Explore the most popular beach trails in Grand Canyon National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
15 days ago

Completed the Escalante route in late April 2018 with my son. What a wonderful trail! Regarding safety, it was quite comfortable for us in every aspect (though the Papago Wall gave me pause - more of a steep pitch than I expected). Our biggest near miss was with a rattlesnake about 18 inches away as I walked past with it unseen, sleeping under a low ledge next to the trail between Papago and Hance rapids. Hearing its loud rattle and turning to see it coiled and raised to strike was quite scary, particularly considering the rescue implications if I had been bit. We did not find the stretch from Cardenas to Papago intimidating, in spite of other trip reports. It really was quite comfortable walking. Poles are a must, but I never backpack without them on any trail. The most challenging part of the trip for me was hiking down Tanner midday in the heat – we weren’t able to get started until 9 AM and hiked until 4:00 arrival at Tanner beach with few shade opportunities. The hardest part for my son was hiking up from Horshoe Mesa the last day to the rim with a terrible sore throat. I started the trip with a terrible cold - he ended with it. So it goes! Temperatures down by the river were in the upper 80s during midday, and we carried 4-5 litres of water each, particularly important heading down the Tanner trail. Better to carry more than you need than less, as I learned last time I backpacked in the canyon! We adopted a successful strategy for beating the heat: started hiking by 5:45 AM, hiked until about 10:30, stopped to nap, read, sketch in the shade until about 4:30pm, and then hiked until dusk. Wouldn’t do it any other way - that midday heat is so depleting. We left at 9:00am on a Monday morning, and camped at Tanner Beach night 1. We hiked Tanner-Escalante Creek and rested in shade till 4:30, then hiked to Hance Rapids to camp for night 2 (thus doing the entire Escalante portion in a day). Day 3 hiked to Hance Creek, rested, then up to Horseshoe Mesa for night 3. Topped out on the rim at Grandview about 10:30 AM on day 4, Wednesday. A kind tourist couple gave us a ride back to our car at Lipan Point. My son and I both wore Altra Lone Peak trail shoes, and we’re so glad we did. They kept our feet comfortable, not too hot, handled the terrain really well, and were far preferable for us than hiking boots. The Escalante Route is definitely an expert trail, but if you are an experienced backpacker, it’s comfortable and really wonderful. Route finding skills (cairns are primary guides on this trail) and map + good trail beta printed out are a must. I’ve done a number of trails in the canyon, and this was my favorite.

19 days ago

The bomb!!

Did this hike at the end of April. Road getting out was pretty serious. Definitely need some ground clearance. We were expecting to pay $25 bucks to on the Havasupai reservation but nobody was at the gate so we just went through. Great views at the trailhead. As should be expected, the trail is steep with lots of loose rock. Very easy to slip. Took 4 liters going down and cached 2 at the edge of the esplanade. Also had a filter to refill at the river. We camped at the river on a nice little beach. Had packed an inflatable raft to cross to the north side which we did (had to put in about a 1/4 mile down river to avoid some rapids). Explored the north side a bit before heading up river and crossing back to the south. My garmin recorded almost 8 miles to the river. Left at 4am to hike out and caught sun on the first climb and the esplanade. Lots of good shade on the second climb. It was a good hike with great views. I think it took us 3-4 hr going down and 6-7 going up (with an hour break at the esplanade).

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked down a week ago in 4 in of snow. Take your time. Gorgeous hike!!

this was one of the hardest trails I've done but so worth it!

this was an amazing hike!

hiking
3 months ago

backpacking
4 months ago

I completed this trail with my wife in November of 2015 and found it challenging but very rewarding. We chose to hike out through New Hance trail. Portions of this are much more route than trail with a lot of exposure but if you keep your wits about you it is a very rewarding hike.

hiking
5 months ago

Our last hike in Grand Canyon. We did it as a day hike, but it was november so probably easier. We were a bit tired from two previous day hikes down the river but it was very manageable. Unlike South-Kaibab-to-bright-angel and Hermit-trail, we were exposed to the sun for most of the hike. Still, being november and having planned accordingly, that was not a big problem. You see the tower for almost all the hike which is funny. The view on the river is very different than closer to the village - it's worth going. Also, I suggest you try to find some vintage point as you go back up - the best views were actually not from down at the beach but before (close to the end on a butte, and also about halfway - sorry it's hard to describe where exactly). At the trailhead, it said you need to do some pathfinding, that the trail is not well marked and not well maintained. I have no clue why they say that - sure it's not a "highway" like bright angel, but it is very easy to follow.
Despite doing these other hikes that I mentionned, I felt this was still worth it!

