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

The best view!

Completed this hike in April 2018 and I don’t think anything can compare to the feeling of reaching Bright Angel Trailhead after hiking for 50 miles. We did a lot of research leading up to it with the help of the park rangers and the resources on the NPS website.

We got very lucky with the weather in April, but it’s important to know that it’s technically off-season so the water is shut off in certain places. Having a filter is a must! Our itinerary was South Kaibab trailhead to Cottonwood campground (Day 1, ~15 miles), Cottonwood to North Rim to Cottonwood (Day 2, ~15 miles), and Cottonwood to Bright Angel Trailhead (Day 3, ~16 miles). I also highly recommend hiking the extra distance (~4 miles there and back) to Bright Angel Point once you reach the North Rim trailhead. It will reward you with incomparable views of the canyon and it will be worth it, I promise!

Also, park your car at your finishing point (in this case, Bright Angel trailhead) or bring 2 cars. The last thing you’ll want to do is take a shuttle when you’re tired and sweaty!

44.7 miles completed in 29 hours 21 min. South Kaibab - North Kaibab - Bright Angel. Beautiful and very intense. Bucket list ✅

May 19 2018. Not too hot yet. About 90 degrees at the end of the plateau.
A must see. The river view like none other. You can hear the rapids. Indian Gardens was like something out of a dream. So calm and serene. Nice stream running through.
It took us about 8 1/2 hours to do the round trip. Took lots of photos on the way down. Water available every 1.5 miles. The last 3 miles up were the killer.
This trail is used by the mules so be prepared for flies and stuff on the trail.
great day hike!!!!

This is a hike of a lifetime, the landscape and vistas are stunning. The trial is rugged so wear a good pair of boots. Rangers on the trail stopped hikers and inquired if they had adequate water. There is no water tap on the trail. I found it challenging in the midday sun but not hard. I would recommend going beyond Cedar to Skeleton Point, it’s only another 40 minutes. If you enjoy hiking and are in the vicinity, don’t miss this trail.

I would recommend starting early in the morning between 6–7am. First, it can get very hot as you descend into the canyon. You want to start the return trip before the afternoon heat sets in. Second, if you leave early you can avoid the crowds from the tour buses. It’s a stunning hike. I don’t think it deserves a ‘hard’ rating but that’s relative. Bring plenty of water, a hat and sunscreen.

Beautiful hike with a great view

Amazing views the whole way down! Don’t be deceived by the short mileage, this hike can be tough on the way back especially if you don’t go early in the morning. There are water bottle filling stations every 1.5 miles though!

Incredible. Be ready for a grueling climb back to the top of Bright Angel Trail.

So, so sweet. Easier than Kaibab, but you get amazing views of the Colorado River.

I almost done want to leave a review to keep this spot secret. It is kinda difficult to find because there are no signs of any kind, and the map the give you at the entrance center is a joke. I literally waited for the “dots” to line up on the all trials app. The trail it’s self is more forested on both sides and there are NO Canyon views along the mile or so walk, HOWEVER, when you do reach the “end,” you rewarded with an amazing view and likely will able to enjoy it to yourself.

It was my favorite place we saw at the park, granted we only had a few hours, but I feel like it would be hard to beat!

A lot of reviews say go to the “end” but never really say what the end is.. the fire road/trail will open up a bit and there will be a small lookout view before some picnic tables, keep going past them about 50 yards or so, and head out along towards a point. If you don’t see a large standing rock near the edge, your in the wrong spot.

Excellent pay off with views of the Colorado.

Fantastic day hike. Go early to beat the traffic and enjoy more shade.

We hit the trail about 4:30 am hiking down in the dark with headlamps. There were a few cars already where we parked and a few showed up shortly after us. Our goal was Ooh Aah Point by sunrise which we made easily. We hiked down to Cedar Ridge and enjoyed the scenery there for an hour or so before hiking back up. Because of our early start we didn’t encounter too much direct sun or heat, it was a very comfortable hike.

Amazing, but challenging hike. Once you make it to Plateau Point you are treated to an amazing view back towards the south of the canyon. bring plenty of water and check to see which water stations are open.

hiking
14 days ago

Very easy, flat, dog friendly trail. Though probably not wheelchair accessible, my father who uses an electric scooter was able to go on this trail, as the path is flat and hard dirt (a few rocks but easy to get around). At the end of the trail on the overlook of the canyon, there are many picnic tables and grills. Easy parking at the trailhead (I just google mapped the trail and it leads directly to the parking area).

Did this a few days ago, great way to beat the crowds! Stunning vista from the view point at the end (ensure you keep following the track past the campsite/toilet right to the end, there is no actual sign for it and i noticed a lot of people turned back early). Tough hike back out so be prepared for that and take plenty of water as you'll need it. Done in fairly good pace, just under 4 hours :)

started around 8 am, incredible walls of course, very step and one heck of a work out, only went to checkpoint 3 miles in then turned around, the steep down was wearing on my knees, I climbed out by noon, what a workout. I check GC off my list.

Loved, loved, loved this hike! It was a gorgeous hike! The clouds, mountains, and the squirrels were welcoming. I would like to go back there and go further. If you go to the Grand Canyon-you have to hike this trail! Don’t leave without without this wonderful experience. It’s only 80 miles from Flagstaff. You have to take a shuttle bus from the main tourist building.

My wife and I just did this hike. Amazing views. A bit challenging to go back up, yet overall experience was great. We did it in 3h20m at a very slow pace, taking lots of pics along the way.

If nothing else- go to Ooh Aah point. Beautiful. First bit of the trail is covered in donkey poo.

backpacking
20 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.

