Favorite Day Hikes in Grand Canyon

There is no better way to explore, and truly experience, this national park's wonders than to hike its trails and explore its many layers and hidden treasures.
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Hikers On Bright Angel Trail.

Hikers On Bright Angel Trail. Photo by Whit Richardson

Most of Grand Canyon National Parks 5 million annual visitors only get out of the car to stand at the various overlooks. Although these are awe-inspiring views, we encourage visitors to immerse themselves in the Grand Canyon. There is no better way to explore, and truly experience, this national park's wonders than to hike its trails and explore its many layers and hidden treasures. From short to long, easy to difficult, hundreds of miles of trails that explore and offer unique perspectives of the Grand Canyon await you.

Here there are gentle, short paved trails, as well as steep, hardier hikes. There is something for everyone, and the Grand Canyon doesn't discriminate. Whether you hike just a few steps, or several miles you'll be inspired by what you see.

One important word of caution: The National Park Service's Grand Canyon website puts it best when it proclaims that hikers will have one of two reactions after hiking in Grand Canyon: Either they will be anxious to return, or swear they'll never do it again!

This might have something to do with the fact the trails into the Canyon go down, down, down. And as we all know, what goes down must come up. Hiking to the depths of the canyon is one of the most highly recommended adventures for hikers and backpackers. Just be prepared. Be in good condition, wear suitable shoes for the rugged trail, and drink lots of water along the way.

For those with a little more ambition, or time, backpacking is the ultimate backcountry experience. You will make your "Grand" experience last longer by carrying a backpack full of gear and food and drink, and finding a backcountry campsite to call your own. You can truly have your very own piece of Grand Canyon in a backpacking experience that takes you away from the crowds and deeper into this natural wonder.

Our Favorite Day Hikes From The South Rim

Bright Angel Trail

This is a steep hike but worth the effort if you're in good condition. The trail starts just west of the Bright Angel Lodge. Hike up to 12 miles roundtrip on the Bright Angel Trail. Bring lots of water, get an early start and wear good shoes. Bright Angel trail begins just west of Bright Angel Lodge and offers day hikes that range in distance up to 12 miles (round trip). Some shade. Seasonal water subject to pipeline breaks. Check at the Visitor Center or Backcountry Information Center for water status. Upper portion of the trail may be extremely icy in winter or early spring.

Grandview Trail

The Grandview trail is very steep. Hiking this trail to Coconino Saddle is one of our favorite dayhikes. For the more ambitious, continue to Horseshoe Mesa, which is 6.4 miles roundtrip. Views are outstanding. However, please note that this trail is very steep, steeper than Bright Angel and South Kaibab, so it's not for the faint of heart. Be in good shape, have good shoes on, and take plenty of water and energy snacks before embarking down this steep and rugged trail.

Our Favorite Day Hike From The North Rim

Uncle Jim Trail

This is a great hike that won't tax your body like some Grand Canyon hikes. Plan about three hours for this 5-mile (roundtrip) hike. The trail starts at the North Kaibab Trail parking lot. The trail will take you through forest to a point overlooking the canyon and the North Kaibab Trail switchbacks. (This trail is also used by mules transporting visitors who opt to ride rather than hike.