If you’re with small children or seniors at the South Rim, a good short hike that will allow you to experience the inner canyon without stress or strain is to hike to the “First Tunnel” down the Bright Angel Trail. If you’re in relatively good health and are up for a little more of a challenge, Cedar Ridge on the South Kaibab Trail offers outstanding views. The hike is 3 miles round-trip, requiring 3 hours to complete on average. The Kaibab Trailhead is at Yaki Point, which is only accessible by shuttle.
On the North Rim, a good short hike is to Coconino Overlook down the North Kaibab Trail, 1.5 miles (2 hours average) round-trip. Another moderate inner canyon hike from the North Rim is Cliff Spring Trail. The trailhead is off the road near Cape Royal, and the hike is 2 miles round-trip along a forested ravine. It runs past a historic Anasazi rock granary to Cliff Spring, a spring that trickles from under a prominent rocky overhang.
If you want to take an overnight hike in the canyon, back-country camping permits or reservations at Phantom Ranch are required. Back-country permits and lodging at Phantom Ranch are also typically booked months ahead. If you’re interested in an overnight hike in the Grand Canyon, you must make your reservations ASAP. For more information on Phantom Ranch, visit www.grandcanyonlodges.com For information on obtaining a backcountry hiking permit, visit www.nps.gov/grca During the summer months, try to schedule any hiking during the cooler parts of the day. Avoid hiking in the inner canyon during the mid-day hours if at all possible. Better yet, schedule your trip for early spring, late fall or even winter.
CAUTION: No matter what time of year you visit, BE CAREFUL when engaging in ANY kind of physical activity, no matter how easy it may seem. The South Rim is 6,500’ above sea level; the North Rim is 1,000’ higher. If you plan to walk any distance longer than a mile, pack some nutritious, high-energy snacks. Carry water and DRINK IT.
Travel Tip 22 - Should I Spend My Whole Week There?
Strange as it may sound, if you have a week or more to work with, we don’t recommend you spend the entire time at the Grand Canyon. Why? Because there are so many other beautiful places in the area to see, like Sedona, Lake Powell, Zion, or Bryce Canyon. There’s also Monument Valley, Navajo National Monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Kodachrome Basin, and the Paria Canyon Wilderness.
Give us a call at (866) 944-7263 and we’ll happily help you coordinate a vacation that’s relaxing, rewarding and fun. Grand Canyon.com is also a member of the Grand Circle Association, another excellent source for information about travel destinations around the Grand Canyon area. Get their free travel guide at www.grandcircle.org