Hiking is one of the most rewarding activities that you can do in any national park, and especially in the Grand Canyon. Whether you are a first time visitor to the park, or a veteran visitor looking to make the most of your trip, finding one (or more!) day hikes in the Grand Canyon is almost certainly on your to-do list. We have compiled a list of some of the most popular, most beautiful, and most enjoyable hikes in the Grand Canyon, for hikers of all different backgrounds and experience levels. Hopefully, this list can help you find the right hike for you and your family.
The Grand Canyon is a spectacular hiking location, and there are so many different trails for you to explore! There is a wide variety of hikes for all experience levels and scenic desires depending on your own personal preference. There are hikes on both the North and South Rims, so be sure to check both out to see what your options are. One thing you can be sure of, regardless of what hike you take, is that you will experience the incredible beauty that the Grand Canyon holds.
Now, the Grand Canyon is, of course, in a desert terrain. There will be some challenge in most of the hiking trails that are available. Another thing to take into account is the insane heat of the Grand Canyon. We don’t recommend doing any physical activity, including hikes, during the intense heat of the day. Be sure that you bring a lot of water, and wear breathable clothing, to ensure your safety and comfort during your visit.
For the rugged visitor to the Grand Canyon, there are backpacking options offered as well. You can make your way through the Bright Angel, South Kaibab, and North Kaibab trails for an incredible and beautiful backpacking experience. Be sure to visit the Backpack Information Center for more information about backpacking in the canyon.
Explore this famous attraction with our list of the top hiking trails at the Grand Canyon.
- South Rim Trail: The South Rim Trail is one of the most popular hiking trials in the Grand Canyon, and is where many visitors first lay eyes on this incredible landmark. This hike is a fairly easy one, a 13 mile paved route, with minimal elevation change and shuttle stops along the way. There are many incredible viewpoints and landmarks that can be seen from the South Rim Trail, including Mather Point and Powell Point. This trail connects all of the other trailheads along the South Rim that delve into the canyon, making this beautiful trail a perfect starting point for your experience in the Grand Canyon.
- South Kaibab Trailhead: The South Kaibab trailhead is a very popular hike, which goes down into the canyon itself. It is recommended to get an early start on this trailhead, to allow for plenty of hiking time and to avoid crowds. The trail itself drops 5,000 feet in 7 miles, and leads hikers down to the Colorado River. Make sure to bring plenty of water- there are no water sources along the trail, and there is little shade. This trailhead can be used for day hiking or for backpacking into the canyon, depending on how long you have and where you want to stop. Either experience is highly worth it, as the trail provides beautiful views of the canyon that you can’t see from the rim.
- On the other side of the canyon, the North Rim, Bright Angel Point is a very popular introductory trail. This trail spans only a half mile, but leads to some of the most incredible views in the canyon. The trail begins at the Visitor Center and Lodge on the North Rim.
- Back on the South Rim, the Hermit Trail is an alternative trail available to visitors who want to hike down to the Colorado River. This trail is often less crowded than the South Kaibab Trailhead- but, it is also a more challenging hike. This hike is recommended for more experienced hikers, as it drops 2,000 feet in the first 2.5 miles. This, as you can imagine, is very challenging on the way back up!
- Want to hike the Grand Canyon in a single day? The Rim to Rim trail can help you achieve that goal! As you can imagine, this trail is long and difficult. It spans 24 miles, gains 4,500 feet of elevation, and should only be attempted by experienced distance hikers. The trail connects the north and south rims, and an early start is essential to complete the route in one day. Hikers often begin at the South Kaibab Trailhead, then continue down to the river, passing Phantom Ranch, and meeting the North Kaibab Trail that takes hikers to the North Rim. Remember to figure out how to get back to your original starting point- there are shuttles available to take back to the other side of the canyon.
No matter your experience level or what kind of hiker you are, there is a hike in the Grand Canyon that suits your own personal style. Don’t miss out on a chance to experience the beauty of the Grand Canyon up close and personal!