Grand Canyon Hiking Tips

The Grand Canyon is one of most popular tourist attractions in North America and is an awesome destination for hiking. The canyon is 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep. It overwhelms the senses through its magnificent size. The Grand Canyon has hundreds of miles of hiking trails, most departing from the South Rim Village or the North Rim Village. Hiking is a wonderful way to experience some of the canyon’s rich natural beauty, but remember that hiking into the Grand Canyon will test your physical and mental endurance, so please know and respect your own limitations.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Get to the canyon. The entire Canyon stretches for 277 miles, but most visitors enter through the North Rim or the South Rim. The best way to approach the South Rim is on Arizona Route 64. Visitors traveling from Flagstaff should drive northwest on US Route 180 to Valle. Here, US180 connects with Route 64, which continues north toward the South Rim. The Grand Canyon's east entrance is also very accessible. Visitors can take US 89 to Cameron, where it connects with AZ 64. From Cameron, the east entrance is 25 miles. To visit the North Rim take ALT US 89 to AZ 67.
Step 2
Gear up at a nearby city or town. Babbitt's Backcountry Outfitters, a popular grocery and supply store that offers quality backpacking gear and maps, is located at the South Rim entrance. Visitors can stock up in Flagstaff at Flagstaff Adventure Sports, which offers professional equipment for backpackers, mountain climbers and hikers.
Step 3
Pick your trail. Many trails and nature walks that wind through the Grand Canyon have spectacular views. These trails often encounter big horn sheep, deer, elk and even the rare California condor. Each trail is rated in difficulty based on distance, ruggedness, steepness and location. Many families prefer the Bright Angel Trail because it is a medium distance hike that has rest houses and Indian Gardens along the way. Families with small children love the South Kaibab Trail because it is only 1.5 miles long. Adventurous hikers can choose the longer, more rugged trails.
Step 4
Keep your eyes open. While hiking in the South Rim you will see the Grand Canyon Village, which has some beautiful historic buildings. Also, look for the famous watchtower. Hike on Hermit Road to find Hermit's Rest, a cool snack bar made of local stone and wood. On the North Rim, check out Bright Angel Point, Cape Royal and Point Imperial. Some great Native American reservations can be found in the canyon, too. The Havasupai Indian Reservation sits in the southwest region of the park, while Hualapai Indian Reservation is next to Lake Mead.
Step 5
Protect yourself from the extreme temperatures at the Grand Canyon. In the summer, wear clothing that will shelter you from the intense Arizona sun and strong winds. The winter brings extremely cold temperatures, especially in the bottom depths of the Canyon. Be sure to take lots of water because heat exhaustion due to dehydration is one of the biggest dangers of hiking in the Grand Canyon.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.