If you are considering doing a hike at the Grand Canyon, please at least hike to oh, ah point! It is incredible, and you will feel such a sense of accomplishment upon completion!

We hiked this with our 5 kids ages 5-13. We went cedar ridge ate a snack, walked all the way out to the point,and hiked back up in just under 2 hours. Our family hikes a lot though, and our youngest can easily hike 7 miles. We regret not doubling our hike and going down to skeleton point. But you just never know how difficult it will be for your family until you try it! Every person had their own camel-bak of water packed with snacks. I think that is a MUST.

Easy walk on the way down to the river, unbelievable views that you can’t miss! The walk back is quite difficult and requires you to be in excellent shape! The whole trek took us around 7 hours with breaks and photo ops.

Awesome hike so we took it further to Skeleton Point. Took 2 hrs down and 3 hours to go back up. It was very hot that day. Drank 3L of water.

Friends and I won some camping spots via lottery to this trail (specifically Horse Shoe Mesa camping area) in April or May 2012. Unlike Bright Angel, there is a different view every turn, lots of twists and turns, solitude, and a bit more shade in parts. The saddle is particularly gorgeous. And also unlike Bright Angel, it has a lot of rocky, tall, steep stairs in the top half which can wear you out early, even if you consider yourself in moderately good shape, as I did. The forest service provides a detailed caution in how to prepare for this trail, yet our group still made some rookie camping mistakes. We brought too much gear. A trail this steep means you need to be light, especially returning up when you're already tired. Bring extra water...We used up more than 2.5-3 liters each in 24 hours, including cooking. The spring is to the east of the campsite, at least a mile away. It's in a small fern filled cove but not easy to spot from a distance. You should have a water filter as well. I missed locating the spring and hiked another 3 miles looking for water the next day after hiking from the rim to the camp. Talk about tired. And the anxiety I felt when returning to camp to tell the other campers I couldn't find any water. We all returned together to search again and found the spring, which was a lush small pool in May. I missed a turn at the old miner's wheelbarrow.... But by day 3, when it was time to go back up the canyon, with our heavy packs, nearly every one of us gave out before reaching the top. One camper got altitude sickness (vomited) on the easiest part of the hike, which was near the start as we descended from the rim. If you're not living at a similar altitude, take that into consideration as a possible unexpected setback. Take wind into consideration as it may mean you can't get that too heavy cook stove to work that you (we) shouldn't have brought anyway. It was a grueling time due to our mistakes, but still an amazing trail without the crowds. I returned a few weeks later to trail run the flatter parts of it. If you're a novice camper, though, consider the physical toll hauling gear and water at altitude will take on you and skip a camp stove, plush bed rolls, big tents, or thick sleeping bags, and non-prepared food. Don't risk camping more than one night in times when the spring might be dry. It was also extremely windy at the camp site. I got by with a kid's sized tent for $10 from Walmart. Light and small and didn't tear up in the wind, amazingly. Items we didn't secure really well blew off our packs and out of our reach as we returned up to the rim. The only shade are short juniper trees at the camp site, but there is some shade. It felt 20 to 30 degrees warmer on Horseshoe Mesa compared to the rim. The wind only made it hotter. The top half of the trail has rock walls and taller pine trees intermittently for shade.

walking
25 days ago

Beautiful introduction to Grand Canyon

Hiked this in April 2016 and it was my 3rd time to the springs. Along the way there are some spectacular views down the ravines. Once at the springs, I decided to do a loop by continuing on the trail and exit back to the south rim via Eremita Mesa. This will bring you out to the jeep access roads which you can follow back to the shuttle bus stop at the Abyss. Total distance for this loop was 11.3 miles. The last several were a bit tedious as it's mostly flat-ish and view-less walking on the forest service roads. Be forwarned that there are no signs marking your directions or progress mileage after passing Dripping Springs, so you'll need to be aware of your directions on the return if you plan to hike back to Hermit Road this way.

Recommendation: Start before 9:00, it get's really hot at the bottom by noon.
We hiked the BA down, stayed at the Ranch, and then hiked the South Kaibab out. The Angel was cool, but I don't think I'll ever do it again. The South Kaibab is just a cooler trail with better views.

We hiked from the rim to plateau point (side trail once you reach Indian garden). I did this hike w my husband on 4/27/18. The hike was 6.1 miles each way. We started at 8:45am and finished at 3:55pm. It seemed like every park ranger we talked to was determined to dissuade us from going past the 3 mile rest stop. It was like they wanted to scare us. We are by no means in the greatest shape, we hike maybe once or twice a year and we are in our early 40s. Although the hike was truly strenuous, i wouldn’t call it hard. It’s an easy trail and it’s almost impossible to get lost. The trail itself is not dangerous but the elements can be. We got lucky that we had cloud cover most of the day and that helped so much. I can’t imagine doing this in the summer months. We both drank our 3 liters of water/Gatorade by the time we made it back.
The walk from Indian garden to plateau point is gorgeous. There’s beautiful cacti and flowers. The view at the end is gorgeous. You can see the river.
Tips:
-unless you’re literally crawling this thing, it will not take you 12 hours to do this trail.
-if you make it to Indian garden, just suck it up and walk to plateau point, it’s worth it.
-try breathing through your nose as much as you can. The dust that gets kicked up will dry out your throat
-I wished the whole time up that I had a damp bandana to wrap over my mouth/nose so I could breathe better
-don’t attempt to go to the river and back in one day. I’m sure it can be done but why:....
-stick your head under the running water at plateau point and the creek by Indian garden.
-start early so you don’t come back in the dead heat. There’s no shade anywhere.

This was an awesome hike. One of my favorites and most challenging hikes. Highly recommend it.

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