Every hiker wants to do Backpacking trips in Grand Canyon National Park. But people either like to be here every year or swear not to return. The Grand Canyon backpacking trip is very different from others. It tests your physical and mental strength and teaches you to respect your limitations.
Planning the trip
Planning lies on the fence between a great backing and a hospital trip. Grand Canyon welcomes those who are ready to accept the challenge of colossal wilderness that you will not find anywhere.
As backpacking in the Grand Canyon involves passing through desert conditions with stiff climbs, one should choose a hike that suits his abilities best. Collect all information about the destination, weather conditions, water sources, etc. One should carry what is needed. Travelling light will make hiking pleasurable. Last but not least do not plan to hike alone.
Getting to the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon lies in Arizona. Visitors to South Rim can fly to Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Flagstaff. Limited air service is also available to Grand Canyon Airport. Visitors to North Rim mostly fly into Salt Lake City. However, it is also accessible from Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Flagstaff. Public bus and van services are also available.
Best time for Grand Canyon backpacking
You have to consider the weather for this. It is expected that, as a backpacker, you will go down below into the canyon. The Grand Canyon is around 300 miles in length and more than a mile in depth. As you go down below the place is like a desert and in summer the temperature can be above 100°F. So, one must try to avoid summer unless he has much experience in desert hiking. Spring, fall, and winter are the best for hiking.
Where to trail
Grand Canyon National park is broadly divided into South Rim and North Rim. The South Rim has plenty of hiking trails and several viewpoints where one can see the most expansive depth of the canyon. This is why it is the most visited place. North rim is for the hikers who want to explore pristine trails through forests with an abundance of wildlife.
Unless one is doing a day hike or staying in developed campgrounds, Back Country Permit is essential for camping in the park. These are available from the Back Country Information Center. It remains valid for the specified dates, itinerary, number of people in the group, and the trip leader. One must apply well in advance to get it accepted. Last-minute permits are also issued in person on the day before hiking. But, these are valid for one or two nights only. More permits are issued for small groups of one to six hikers. So, limiting the size of the group increases the chances of getting the permit.
The average highest temperature in the canyon ranges from 56°F in January to 106°F in July. The average lowest temperature is 36°F in January and 78°F in July. Summer day temperature can be as high as 120°F making it unpleasant and dangerous. One must check the weather forecast to start backpacking in Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon is very much prone to lightning, rock falls, and flash floods. Be sure to learn about these dangers beforehand for a successful Grand Canyon backpacking trip. It is also home to varieties of snakes and scorpions. Some of them are poisonous. Always check the place where you are putting your hands and feet. Always wear boots even when you are in the camp and shake the boots and clothing before you put those on. Contact the ranger in case of an emergency.
Amazing Grand Canyon backpacking trails
- Escalante Route: Tanner Trail to New Hance Trail
Located below the South Rim, this is known for requiring something extra from the backpackers. Several spots require hand and toe climbing. Trekking here one can enjoy the wonderful variety of the canyon. Tanner trail is the trailhead on the east. One can also access it through New Hance Trail and Tonto Trail on the west.
- Grandview Trail and Horseshoe Mesa
This backpacking Grand Canyon trail opens up a romantic spirituality of the gorge before the eyes. It leaves the south rim at Grandview Point. The original trail connected the rim with the copper mine on Horseshoe Mesa. Now it passes through the astounding beauty of the canyon and is one of the best trails.
- Hermit Trail
The trail passes through the historic area of the canyon and offers a challenging route to the backpackers. The upper part of the trail is steep and drops around 2000 feet. Most of the trail is flat and part of the trail is close to the south rim walls facing west and offers shade in the hotter months.
- South Kaibab Trail
Offering unparalleled panoramic views South Kaibab is one of the best Grand Canyon backpacking trails. This is a modern route and can be accessed from Yaki Point. It is also the quickest way down to the river. There is no water on this trail and one has to bank on portable water.
- Bright Angel Trail
It is a premier hiking trail of Grand Canyon National Park and considered to be the safest. There are drinking water and covered rest houses are available here. Its trailhead is located near the Bright Angel Lodge. You can see massive cliffs and plenty of plant and animal life here.
- Tanner Trail
Negotiating this trail one can see the oldest sedimentary deposits in the canyon. It has an expansive canyon floor due to erosion of soft colourful rocks and offers excellent views of the steepest walls. Colorado River is the only source of water here. The trailhead is near the Lipan point.
There are several other trails in the Grand Canyon National Park. You can get more Grand Canyon backpacking trail details here!