What to know before you hike the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is one of the absolute preeminent destinations for tourists from across the world. The canyon itself is breathtaking given its sheer size and the enormity of the power needed to form it. A trip like this truly shows any adventurer just how awe inspiring and powerful nature can be.
Thankfully, the Grand Canyon is simply not a quick sight seeing stop on the freeway. Anyone so inclined has the opportunity to hike down into the canyon itself and bear witness to the vastness of the canyon first hand. Just be aware that there are a few things you should know before heading down into the canyon.
Anticipate your hike down to take around 4-6 hours depending on your experience level and the amount of gear you are packing in. If you are even remotely familiar with the Grand Canyon, then you can understand that as you hike, the elevation you are hiking at will dramatically change in only a short time. Be aware of this and adjust your pace accordingly. The steep elevation you’ll be hiking when travelling out of the canyon will take you additional time. Many experts say that the return hike will take roughly twice the time it took you to reach the bottom, so plan accordingly and monitor your time.First and foremost, this canyon is huge! Given its size, adventurers have a variety of options for heading down into the canyon. Two of the most well known trails hikers can take are the South Kaibab Trail, 6.8 miles long, and the Bright Angel Trail, slightly longer at 9.3 miles. Each trail brings you down to the Bright Angel Campground, where you are allowed to camp with a permit. It is recommended that if you opt to hike all the way to the base of the canyon, that you opt to stay overnight and hike out the following day.
Another area of concern for any hiker, regardless of experience level, is the weather you are going to experience. During the summer months, temperatures at the Grand Canyon will generally hover consistently above 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Once the sun goes down, however, things can change quickly. Hiking these trails at other points in the year can give you a bit of relief from the intense heat of the summer months, though you may find temperatures dropping more than you’d expect once the sun is no longer overhead.
The rules for hiking into the Grand Canyon are little different from other remote national parks. Whatever you bring in, you will also need to bring out. You should also have a plan and an intended use for everything you are bringing along. Packing in heavy or bulky items will make your trip more challenging and could lead to you experiencing further difficulties.Packing accordingly is also something any hiker should take into consideration when planning a trip to the Grand Canyon. The two main necessitates you must factor in are food and water. Given the remote area you are hiking, there is little opportunity to replenish supplies so you seriously need to pack accordingly. Given that this is a desert, you should consider one gallon of water to be the minimum amount you’ll need each day. While there are some options for finding water along the trail, these opportunities are not consistently available for a variety of reasons. Do the math for what you’ll need, and then bring a little more. Your body will thank you!
One last thing to keep in mind when hiking in this area of the country is to know your body. If you are feeling tired and out of breathe, take a few minutes and rest. There is nothing wrong with pausing to take a drink of water and checking out the view. After all, the Grand Canyon is famous for a reason. Make your trip there one you’ll want to look back on with fond memories. Anyone can make their hike down into the canyon a success if they plan ahead and do some research before heading out.