backpacking
6 months ago

I'm an intermediate hiker, so this is the most intense hike I've done. The views are insanely gorgeous. Going downhill really took a toll on my knees because I thought I was too cool to pull them out. Cold at the top, much warmer at the bottom. First steep section is very shady, once it flattens out is pretty much continual exposure nearly all the way to the end. One really cool thing is that you're able to see the desert tower for the majority of the hike, it's a great land mark to see how far you have gotten.

The second day we went up on the escalante trail in search for the "Indian fort ruins" we had heard about from passerbys. I believe we missed it we went too far into the hills when the trail to it splits off early into the hills. I've tried my best googling pictures of it and now I know it might just be the most ruined ruin I've ever seen. If you look at it you can be forgiven for thinking it's just a pile of rocks.

Heading back up was a strong lesson teaching me about my in experience. With just 1 day of rest my body had not fully recovered from the trek down. (You'll want to get more than a days rest while down there). We got an incredibly late start. 10am at the entrance to the trailhead at the river. Like I said there's no shade anywhere in the lower parts which is why you want to get this done really early if you're going up. At noon we crawled under a rock for lunch. Any shade you do see you'll probably find someone else resting there because they are so few and far in-between.

We reached the final flat area before the final steep segment at the top at 5pm. I unfortunately was the one slowing our group down with my breaks. If you are going up you should reach this area much much earlier. It was getting dark (sun gets blocked from our position much earlier than dusk due to being the canyon ) so we decided (against park rules) to camp a little ways off trail.

The next day we up and ready at 6am to finish off the last leg of the trail but my exhaustion was really getting to me. The climb up was so slow that I really feel it was the correct decision to camp midway. We had 3/4th of a mile left on the trail when a park ranger caught up to us was able to immediately deduce that we camped on the trail. We were chastised for our overly aggressive hiking plan (listed as against recommendation in our file) and then properly fined for the extra day camping.

Reaching the top felt really great. You see tourists all over by the desert tower but they'll never to get the views that you get on the tanner trail. There's nothing like that first time we climbed around one the cliffs and then suddenly the Colorado river comes into view in its full glory. So stunning. Stop by the binoculars on the desert tower and take a look at trail you just finished and check out where the hikers who are going down hill while you are ascending are now.

horseback riding
7 months ago

Rode my horse down my first adventure below the rim, which was a real treat. This trail is rated hard due to two things - steepness and elevation. Otherwise, the trail is well maintained and well marked. GPS does not work in the canyon! My Garmin said I did 24 miles to get from the North Rim to Bright Angel campground. Stayed at Bright Angel campground at the bottom, then went back up the way I came.

There are water spigots available every 2-3 miles from the rim to Cottonwood campground. From Cottonwood campground to Bright Angel campground, the trail is gently rolling and there is Bright Angel creek to filter water if you need it.

Beautiful views! I plan on doing rim-to-rim next year, also on my horse!

I didn't hike the whole thing, just to the bottom of the canyon and back. Make sure to bring plenty of water, you get easily dehydrated on this trail.

Beautiful views. You can get lulled into going down further than you prepared for. From the bridge to rim, pretty steep switchbacks.
Very challenging but worthwhile.

hiking
Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Challenging trail with the steepness and loose gravel. Footing can be a dodgy so the descent requires some extra time planning and strategizing for safety. The descent is a bit quad-jellying and some scrambling is required. Trekking poles were helpful for balance. Trail can be difficult to follow, but pretty well marked with cairns if you pay close attention. Switchbacks are narrow. The ascent was actually easier than the way down (not as much issue with loose gravel/rocks and not as technical) and took the same amount of time for us (over 2 days). Some additional squat/lunge training probably would have made my hike more enjoyable/ recovery easier but as a first time Canyon hiker and backpacker, I'd say the trail was difficult and physically challenging, but doable. Definitely not as bad as my google searching led me to believe prior to the trip- hence this review!

