Grand Canyon Hiking Tours
The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of The World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In all of the world’s most spectacular landscapes, the Grand Canyon is second to none. However, planning a Grand Canyon hiking tour takes careful thought and preparation. Whether you decide to do it on your own or go with an adventure company, it’s important to do your research before you head to this Arizona treasure.
When visiting the Grand Canyon, you enter a one-of-a-kind chancel: the best stone architecture that Earth has ever designed. Written in the walls of the mile-deep canyon is a colorful story of time that you can unfolds before you like a good book. Here, you have the opportunity to time-travel back as far as 1.75 billion years to see how ancient oceans moved, changed, and dried up to create the sedimentary rock layers before you. A guided Grand Canyon experience with AOA will help you get to know the canyon deeper – both physically and with knowledge!
Visiting the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Fees
All Grand Canyon visitors pay an entry fee that helps support the preservation of the park and its public facilities.
- You can buy your pass online here or at the gate. Passes are valid for 7 days.
- If you plan on visiting three or more national parks this year, we recommend that you buy the annual pass to save money for your next adventure.
What to Do at the Grand Canyon
There is something for everyone to explore at Grand Canyon National Park. Visitors can enjoy a hearty meal and a cold drink at one of the Grand Canyon Hotels like the famous El Tovar or get their thrills while rafting on the Colorado River like the legendary explorer John Wesley Powell. You can take a helicopter tour over the canyon or embark on a Grand Canyon mule ride to the bottom or along the rim.
Many people are interested in taking Grand Canyon tours from Las Vegas, but these tours are often short bus tours that don’t allow you to see very much of the canyon itself. Consider making your Grand Canyon vacation at least a few days long so you can take the time to enjoy the hiking trails and iconic sights of Grand Canyon National Park. With a landmark this size, it’s not hard to find a beautiful canyon viewpoint while driving along the rim.
Where to Go at the Grand Canyon
There are a few different areas where you can visit the Grand Canyon. The National Park has two main destinations, the North Rim and the South Rim. Most people visit the South Rim of the Canyon because it is the easiest to get to and has the most facilities. You may have also heard about amazing Grand Canyon waterfalls and hope to see those on your visit, those are the Havasupai falls and they are located outside of the National Park.
Popular Areas in Grand Canyon National Park
Most visited, most facilities, museums, and accommodations. Open year round.
Remote and scenic, higher elevation and cooler temperatures, farther from major airports. Only open from May – October.
Popular Areas Near Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon’s most famous waterfalls are on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. This area is permit protected and very difficult to access. See more info here.
This is at the Grand Canyon “West Rim” on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. This area is the part of the canyon closest to Las Vegas. There are no hiking trails and very few facilities at the West Rim.
How to Get to Grand Canyon National Park
It’s a good idea to rent a car and drive to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas or Phoenix. Both cities have their own appeal if you want to spend a few days at a resort before or after your Grand Canyon vacation.
Flying into Las Vegas
- Drive to the South Rim = 4.5 hours
- Drive to the North Rim = 5 hours
Flying into Phoenix
- Drive to the South Rim = 3.5 – 4 hours
- Drive to the North Rim = 6 hours
Grand Canyon Hiking Trails
If you are up to the challenge, explore the Grand Canyon hiking trails. Trail-junkies will drool over the whopping 358 miles of trail in Grand Canyon National Park. That is plenty of space to get out and away from it all if you plan properly and are prepared.
Many hikers will take a short day hike out to Ooh Aah Point from the South Kaibab trail for a grand vista, or if you have a bit more time and energy, hiking to Indian Gardens on the famous Bright Angel trail is the perfect way to experience the Grand Canyon’s jaw dropping scenery on a longer hike without going all the way to the bottom.
Only very experienced hikers should make the trip to the canyon’s floor. Such an adventure demands a night’s rest at the bottom before ascending the 4,800 ft gain back to the South Rim. You can stay at Phantom Ranch with a reservation or at one of three backcountry campgrounds like the Bright Angel Campground with a backcountry permit.
Water Availability in Grand Canyon
When hiking in the Grand Canyon, ALWAYS bring at least two liters of water per person and more in the summer. The best rule of thumb is plan to drink one liter of water every hour that you are on the trail. Most people hike at a rate of 2 miles per hour in the canyon, so a 4 mile hike would take about 2 hours and require 2 liters. It’s better to overestimate than under as you may need to factor in extra time spent taking photos or resting in the shade.
Below you’ll find some of our favorite hiking itineraries in the Grand Canyon:
One-Day Grand Canyon Hiking Tours
If you only have one day to tour the Grand Canyon and you want to go hiking, there are an number of different options. There are two main trails on the South Rim, called the corridor trails – Bright Angel and South Kaibab, most hikers start here. Hiking in Grand Canyon is challenging no matter how experienced you are. Start small.
- South Kaibab to Ooh Aah Point – 1.8 miles (2.9km) round trip, -/+ 600 ft (183 m) elevation gain, out and back, day hike, no permit required
- Bright Angel Trail to Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse – 3.2 miles (5.2 km) round trip, -/+ 1,131 ft (345m) elevation gain, out and back, day hike, no permit required, water available on trail
- Grandview Point to Horseshoe Mesa – 6 miles ( 9.6 km) out and back, -/+ 2,500 ft (762 m) elevation gain, out and back, day hike, no permit required
- North Kaibab to Redwall Bridge (North Rim) – 6 miles (9.7 km) round trip, -/+ 2,188 ft (667 m) elevation gain, day hike, North Rim is open from May 15th – October 15th, no permit required
- Bright Angel Trail to Indian Gardens – 9 miles (14.5 km) out and back, -/+ 3,960 ft (1,207 m) elevation gain, day hike, no permit required, water available on trail
Overnight Grand Canyon Hiking Tours
Hikers can spend the night at the bottom of the canyon whether it’s in a tent at one of the backcountry Grand Canyon campgrounds or at Phantom Ranch, a cozy little village with cottages, dormitories, and a shared family style dinner served in the evening. In addition, there are also campsites on both the North and South Rim.
South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch to Bright Angel – 16.5 miles (24.9 km) point to point, -/+ 4665 ft (1,422 m) elevation gain, overnight strongly recommended, backcountry permit required for campsite.
Need help putting together an adventure at the Grand Canyon? We are experts at designing custom programs to suit your special group.