How to Prepare to Hike the Grand Canyon

How to Prepare to Hike the Grand Canyon
Of the more than five million people who visit the Grand Canyon every year, only a small percentage make the almost-10-mile trek to the bottom. Preparation for your journey will ensure that your trek from the pine tree-lined rim to the mighty Colorado River will not only be enjoyable, but safe as well.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Overnight pack Camping gear Hiking boots Hat Sunblock Snacks/Meals Water
  • Overnight pack
  • Camping gear
  • Hiking boots
  • Hat
  • Sunblock
  • Snacks/Meals
  • Water
 
Step 1
Design a workout plan and stick to it for at least two months before your trip. Hiking into and out of the Grand Canyon requires strength and endurance.
Step 2
Plan your adventure for spring or late fall. Winter in the Grand Canyon can be icy, while the summer months will be excruciatingly hot.
Step 3
Map out your route. If this is your first trip into the Grand Canyon, consider taking the Bright Angel Trail, which is considerably easier on the knees and back.
Step 4
Obtain backcountry permits for camping at Phantom Ranch and Indian Gardens. Consider dividing your trip into two nights, either at the bottom of the canyon for both nights or halfway up the trail at Indian Gardens for one or both nights. Cabins are available at Phantom Ranch as an alternative to camping. Reservations are required.
Step 5
Dress in layers. When hiking from the top to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, you cover 4,780 feet of elevation change. The weather can change quickly, so be prepared to remove and replace layers often.
Step 6
Write a list of items that you will need for your trip, including a hat, sunblock and snacks. Wear broken-in hiking boots with quick dry socks.
Step 7
Pack your backpack with heavier items close to your body to help balance the weight as you hike. Hikers also can have their equipment packed in by mule.
Step 8
Check the weather and trail conditions with the backcountry office before leaving.
Step 9
Start hiking early in the morning if you go during the summer months. Remember to take frequent breaks near water or shade during the middle of the day.
Step 10
Drink plenty of fluids and eat snacks during the hike to keep your body hydrated and to maintain your energy level.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Use a set of trekking poles to help reduce the impact on your knees when going down into the canyon. Start early and take your time so you can enjoy the hike without having to rush. If you plan on eating dinner at Phantom Ranch make reservations ahead of time.
 
Use a set of trekking poles to help reduce the impact on your knees when going down into the canyon.
 
Start early and take your time so you can enjoy the hike without having to rush.
 
If you plan on eating dinner at Phantom Ranch make reservations ahead of time.
 
Avoid hiking alone. Know your destination and do not overestimate your abilities. Take a five- to seven-minute break for every hour of walking. Remember to stay hydrated, eat often and rest your legs. Always tell someone of your itinerary before setting out on your trip.

Article Written By Patricia Poulin

Patricia Poulin is a freelance writer based out of the western slope of Colorado. Poulin's travels and insight have chronicled in print media resources, such as "Inside Outside" and "Breathe" magazine. She is also a regular contributor for other various publications including "USA Today." Poulin holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Don't Miss a Thing!

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

FREE UPDATES

Subscribe

We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.