hiking
Tuesday, May 02, 2017

I must say, comparing this trail to all other trails I have done, in GC it is the most difficult. I slid on the loose dirt/scree 8 times in the descent, which is unheard of since my shoes are made for trails and have great traction AND I was using poles. There was alot of boulder climbing, and a few areas with obscure perception re: how to stay on the trail. The climb is a 5180 foot elevation ascent, which I would not consider "moderate". There was ample shade on descent and ascent, gorgeous reward at the river, and beautiful and different views of the canyon. I would do it again but would advise other's to consider it a most difficult trail. For more details on this trail check out: http:home.znet.com/schester/grand_canyon/trails/
hance.html

hiking
Tuesday, May 02, 2017

This trail shouldn't be rated as Moderate, it's the most difficult trail in terms of steepness and loose rocks/scree I've been on yet in the GC. For a comparison, hiked Grandview 3 weeks earlier out and back. This hike is listed as steep and more difficult. In my opinion it's accurate, but not as difficult as New Hance. DO NOT underestimate this rating! We did this hike to the CO River and back the same day 4/29/17 in 11 total hours counting the time spent at the CO River. Four hours down, one hour at the river and six back up the ascent. It's worth every bit of sweat as the views are spectacular. The stillness and solitude are breathtaking, gives you the concept how very small we truly are compared to the natural surroundings. Preparation, fitness and hiking experience can't be stressed enough to truly enjoy this beautiful hike......

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Really steep in places but I loved the trail! I would do it again. Just make sure that one of the group members knows how to backpack and you should be fine!

My favorite hike on the planet. This was our 2nd time in the Canyon and worth every mile and hour to get there and get it done. We stretched it to 4 days staying at Bright Angel the 1st and 3rd nights and Cotton wood the 3rd. 1st day late start to Bright Angel, 2nd to Cottonwood, 3rd Cottonwood to north rim and back to Cottonwood and unfortunately on the 4th from Bright Angle back to the truck. By far, the most difficult and most enjoyable hike to date. Around every corner there is something else beautiful to enjoy and take a pic of. By far the 3rd day was longer and most difficult climbing out of the north rim and dropping back in to and from Cottonwood. We paused to have a pizza and a cold one on the North Rim. The permits for the canyon are definitely a hassle but don't let it stop you. I would definitely like to go back and spend 7-10 days on a longer hike.

Helluva challenge. Did in early June under excessive heat warning as per of a r2r hike that started on south kaibab. Hot in the bottom be sure to move through the box during a cool part of the day. Water dips at ribbon falls and pump house stop are a must. If coming up to the north just take the last 1.5 from real slow and rock this- one of the most glorious hikes in America.

backpacking
Thursday, June 02, 2016

Can't believe this trail wasn't already on alltrails.com. We started at Lipan point and hiked Tanner Tail to Tanner Rapids where we had our first camp. From there we had a very short day to our second camp at Cardenas Creek. If I were to do it again I would have camped at Escalante Creek on day two. From Cardenas Creek we made the route to Hance Rapids for camp three. This day was awesome and is what the Escalante Route is all about. The area before Escalante Creek is described as being a 4'-6' trail with an extreme exposure. Many make a great deal about this section. While the exposure is there the trail is comfortable hiking. One would have to make a stupid mistake to fall, however a fall would be fatal. I lost sleep the night prior thinking about it and once hiking this section was mad at myself for worrying. 75 mile Creek is a real treat and may be one of the top highlights of the trek. At the mouth of 75 mail Creek we took the high route to Papago Creek. The first cairn is at the mouth of the canyon. The high route is well marked and easy to follow to Papago. The Papago Wall was a treat and was a pleasant scramble from ledge to ledge. The Papago Slide was what i would consider the most technical portion of the hike but was not difficult. After the slide the relatively flat trail along the river to Hance Rapids was a nice way to cap the day before hiking at one of the excellent camps at Hance Rapids. On day four we followed the Tonto trail to Hance Creek. The campsite at Hance Creek was beautiful and was shaded by a very large tree. On the final day we made the trek up Tonto to its intersection with Grandview. Then followed Grandview to the top and our vehicle. The entire trail was easy to follow and well cairned but definitely difficult. I do not hike many trails more than once but would spring at the opportunity to enjoy this trek again.

backpacking
Thursday, June 02, 2016

Hiked on our way in before continuing on the Escalante Route and finally up Grandview Trail. The Tanner is an excellent trail and very easy to follow. I would still bring a map and pay attention to the topography as other unnamed trails spur off at points however it is clear which is the main trail. Great views the entire was to the Colorado.

hiking
Wednesday, December 30, 2015

amazing hike.

