Whenever you are planning to hike the Grand Canyon, you want to keep two things in mind. First, every hike ends going uphill. Secondly, the trails are rated as Easy or Difficult. There are no Moderate ratings. The following is a list of the top hiking and backpacking trails to consider when you visit Grand Canyon National Park.
Grand Canyon Rim Trail (rated Easy)– The reason this trail has an Easy rating is because you do not descend into the canyon. It’s all done on fairly level ground. Needless to say, the Rim Trail is the perfect introduction to the Grand Canyon. The trail is 12.0 miles in length and takes in some of the most spectacular vistas of the canyon, especially if you hike the first hour after the sun rises or just before it sets.
That’s all for the easy category, the rest are multiple day backpacking trips which will provide you with some excellent photographic opportunities. The ones that have a different starting and finishing point will require a car shuttle at the end of the hike.
The Grand Canyon from Rim-to-Rim Hike (rated Strenuous)– Here’s a tip for a more enjoyable experience – do this 23-mile hike in four days. It doesn’t matter whether you hike it from the North Rim to the South Rim or vice versa, just take 4 days to do it. We recommend the north to south route as the North Rim is 2,000 feet higher in elevation. This means that your hike up to the South Rim will be slightly less strenuous.
Kaibab to Bright Angel Trail (rated Strenuous)– This 16-mile backpacking adventure is the perfect way to hike into, through, and then out of the canyon. Start at the Kaibab Trail trailhead and make camp at Bright Angel campground, then hike up to the rim via the Bright Angel Trail the next day. The trail can be done in 2 days, but if you have an extra day or two, we have some suggestions.
Spend an extra night the Bright Angel Campground where you can take off on some great day hikes. Or hike up out of the canyon to Indian Garden Campground for your second night. Your hike up to the rim the last day will be considerably easier this way because you will have hiked part of the way out of the canyon.
Havasu and Mooney Falls (rated Strenuous)– This 24-mile backpacking adventure takes you down to the Supai Indian Reservation, which is adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park. Not only will you be rewarded with spectacular views of Havasu and Mooney Falls, but you will also see caves and mules, which have the right-of-way on trails in the Grand Canyon. Additionally, you will pass through the Indian town of Supai, a welcome stopping point along the way, especially on the way back up to the trailhead.