Can You Hike The Grand Canyon? (A Beginners Guide)

Can You Hike the Grand Canyon

The highlight of hiking is mostly the chance to trail breathtaking scenery. Those are the scenes that make hikes memorable. They also make all the sweat and dirt worth it.

It’s easy to imagine going on a hike through the Grand Canyons. The picture you get in the movies always seems magical; besides that, it’s a prime location.

But despite the allure, hiking the Grand Canyons will only be good if you don’t get into trouble doing it.

There are no laws that restrict people entirely from hiking the Grand Canyons. Anyone can hike the Grand Canyons without violating any laws. You don’t even need a permit if you only plan to hike the Grand Canyons in one day. A valid permit only comes into the fray for overnight hikes or large groups moving through the inner canyon.

Despite the exclusive nature of the Grand Canyons, going on a hike there is easier than you imagine. The buzz and questions about permits shouldn’t scare you either.

This article will give you all the information you need to organize a hike through the Grand Canyons. You’ll also get details on the difficulty of hiking there and how to prepare.

Is it Allowable to Hike the Grand Canyons?

Can You Hike the Grand Canyon

Yes, it’s allowable to hike the Grand Canyons. Hiking the Grand Canyons goes without a hiccup when it’s a day hiking plan. But it gets tricky for overnight hikes and large groups.

Single persons and small groups of less than 12 people don’t need a permit to hike the Grand Canyons. But that’s only for day hikes within those limits.

The Commercial Services Department at the Grand mandates permits for all overnight hikes. Also, large groups will have to get permits even for a day’s hiking experience.

By large groups, that means organized groups of 12-30 persons. It’s okay if people come alone to hike the Grand Canyons and the number goes up.

Getting the permit allows groups to conduct rim-to-rim, rim-to-rim-to-rim, rim-to-river-to-rim, or extended day hikes in the inner canyon.

Another point, however, is that any group hoping to hike the Grand Canyons should be a non-profit group. Thus, there are policies in place against using the location for promotions.

In such a case, the activity goes beyond hiking, and a hiking permit doesn’t cover that. The financial rights to the Grand Canyon are exclusive to its management.

Thus, it will have to approve any commercial activity within the premises. Such policies prevent abuse of public sights and keep exploitation in check.

But you can still take photos or videos of your hiking experience. The policy only means you won’t monetize any of those content.

So, feel free to head up to the Grand Canyons for a hike, alone or with your family. You only need a permit if you plan overnight hikes.

How Long Does It Take to Hike Up the Grand Canyon?

The time you take on a hike depends on the trail you choose. For example, you can have as little as 30 minutes for a roundtrip hiking Bright Angel Point Trail.

Then, hiking to Roaring Springs and back takes a full day via the North Kaibab trail. It all depends on the hiking experience you want, so there’s a trail to match your needs!

Hikers can day hike the Grand Canyons through the North or South rims. But the North rim typically has more trials than the South Rim.

The catch between the trails is the facilities you can access and the sites you can see. Hiking the whole Grand Canyon is impossible in one day, so you have to take one trail.

For example, the South Kaibab and the Bright Angel trails are common routes on the South Rim. The Bright Angel trail is two miles long than South Kaibab but has shade and water.

There’s also the Havasupai Gardens on the Bright Angel trail for a quick stop, toilet facilities, and a ranger station. But there’s no water on the South Kaibab trail.

Although in this case, you can choose to alternate the trails since both are on the South Rim. You can take either trail going and the other on your way back.

The table below shows some popular hiking trails in the Grand and the time to complete a one-way hike.

Trail (Length)Time to Complete Hike
Bright Angel Trail (9.3 Miles)4 Hours 40 Minutes
South Rim Trail (13 Miles)6 Hours 30 Minutes
South Kaibab Trail (7.1 Miles)3 Hours 35 Minutes
North Kaibab Trail (14 Miles)7 Hours
Grandview Trail (6 Miles)3 Hours
Havasu Falls/Havasupai Trail (10 Miles)5 Hours
Widforss Trail (5 Miles)2 Hours 30 Minutes
Cape Final Trail (2 Miles)1 Hour
Hermit Trail (8.9 Miles)4 Hours 30 Minutes

Return hikes usually take twice the time, so it’s always best to start them early. Also, the National Park Service doesn’t advise hikers to make a roundtrip in one day.

Hikers endure severe strains trying to get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back in one day. The best choice for such hikes is to plan for a few days.

Then elevation change as you go through the trails will tell on your body system and affect your movements. So, it’s best to hit the trails in short bursts.

How Much Does It Cost to Hike the Grand Canyon?

What you spend on hiking the Grand Canyon depends on your hiking plan. When it’s a day hike, you have less to worry about when you pay the entrance fee.

The North and South Rims entrance fee is $20 for persons 16 years and older. Anyone 15 years and younger can enter the Grand Canyons for free!

Also, the entrance fee differs for a vehicle and motorcycle permit. The permits cost $35 and $30, respectively, and admit driver and passenger(s).

There are currently five free entrance park days at the Grand Canyons. During those periods, all tourists do not pay the entrance fee into the Grand Canyons.

That’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, National Park Week, National Park, Service’s Birthday, National Public Lands Day, and Veteran’s Day.

You can also get annual passes to Federal recreation sites within the Grand Canyon. The top on the list is the America the Beautiful Lifetime Senior Pass at $80.

The annual pass allows access to all Federal recreation sites in exchange for 250 cumulative service hours.

For tours, a guided day hiking (South Rim) costs $110 per person. Then when it comes to overnight hiking, you need to apply for and get backcountry permits.

The camping permit costs $10 per group below the Rim, $8 above the Rim, and $8 for extra persons or livestock.

Please, follow the steps below to get a backcountry permit valid at the Grand Canyons.

  • Download the Permit Request form HERE.
  • Next, submit your form to the Backcountry Information Center in person, via fax, or by mail. The center doesn’t accept submissions by email or phone.
  • Please, ensure to start the application process ten days before the first day of the month, which is four months before you would like to go.
  • For example: For April, submit November 20th. The space allows at least three weeks for processing.

If you can get a permit, a few permits are usually available for walk-ins. 

But they are only valid for 48 hours. Also, you can choose to be on a waitlist for the next set of available walk-in permits if you like.

How Difficult Is Hiking the Grand Canyon?

For starters, there are no easy trails into or out of the Grand Canyon! But the difficulty of any trail boils down to how well you prepare for the hiking trip.

It’s vital to brood a positive attitude and pack enough food and water. Timing your movements is also a vital part of hiking the Grand Canyons.

Hiking during the hottest part of the day is a risk factor in the Grand Canyons. Doing that will attract heat-related illness, injury, or even death!

So, it’s always best to start all hikes before 7 a.m. That way, you finish before the sun is at its peak.

Another risk factor in the Grand Canyons is Mountain Lions on remote trails. So there’s a higher risk of an attack hiking alone. In such a case, it’s best to hike with a group.

Also, it’s best to keep in mind the strain of hiking the Grand Canyons on your first trip. Do well to have an experienced hiker with you if you aren’t one yourself.

For supplies, take four liters of water (for one day) and plenty of food. Ensure to pack high-energy, salty snacks along with your meals. But do well not to feed wildlife.

Go along with your map so you can stay on track. Also, packing a stove and tent helps a lot for overnight hikes.

Always be mindful of the season to determine your outfits and other equipment. You can bet on having a smooth hiking trip at the Grand Canyons if you prepare well.

Josh Matthews

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *