The Grand Canyon area was once the home of the Pueblo people. These Native Americans built camps inside the large canyon for shelter. Other native tribes that lived in or near the canyon include the Pai, the Dineh, the Paiutes, the Cohonina, the Sinagua, the Havasupai and the Hualapai. Many European travelers and missionaries explored the Grand Canyon in search of riches and to convert the local tribes.
Hiking in the Grand Canyon is exciting but requires adequate preparation and equipment. Many of the canyon's trails are long, steep and rocky. The temperatures can reach extreme highs during the summer months. Therefore, it is important for hikers to have hiking boots, clothing that breathes, sun protection and plenty of water. Areas near the Grand Canyon's North Rim experience extremely cold temperatures, often dipping to below freezing in winter months. In this area, it is wise to have equipment and clothing that is made for retaining heat.
Versatile hiking gear is ideal for the Grand Canyon because it is an area of extremes. The temperature can change drastically the deeper you travel into the canyon. The air is extremely dry and the sun is often unbearable, regardless of the time of year. Use a wide brimmed hat to protect your face and neck from the sun, preferably one with a chin strap to guard against the strong winds in the area. Contact lenses are usually not practical for the Grand Canyon because of the wind and dust. A light colored long sleeved shirt is best while hiking because it will reflect the sunlight and help prevent excessive sweating. During fall and winter months, a synthetic wicking under layer and a full-zip fleece sweater are recommended. Shorts are fine for hiking short distances, but long pants are ideal for more intensive hikes. Hiking boots and special hiking socks are also essential. Carry a lightweight backpack that is roomy enough for your first aid kit, sweater, compass, toiletries, food and water. If you are going to be camping, you will need a much larger pack to include your tent, sleeping bag and other camping equipment.
The Grand Canyon has extremely rugged terrain. The climate is similar to deserts but can vary depending on the specific location. The Colorado Plateau is mostly composed of ancient rock formations that are extremely large and colorful. However, beware of loose rocks that can cause you to lose your balance.
Hiking at the Grand Canyon is very challenging but is also very rewarding. It has some of the most beautiful views in the world, so be sure to bring your camera. Additionally, hiking in the canyon is very good exercise to build strength and endurance throughout the body. Taking the right gear will help you enjoy your experience to the fullest.