views and many informative signs for learning more about the canyon.
- This is a good option for families and is suitable for beginner hikers.
Grand Canyon National Park – North Rim: North Rim Day Hikes
Cape Royal Trail to Cape Royal (0.8 miles, 1-2 hours)
- Paved and flat, this hike is perfect for families, beginners, and even visitors in wheelchairs.
- Here, you can experience one of the park’s most sweeping views as you venture along a portion of the rim that juts into the canyon.
- A side trail takes you to Angels Window viewing platform, where you can get wow-worthy photos.
North Kaibab Trail to Roaring Springs (10 miles, 7-12 hours)
- Peaceful and uncrowded, this trail has lots of greenery and shady areas and is impressively well-engineered for an excellent hike.
- Year-round, you can see a waterfall emerging directly out of a cliff in the canyon.
- This hike is challenging and has steep drop-offs that aren’t ideal for hiking with children.
Grand Canyon West Rim – Hualapai Nation
There are few fewer trails at the West Rim, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit. Features like the Skywalk Glass Bridge, Guano Point, Hualapai Ranch, and the Eagle Point Viewpoint are just some of the things to do at the West Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Add a Hummer Tour to Your Grand Canyon Experience
Don’t just hike the canyon. Climb into a Hummer and let a professional guide show you every hidden corner and secret spot! Buck Wild Hummers offer a variety of Hummer Tour options, ranging from two-hour trips during the day to evening drives that will give you a front-row seat to a spectacular sunset. With us, you can see the canyon from completely new angles and learn about its history, animal inhabitants, geological formations, and so much more.
Discover a New Perspective of the Grand Canyon’s Majestic Beauty with Buck Wild Hummer Tours
Visiting this Natural Wonder of the World is an experience you’ll never forget, especially if you book a tour from Buck Wild Hummer Tours. We’re a local, family- and veteran-owned company with deep ties to the Grand Canyon, and our team is incredibly passionate about helping our guests make spectacular memories here.
Buck Wild Grand Canyon Terminal, 469 State Route 64, Suite A
Grand Canyon, AZ, 86023