One of the most intense hiking experiences one can encounter can be found inside Grand Canyon National Park. The unique challenges and terrain features found here can be daunting, even for the most seasoned hikers. Even so, most people who successfully hike the Grand Canyon claim it’s one of the most memorable experiences they’ve ever had. Here are some things to expect when embarking on this trip of a lifetime.
Hiking to the river and back is not recommended in one day. Accommodations are available, but are booked as far as two years in advance. Backcountry permits are also available, and can be obtained up to four months in advance. The earlier you apply for a permit, the more likely you are to get one on the date you choose.
Allow Plenty of Time for Checking In
Upon arrival at the park, you’ll need to check in and confirm reservations before embarking on your adventure. You’ll also be able to eat breakfast, rent and pack a backpack, purchase essentials and catch a shuttle to your trailhead. All of these things can take time, so plan on spending between two and four hours just getting ready to go.
Drastic Changes in Elevation
Most hikes begin at an elevation of between 7,000 and 8,000 feet. Your hike begins with a descent, but keep in mind that the return trip will require an extremely steep climb after you are already tired from your descent. This is the biggest reason why hiking down and back in the same day is not recommended. Depending on the hike you choose, you could face elevation changes of more than 10,000 feet from beginning to end.
Hiking takes place in an isolated desert area, which is why having the right amount of food and water with you is so important. You should generally plan on drinking around a half quart of water every hour. During the summer, water is available at certain spots along the Bright Angel or North Kaibab Trails; however, maintenance on pipelines can make it temporarily unavailable. Be sure to check at the visitor’s center before departing so you can plan accordingly.
Protection from the sun is also important, even during the winter. Before heading out on your adventure, visit Pugs to see our selection of hats and affordable sunglasses so you will be well prepared for your remarkable journey.