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Proper/challenging hiking for one day visit?

Brooklyn, New York
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Proper/challenging hiking for one day visit?

Dear lovely TripAdvisor forum members,

Going to Grand Canyon (South Rim) for a day and a half (from noon this upcoming Friday, spending a night at the Yavapai lodge and some of the next day Saturday)

Does anyone have advice for how we should structure this trip, what we can do and what hike we can do that is most worth our time as first and short-time visitors? I’ve looked up all the day hiking trails on the South Rim, and from what I can tell all the trails are dirt roads or paved. Are there no trails that are “off road” ? Would prefer that. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

3 replies to this topic
Ontario, Canada
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1. Re: Proper/challenging hiking for one day visit?

Assuming you enter by the South Entrance Gates, make your way to the Visitor Centre and then to the Rim Trail. Parts of the Rim Trail are indeed paved, but it is 13 miles in length, and not nearly all of it is paved. There are numerous viewpoints right in the Historic Village, or you can take your car to drive west on Hermit Road as far as Hermits Rest, or east on Desert View Drive as far as Desert View Watchtower--a fabulous structure. Numerous great viewpoints along both roads. You may choose to exit via the East Gates, just past the Desert View Watchtower. In that case, leave your visit to the viewpoints along that road until your departure drive. Here is a copy of the pocket map you will be given upon your arrival: https:/…sr-pocket-map.pdf

Depending on where you are coming from, and where you are going after you leave the Canyon you may want to reverse the direction, i.e. enter via the East Gate and exit via the South Gate.

For hiking, you may want to consider going part-way down the South Kaibab Trail. It is a steep trail that offers fantastic views. Depending on your hiking abilities you may want to hike down to Cedar Ridge (3 miles return), or Skeleton Point (6 miles return). The elevation drop to Cedar Ridge is about 1,100 feet, to Skeleton Point about 2,100 feet. Most people assume twice as long for the hike up as for the hike down. Here is the NPS page with links to the Day Hiking trails at the South Rim. I assure you the trails listed are not paved (except for parts of the Rim Trail), and are definitely not dirt roads: https:/…CP_JUMP_1910241

You may want to spend the afternoon of your arrival at the various viewpoints. You can do your hike the next morning. Catch sunrise at the rim, or, if you get up early enough, try to make it to Ooh Aah Point for sunrise. In that case, you will likely want to catch the free Kaibab (orange) shuttle bus to get to the trailhead. Here's a link to the bus schedules: https:/…shuttle-buses.htm

Enjoy your visit.

South Jersey, USA
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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2. Re: Proper/challenging hiking for one day visit?

You also need to be aware of the condition of the trails..whether or not there will be ice/snow covering the trails. If this is the case you will need some type of traction device for your boots! Trekking poles will help as well!

Don't under estimate the challenging part of these trails down into the Canyon! They are not walks in the park and will give you a workout for sure! IF at any point while hiking down one of the trails you feel tired before you reach your designated spot....turn around then!! Your hike up will be the hardest part!!


New York City, New...
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3. Re: Proper/challenging hiking for one day visit?

I'm not sure where you got your information on the trails at the Grand Canyon but it is as Jane says - no dirt roads and only part of the of the Rim Trail is paved. The paved portion is in the village area where it is heavily traveled.

To clarify the hike on South Kaibab - Jane mentions catching the shuttle for a morning hike to Ooh Aah. Note that all hikes on the South Kaibab require the shuttle. There is no parking at the trailhead. You must take a shuttle. The orange does go to the trailhead but you can also take the hiker's express from the Visitor's Center (limited runs in AM).

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