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Grand Canyon Self Guided Backpacking
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Consider the Grand Canyon your hiking paradise. With miles of caves to explore, more than 1,500 unique plant types to discover and 300 species of birds to spy, the canyon offers incredible hikes with excitement at every switchback. The Grand Canyon's most popular hike is the Bright Angel Trail, which starts at Grand Canyon Village – but the Grand Canyon offers several hiking trails you can explore.
- Bright Angel Trail: 19 Miles (Round Trip)
This comfortable and safe two-day trip (one day down, one day back) will take hikers through the lush green strip of Garden Creek, past the superb overlook at Plateau Point and down a challenging set of switchbacks known as the Devil's Corkscrew before finally reaching the Inner Gorge. The last section involves crossing the slender, see-through Bright Angel Suspension Bridge, which also provides the quickest route to Phantom Ranch and the end of the trail. Note that the National Park Service does not recommend hiking in and out of the canyon in one day. If you’re looking for a day hike, descending just to Indian Garden or Plateau Point are good options.
- South Kaibab Trail: 12.6 Miles (Round Trip)
Shorter than the Bright Angel Trail, and with an initial section that stays atop the narrow, exposed Cedar Ridge, the South Kaibab Trail offers hikers fantastic views of the canyon. If you’re just out for the day, Cedar Ridge is your cue to turn back toward the rim – at this point, the trail starts a steep descent to Skeleton Point, where you can catch your first glimpse of the Colorado River. From there the hike continues along the Tonto Trail to Tipoff, the entrance to the Inner Gorge, and over the narrow 400-foot Kaibab Suspension Bridge before finally ending at Phantom Ranch.
- North Kaibab Trail: 14.5 Miles (Round Trip)
This North Rim hike is a challenging two-day trek from rim to river and back again. The trail begins by descending into Roaring Springs Canyon – your turnaround point if taking a day trip – before continuing through the brief Supai Tunnel and on into the canyon's striking Supai Sandstone layer. From there, the trail takes hikers over Redwall Bridge, past Roaring Springs and Ribbon Falls, and on into the Inner Gorge between the twin thousand-foot walls of the ancient black Vishnu Schist before ending at Phantom Ranch.
- Hualapai Trail: 8 Miles
Off the beaten path but unbelievably beautiful, the Hualapai Trail from Hualapai Hilltop to the village of Supai makes for a comfortable day hike through Havasu Canyon, at the heart of the Havasupai Reservation, where you’ll spy the turquoise, double-cascading waterfalls of Havasu Falls. The round-trip hike can be done in a day, or spend the night in the village of Supai, where a thriving campground and comfortable lodge are available. Reservations for both the lodge and the campground must be made in advance.
Before you begin, also read the Grand Canyon National Park website’s hiking tips. Despite the park’s popularity, many areas can be remote, difficult to reach and dangerous – meaning it’s up to you to stay prepared, educated and well equipped for your own safety.
For More Information
For a complete list of hiking opportunities at Grand Canyon National Park, as well as information on guided and group recreational and educational hikes, visit: