Walks and hikes in the Grand Canyon

Take a walk or hike and truly experience the Grand Canyon!

You only truly experience the Grand Canyon with a beautiful hike! You’ll smell nature, see the squirrels scurrying, and have all the time to behold the ancient gorge.

There are many hikes you can do, from very accessible walks on well-maintained paths to adventurous hikes with significant elevation changes for the experienced and adventurous hiker. On this page, you’ll find various beautiful hikes in the Grand Canyon.

Author Pieter

Tip: Make sure to have good hiking shoes

Planning to walk the popular Bright Angel Trail or South Kaibab Trail? Then make sure to have good hiking shoes. The unpaved paths are well-traveled but you will definitely encounter rocks and potholes. Also, the ground can sometimes be slippery, so good grip is important.

We’ve also seen many parents with children (from about 6 years old) on the trail, mostly in smooth-soled athletic shoes. Even for the little ones, hiking shoes with a good tread are definitely recommended.

Rim Trail

Rim Trail Grand Canyon

We’ll start with a very accessible walk in the Grand Canyon, the Rim Trail. This trail doesn’t take you into the Grand Canyon but along its edge.

The Rim Trail in the Grand Canyon is about 13.5 miles (21.8 kilometers) long. It offers magnificent views of the canyon and connects several viewpoints along the South Rim (read more about all the viewpoints on the South Rim here).

The walk is very suitable for inexperienced hikers or a walk with children. The paths are well-maintained, and along the way, you’ll find various facilities such as restrooms and a museum (Yavapai Geology Museum).

South Kaibab Trail

South Kaibab Trail hiking in the Grand Canyon

The South Kaibab Trail is one of the most beautiful trails in the Grand Canyon. The trail is about 7.5 miles (12 km) long and follows a narrow ridge along the eastern edge of the canyon.

The path is well-maintained and offers little shade, so it’s important to bring enough water and sun protection. Along the way, you’ll pass by several beautiful viewpoints, such as Ooh Aah Point and Skeleton Point.

Author Pieter

Tip: Bring enough water

On some trails, like the Bright Angel Trail, you’ll find water stations along the way where you can refill your water bottle. This is not the case with the South Kaibab Trail. So, bring enough water, tailored to the duration of your hike and the temperature in the Canyon.

Keep in mind that you’ll be walking downhill on the way there. Once you want to return to the starting point, you’ll have to climb upwards, which is significantly harder. The South Kaibab Trail is one of the starting points for the Rim to Rim trail. So, you can also make the crossing to the North Rim (see previous trail from this blog).

South Kaibab Trail map

The above photo was taken at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. It provides a nice overview of the hikes on the South Kaibab Trail. You can walk to the first point, named Ooh Aah Point (1 to 2-hour hike).

You can also walk a bit further, to Cedar Ridge (2 to 4-hour hike). If you’re an experienced hiker, continue to Skeleton Point (4 to 6-hour hike). Always bring enough food and water, and be aware that the return journey is much harder because you’re going uphill.

Bright Angel Trail

Hiking the Grand Canyon Bright Angel Trail

The Bright Angel Trail is a beautiful hiking route that runs through the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It’s one of the most popular routes in the park due to the stunning views and accessibility for both novice and experienced hikers.

Author Pieter

Tip: Start early!

It’s advisable to start your hike early in the morning. The temperature is still very pleasant in the Canyon, and it’s relatively quiet on the trail. We left around 06:15 AM and were back around 09:00 AM.

On the way back up, we met many people who had just started their hike. In our opinion, this was quite late, as the temperature was already rising significantly.

The trail begins at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon – near Bright Angel Lodge – and stretches about 8 miles (12.8 kilometers) to the Colorado River. The route follows an ancient Native American trade route that was used by the Havasupai tribe in the past.

Today, it’s a popular tourist attraction that attracts thousands of visitors every year. Hikers are rewarded with stunning views of the gorge, including viewpoints such as Indian Garden and Plateau Point. Along the way, you also pass several historic buildings, such as the Indian Garden and Ranger Station.

Despite the trail’s popularity, hiking on the Bright Angel Trail should be taken seriously. The descent to the river is relatively easy, but the return to the top of the gorge can be challenging due to the steep inclines and the elevation of the path.

Make sure you’re well-prepared and bring plenty of water, food, and sun protection. For a good preparation, also check out the PDF from the National Park Service with all the information about this hike.

Here’s our video of the Bright Angel Trail:

Author Pieter

Tip: Do not underestimate the return journey

When hiking in the Grand Canyon, you descend into the Canyon. The journey down goes quite easily. There will come a moment when you also have to return, to the rim of the Grand Canyon. And that hike is significantly tougher.

After just over 30 feet, you’ll notice it in your breathing and leg muscles. If you’re not an experienced hiker, don’t descend too far into the Grand Canyon, knowing that you have to return.

All in all, the Bright Angel Trail is an unforgettable hiking experience where you can truly experience the beauty of the Grand Canyon. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hiker, this trail is definitely worth it!

Bright Angel Trail Grand Canyon

The photo above was taken at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. It provides a nice overview of the hikes on the Bright Angel Trail. You can walk to the first point, named Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse (2 to 4-hour hike). You can also walk further, to Three Mile Resthouse (4 to 6-hour hike).

If you’re an experienced hiker, continue to Plateau Point (8 to 12-hour hike). Always bring enough food and water, and be aware that the return journey is much harder because you’re going uphill.

Rim to Rim trail

Rim to Rim trail Grand Canyon

For the very experienced hikers, there is the Rim to Rim trail, running from the South Rim (Grand Canyon Village) to the North Rim. The distance is 21 miles (over 33 kilometers).

The hike is loved for the enormous challenge it offers and the great diversity of nature. The canyon harbors a huge variety of plants and animals, something that the first sight of the arid Grand Canyon does not suggest.

You can start the Rim trail from the South Rim via the South Kaibab Trail or the Bright Angel Trail. On the map below, you’ll see the route that starts with the South Kaibab Trail.

If you zoom in on the map, you’ll see that halfway through the walk (near the Colorado River), you come across a campground (Bright Angel Campground) and lodge (Phantom Ranch) where you can spend the night.

Many people take 2 or 3 days for the hike and camp along the way. Applying for a camping spot well in advance (>6 months ahead) is necessary.

Additionally, it’s good to know that you need permission from the Backcountry Information Center (read more here). Make sure you are very well prepared. On Hikingguy.com, you can find a comprehensive hiking guide for the Rim to Rim trail.

Hermit Trail

Hermit Trail hikes Grand Canyon

The Hermit Trail is one of the more challenging hiking trails in the Grand Canyon west of Grand Canyon Village. The trail is less crowded than the popular Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail.

What makes the Hermit Trail special, of course, are the breathtaking views of the canyon and surrounding mountains, but also the fact that it is much quieter. Make sure you are well prepared because this Grand Canyon hike is difficult and steep in places!

Frequently Asked Questions About Hiking in the Grand Canyon

Can I camp during my hike in the Grand Canyon?

Yes, it is possible to camp during a hike in the Grand Canyon. There are various campgrounds spread throughout the gorge where you can camp.

Reservations are required for camping in the Grand Canyon. You can make a reservation through the National Park Service website. It’s important to book as early as possible because campgrounds fill up quickly, especially during the peak season.

About the author

Author Pieter

Hi, my name is Pieter. In 2009, I made my first trip to the United States. In 2012, 2019, 2020, 2022, and 2023, I had the opportunity to travel to this special country again. On this website, I write with great passion and pleasure about one of the most beautiful wonders of nature, the Grand Canyon. On this page, you can find all my blogs.