Grand Canyon National Park


Arizona > Grand Canyon National Park
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Ninetyfour Mile Creek
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Inner canyon gorge
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Rafter at Hance Rapids
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Grand Canyon Train
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Honan Point

The South Rim of Arizona's Grand Canyon is expensive and overcrowded, and there is usually a shortage of parking and accommodation, but that of course doesn't matter as the canyon is the most famous natural attraction in the USA and possibly in the world. No-one forgets their first sight of the Grand Canyon and it will never fail to impress or offer something new, no matter how often it is visited.

Ninety percent of tourists see only the south rim of the Grand Canyon, since it is easily accessible and the main road (AZ 64) parallels the canyon edge for some distance (see map) - here there is every conceivable facility, many superb overlooks and a choice of hiking trails. The north rim, 215 miles away by road, is much more remote and high enough in elevation to be closed during the winter months by snow, but fewer people mean more peace and tranquility and the views are just as good. The only other part of the Grand Canyon that may be approached via paved roads is Havasu Canyon, contained within the Havasupai Indian Reservation to the west, although a day's hiking is necessary.

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Comanche Point
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Havasu Falls
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Toroweap Overlook

Still further west, a few reasonable quality unpaved roads run through land of the Hualapai Indian Reservation including the one down Peach Springs Canyon that leads all the way to the Colorado, giving access to many isolated side canyons as well as the river itself. On the other side of the Grand Canyon, the particularly remote Tuweep area to the northwest can be reached by several dirt tracks of over 60 miles starting from US 89 in Utah and offers some spectacular viewpoints, but most of the countless square miles of the canyon and its tributaries are completely inaccessible by road.

As others have said, sometimes the scale and extent of the Grand Canyon is disconcerting - the great gorge is too vast to take in at first sight, but a hike down beneath the south rim gives a more intimate and manageable perspective. The two main trails to the Colorado River are the Bright Angel and the South Kaibab; this latter connects with the North Kaibab route which follows Bright Angel Canyon to the north rim. There are also many longer (unmaintained) paths suitable for experienced hikers, leading both to the river and along the canyon, such as the difficult New Hance Trail, the mostly level Widforss Trail on the north rim and very steep Lava Falls Trail near Tuweep. For inexperienced hikers, even a short walk along the level and partly paved Rim Trail (which parallels the south edge of the canyon for 13 miles) is enough to escape the all crowds at the major viewpoints.




Featured Grand Canyon Trails


South Rim

Bright Angel Trail
Bright Angel Trail
★★★★★
9.5 miles, 4550 feet
Popular and spectacular route to Indian Gardens, the Tonto Bench and the Colorado River
Cedar Mountain Trail
Cedar Mountain Trail
★★★★★
1.7 miles, 630 feet
Little traveled path giving views of Desert View from the canyon rim, before heading east towards a flat-topped butte
Comanche Point
Comanche Point
★★★★★
6.2 miles, 670 feet
Remote, rarely traveled trail to a trailless overlook on the east side of the Grand Canyon, in the middle of the Palisades of the Desert
Dripping Spring Trail
Dripping Spring Trail
★★★★
3.1 miles, 1400 feet
Quite popular path descending steeply into upper Hermit Creek, then following a side drainage to a small spring
Grandview Trail
Grandview Trail
★★★★
3 miles, 2600 feet
Unmaintained path that descends a steep ridge to Horseshoe Mesa, site of some old copper mines and primitive camping areas
Hermit Trail
Hermit Trail
★★★★★
9 miles, 4340 feet
Excellent rim to river path with varied scenery, from cliff-bound Hermit Basin, all along Hermit Creek to Hermit Rapids on the Colorado River
Papago Point
Papago Point
★★★★
1.1 miles, 100 feet
Short, off-trail hike to an unmarked viewpoint
Pinal Point
Pinal Point
★★★★★
1 miles, 80 feet
Cross-country walk to an unmarked viewpoint
New Hance Trail
New Hance Trail
★★★★★
8 miles, 4530 feet
Spectacular, unmaintained rim to river path that follows Red Canyon to Hance Rapids; perhaps the most difficult South Rim trail
Plateau Point Trail
Plateau Point Trail
★★★★★
1.5 miles, 80 feet
Spur off the Bright Angel Trail, to a viewpoint of the inner canyon gorge
Shoshone Point Trail
Shoshone Point Trail
★★★★★
1 miles, 0 feet
Stoll through airy ponderosa pine woodland to a rarely seen viewpoint
South Kaibab Trail
South Kaibab Trail
★★★★★
6.5 miles, 4820 feet
Shorter of the two maintained rim to river routes, running for most of the way along a narrow ridge, giving excellent views
Tanner Trail
Tanner Trail
★★★★★
9 miles, 4600 feet
Long route that descends to the Colorado River, joining it opposite Unkar Creek
Yuma Point
Yuma Point
★★★★★
6 miles, 1,500 feet
Remote viewpoint west of Hermit's Rest, reached by a rather difficult hike of which the last 2 miles is off-trail
Zuni Point
Zuni Point
★★★★★
0.5 miles, 20 feet
Quick, cross-country hike to a named overlook, overlooking Papago Creek and Red Canyon

