Why this is the best time to do the Grand Canyon’s best hikes
2:12 PM EDT, Wed May 17, 2017
South Kaibab Trail —
The South Kaibab Trail drops to the Colorado River in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in just under seven miles. Numerous day hike options turn around at phenomenal viewpoints if you don't want to commit to an overnight trip to the bottom of the canyon.
Desert glory —
South Kaibab is accessible only via shuttle bus from the visitor center, Canyon Village or Backcountry Information Office. There's no water available between the rim and the river, so hikers need to carry plenty of water on this desert hike.
Courtesy Ben Adkison
Tanner Trail —
The Tanner Trail is the easternmost trail along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It's the only trail to offer broad views of the Colorado River as it flows south from Marble Canyon. As with many trails in the canyon, no water is available between the rim and river.
Night skies —
The Tanner Trail is less traveled than the South Kaibab and Bright Angel trails and is best done as a backpacking trip of two or more days. With almost zero light pollution and expansive canyon views, this is the best part of the canyon for stargazing.
Cape Final Trail —
At just under three miles each way, the Cape Final Trail is one of the shortest trails on the North Rim. It offers some of the best views for the least amount of effort on this side of the canyon.
Flat expanse —
Cape Final Trail is nearly flat and ends at a rocky outcrop with sweeping views of the eastern Grand Canyon. Again, no water is available along the trail, but it makes for a great day hike or easy backpack.
Widforss Trail —
On the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the Widforss Trail is a few miles longer than the Cape Final Trail and leads to an equally beautiful viewpoint along the canyon rim. This trail is perfect for a flat but longer day hike or a short backpack trip to take in the sunset and sunrise over the canyon.
North Kaibab Trail —
The North Kaibab Trail is the only trail on the North Rim to reach the two bridges that cross the Colorado River. This makes a rim-to-river-to-rim trans-canyon hike possible.
Time well spent —
While there are a few day hike options along the North Kaibab Trail, it's best suited for a multi-day backpack trip, with time to explore numerous streams, side canyons and cottonwood-shaded campsites.
Bright Angel Trail —
The Bright Angel Trail is one of the most popular trails in the Grand Canyon. In summer, water is available at rest stops along the trail to the Colorado River. In winter, water is found at Indian Garden Campground -- halfway between the rim and river.
Shady refuge —
After nearly 10 miles, Bright Angel Trail ends at Bright Angel Campground located along crystal clear Bright Angel Creek at the bottom of the canyon. All campsites are shaded by giant cottonwoods. Numerous day hike options start at the campground.