dogs on leash
Grand Canyon National Park pretty much speaks for itself; anyone who has been there will know this. For those yet to go, the Grand Canyon will consistently make your jaw drop even for seasoned veterans of the park. It is no wonder it is one of the country's most popular National Parks. With limited time, you can drive along the rim (Most people visit the South Rim, as it is more accessible from many other destinations and has more of the park's highlights). If you are feeling the need to get some exercise, walk along the Rim Trail as long as you want before turning around or taking one of the man free shuttles back to the lodge or the restaurant overlooking the vast canyon. The best way to appreciate the canyon is from the bottom, usually with a trip to the Bright Angel campground along the South Kaibab Trail and the Bright Angel trail. DO NOT attempt a trip to the bottom and back in 1 day. Temperatures at the bottom can reach 110 degrees in the middle of the day, many people suffer from dehydration and heat stroke due to the dry climate. If attempting this (at least 2-day) hike, start very early in the morning to avoid the heat (do not hike between 10 and 2); By starting very early, you also get the added bonus of seeing the sunrise over the canyon walls, which will bring out some of the reddest rock you have ever seen. With more time to spare, there are several Native American reservations with tourist information, as well as several museums and ranger talks about the formation of this immense canyon, the history of its first inhabitants, and how the area is still changing today.
First time I saw the GC I looked at the bottom and said to myself "I have to go there...." It took a couple of years to find someone willing to go with me. My sons best friend Brian took off in 2006 on the trek with me. We actually did about 10 more miles than the description shows because it wouldn't let me log a 5 mile out and back hike past Phantom Point. We stayed at the Bright Angel campground for 2 nights. The GC is my favorite place to hike and I hope to go back . The views are the most incredible I've seen any place I've hiked. The 1st day we dropped in with shorts on and a little snow on the ground in April. Within an hour or 1500' or so it was comfortable and we were ecstatic just taking in the views. We ate that night at Phantom Ranch and it was very good just talking to other hikers. We were surprised to observe that most of the serious hikers present were women from 50-80. Two ladies that we sat next to were in their mid 70's and had done 7 hikes lasting 4-10 days together in the canyon in the last two years!!! Awesome... The next day we gave our knees a rest and did about a 12 mile hike past Phantom Point and came out the following day from Bright Angel campground. The views in the canyon were incredible with clouds in the sky every day. Every corner you go around is a photo op. We took 100's of pics and I'll post a few later. Even if you had been somewhere already the next time you see it in a different light condition it's simply more beautiful than before... If you've ever thought about doing the GC don't hesitate. At that point in my life it was the best and most difficult hike I'd done.... and it's still one of my 3 favorite places on the planet!
I've done Bright Angel three times now. Fantastic hike.
However, they're not kidding when they say "hard".
Unless you're a veteran badass, you'll be strained to do this trail in a single day. However, not impossible. My 2nd and 3rd completions were day trips.
Make sure you go early because after 9am the trail starts to get a little busy people then you would like when hiking off a high drop. This hike contains heavy wind gusts after the first .5 mile until the end of the trail. Be careful. It's not a hike for people that fear heights because there are no rails to hang on to.
Samantha E. on South Rim Visitor Center Trail
Excellent views of the canyon. Being able to bring my dog made it extra great. Be sure to have them on a good harness. There is a lot of wildlife out and about.
Fantastic hike into the Canyon. Wide open vistas, switchbacks galore, not too hairy for the faint of heart. Easy to get sucked into the canyon as it will beckon you deeper and deeper into its depths. Don't be taken in too deeply! We hiked to the switchbacks below Skeleton Point (3.8 miles down), and a couple of others in our party made it just past Tipoff, but they suffered from electrolyte depletion and muscle cramps on the ascent. We brought 3 liters of water to be safe, and plenty of snacks. Beware the squirrels at Cedar Ridge!