Hiked North Kaibab trail from Phantom Ranch to Cottonwood camp on day 2 of my trip, it was Hot! Temps in the 90s again. Then from Cottonwood camp to the north rim and back to Cottonwood on day 3. Got some relief from the heat on day 3, but it got gusty in the canyon on the way down, if it's windy stay on the inside of the trail the gusts could blow you off the trail and there are plenty of places where it's a 300 plus foot fall. Then hiked back to Phantom Ranch on day 4 and had some nice cold beers before heading out on South Kaibab day 5.

hiking
Friday, November 07, 2014

I hiked down to Cottonwood Campground from the North Kaibab Trailhead for a one night campout. I HIGHLY recommend using trekking poles. The way down is not very hard,but the impact on the knees is grueling especially if you're carrying a 20+ pound rucksack. Coming back up the 7 miles the next day took significantly longer (6.5 hours)and we consumed much more food and water so be sure to carry plenty or refill at the designated "drinking water" areas. During this time of year they shut off the water at faucets and fountains,so bring water filtration system,for,replenishing,your bottles,at these,natural water sources. The trails are well maintained,and this hike is a wonderful adventure. One of the best and most challenging I've done yet!

hiking
Thursday, October 16, 2014

We did this hike as a 2 day hike to make it easy on ourselves. This is NOT an easy trail. I had read up on the trail and was a bit concerned about how steep and narrow it was supposed to be. You really never know until you arrive. I thought it was steep but probably no worse than the South Kaibab. It was nice and cool at the top. We stopped for the night at Cottonwood and left early the next morning for Phantom Ranch. After Cottonwood the trail is not as flat as people said, but it is more rolling hills than climbs.The box was beautiful and people were enjoying themselves, taking pictures. The difference from the North side of the canyon to the South side is wild. Something you have to experience to appreciate.

hiking
Thursday, May 22, 2014

Excellent trail. Do not attempt if unprepared. Many parts of the trail are difficult to follow to the inexperienced. Weather can change drastically because of the elevation changes and the topography. You go approximately half a mile down into the hot canyon (desert) from a snowy rim. The vistas are bewitching, the evenings and sunsets are spectacular and exotic. A full moon from inside the Canyon, setting over the buttes or the rim will leave an indelible mark in your memory and your heart. Plan carefully and make sure that you are light enough on the way out, you will have to climb that same route back without running out of water. Therefore strongly consider caching (hiding) water on the way out. If you needed me to clarify caching, you probably will need help someone to help you on this one. Do not attempt alone, unless you are very experienced AND prepared. You will traverse portions of the trail fully exposed to cliffs that may land you on the river, with a narrow trail slanting outwards. You will exert yourself physically on the way out and look at the beauty around you to incessantly remind you: that's why I chose to do this, isn't it?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

This us NOT an easy trail by any means!

hiking
Monday, April 29, 2013

Tough but excellent backpacking trip. Camping by the Colorado river is beautiful and the scenery on the entire trip was amazing! We spent one night on the trail on the way down to the river, two nights at the river, and one night on the trail on the way back to the rim. There is no water anywhere on the trail other than the river, and it is very silty. A good filtration system is a must.

hiking
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Great Hike. One of the more challenging hikes I've done with a 4-5 day pack. This trail has great views and it has a 1.5 mile off-route to Ribbon Falls. Ribbon Falls is deafinately worth the trip even if your tired. I would recommend dropping your pack off in a bush though, to take a load off your legs, but bring your camera and a snack. This trail has a 2 Stretches that are about 5 miles long without water. One is down near the colorado river and the other is up near the rim. If I had one piece of advice for this trail, it is, Don't Underestimate Your Water Consumption!!! The lower 7 or so miles is pretty easy with some ups and downs. The top 5 miles is very rigorous, with never ending switchbacks, especially if it is your 2nd or 3rd day. I also recommend bringing extra snacks and water for other people you meet. Some will look like they're about to die from lack of preparation. If you take your time on this trail you will likely start before light and end after dark, but you should still take breaks. I'll the views a 5 out of 5 and I give the trail a 5 out of 5 because I like a challenge.

hiking
Sunday, September 02, 2012

We hiked this trail to roaring springs. Amazing views! My husband and i did the 11 mile round trip in about 9 hours. Hope to one day do this with the kids.

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