Grand Canyon Hiking
Grand Canyon hiking can be a rewarding experience, but it may not be for the faint of heart, or exactly ideal for those with considerable mobility issues. There really are no easy Grand Canyon hiking trails, and hikers in Grand Canyon National Park can quickly get themselves into trouble if they attempt to bite off more than they can chew on any given day. When tackling the various Grand Canyon hiking trails, you should be aware that you will be hiking in a desert climate, so more than anything, you’ll want to make sure you have enough water. Secondly, you will want to make sure that you bring the right garments, wear proper footwear and pack plenty of sunblock. Being prepared for the elements and the weather, especially in the hot summers, can mean the difference between enjoying your vacation or having it end up a real challenge. That being said, the experience of Grand Canyon hiking can rival some of the best hiking you will find anywhere in the world. As long as you are properly prepared for the task at hand, you should have very little to worry about, but for safety issues alone, it is a good idea to book one of the Grand Canyon hiking tours available in the area. It could make the difference between deciding to come back again in the future, or swearing that you’ll never return.
Every year, the Grand Canyon averages approximately 400 search and rescue missions, and primarily these are geared towards helping weary hikers find their way out of the hot, oppressive canyon. Generally, hikes starting at the rim of the Grand Canyon can begin with pleasant temperatures, as you are situated some 7,000-8,000 feet above sea level. But, as you descend on the steep decline into the depths of the canyon, the temperatures can soar over 100 degrees. Many of the visitors who require rescue from the Grand Canyon hiking trails gravely mistake the temperature differences found atop the canyon and at its bottom, and many hikers fail to realize how tired they will already be by the time they decide to ascend back to the top.
While most visitors approach Grand Canyon hiking from the South Rim, you can find less-heavily traveled trails when embarking from the North Rim. The North Rim has less in the way of tourism-related facilities, and during the winter months, all roads to the North Rim are closed. Also, the distances of the Grand Canyon hiking trails from the North Rim to the canyon bottom can be twice as long as those from the South Rim. On a top to bottom roundtrip hike from the North Rim, it is usually recommended that you figure in at least three nights of camping along the way. From either the North Rim or the South Rim, day hikes are possible, and can be done with or without a guide, but if you plan on coupling hiking the Grand Canyon hiking trails with Grand Canyon camping, and doing it on your own, then you will have to request a Backcountry Permit from the National Park Service. Only so many of these permits are granted every year, so you should request a Backcountry Permit as far in advance as possible.
Grand Canyon National Park covers more than 1.2 acres, most of which is inaccessible. In many sections of the park, steep cliffs and an inhospitable climate predominate. Using the established Grand Canyon hiking trails is a good idea if you want to minimalize your risk. The more notable Grand Canyon hiking trails are known as the “Corridor Trails”, and these will take you into the inner canyon. The Bright Angel Trail and the South Kaibab Trail are two of the more popular trials into the canyon from the South Rim, while the North Kaibab Trail is the North Rim’s most recognized trail. For those who like to get off the beaten path, there are a number of less-traveled and more remote inner Grand Canyon hiking trails to explore. Just remember that any overnight Grand Canyon hiking trip below the canyon rim will require the aforementioned Backcountry Permit.
For fans of hiking who do not feel up to the challenge of hitting the Grand Canyon hiking trails on their own, and this is understandable, there are plenty of Grand Canyon hiking tours available. Many of these tours can be joined with other Grand Canyon tours, including Grand Canyon rafting trips and Grand Canyon bus tours. When booking your accommodations at any of the Grand Canyon hotels, you might look for package deals that include Grand Canyon hiking tours in the overall price. This is also true when booking Grand Canyon vacations on a whole. There are a bunch of Grand Canyon vacation packages offered from destinations in Arizona, such as Phoenix, Flagstaff and Sedona where Grand Canyon hiking tours are included. This is also true for those who base their vacation in Las Vegas. The safest seasons for planning Grand Canyon hiking tours are the spring and fall. For those who are interested in hiking alone, but would still wish to get valuable information that a guide would otherwise give, there are audio Grand Canyon hiking tours available with some of the tour companies. Overall, the varying Grand Canyon hiking tours can be rugged or more luxurious, and if you consider yourself a true hiker through and through, then you almost have to experience the thrill of Grand Canyon hiking.
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