North Rim

Atoko Point
Atoko Point
★★★★★
1.4 miles, 220 feet
Off-trail walk through thin woodland close to the rim of a little-visited part of the Grand Canyon, ending at a narrow promontory
Bright Angel Point Trail
Bright Angel Point Trail
★★★★★
0.4 miles, 100 feet
Starting beside the historic Bright Angel Lodge, a paved trail descends a short distance to the southern tip of a narrow promontory for excellent views over the Grand Canyon
Cape Final Trail
Cape Final Trail
★★★★
2 miles, 150 feet
A long disused vehicle track provides an easy route across the edge of the Walhalla Plateau to the easternmost viewpoint on the North Rim, which overlooks a vast area of lesser-known formations
Cape Royal Trail
Cape Royal Trail
★★★★
0.3 miles, 40 feet
Competing with Cape Final to be the best North Rim viewpoint, Cape Royal is reached by an easy, paved, wheelchair-accessible footpath starting right at the end of the paved side road across the Walhalla Plateau
Cliff Spring Trail
Cliff Spring Trail
★★★★★
0.5 miles, 150 feet
Short hike past an Anasazi ruin and along the side of a deepening canyon to an elongated dripping spring
Honan Point
Honan Point
★★★★
2 miles, 350 feet
Easiest reached of five named promontories at the edge of the Walhalla Plateau, reached by a cross-country, off trail hike mostly through open woodland
Naji Point
Naji Point
★★★★★
1.4 miles, 250 feet
Trailless viewpoint, quite easily accessed by walking through the thick pine/fir forest for about 40 minute
North Kaibab Trail
North Kaibab Trail
★★★★★
14 miles, 5780 feet
Well used route down Bright Angel Canyon to Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River
Transept Trail
Transept Trail
★★★★★
1.5 miles, 150 feet
Level path along the rim of a deep side canyon
Uncle Jim Trail
Uncle Jim Trail
★★★★★
5 miles, 100 feet
Trail across the plateau to a viewpoint on the rim that overlooks Roaring Springs Canyon, some of Bright Angel Canyon and the upper part of the North Kaibab Trail
Widforss Trail
Widforss Trail
★★★★
5 miles, 400 feet
Tranquil route along the rim of a side ravine then through thick forest to a remote viewpoint of the main canyon
Havasupai Indian Reservation

Havasu Canyon
Havasu Canyon
★★★★★
10.5 miles, 3600 feet
Famous trail descending Hualapai and Havasu Canyons to the Colorado River, past Supai village
Havasupai Indian Reservation

Bridge Canyon
Bridge Canyon
★★★★
5 miles, 800 feet
Very remote route, partly along a disused vehicle track, down a wide valley and up a ridge into a Grand Canyon tributary
Hindu Canyon
Hindu Canyon
★★★★
6 miles, 1200 feet
A wide, shallow, grassy drainage that eventually forms a short slot, through thin-layered, light-colored rocks stained black in places - an unusual and scenic narrows section
Meriwhitica Canyon
Meriwhitica Canyon
★★★★
5 miles, 2150 feet
Disused trail down a remote Grand Canyon tributary
Milkweed Canyon
Milkweed Canyon
★★★★
8.5 miles, 1000 feet
Several short sections of limestone narrows, containing flooded potholes, and later a permanent stream with rather deeper pools
Marble Canyon Area

Cathedral Wash
Cathedral Wash
★★★★★
1.5 miles, 300 feet
Short, curving tributary; photogenic passageways through potmarked, multilayered rocks
Jackass Creek
Jackass Creek
★★★★
2.4 miles, 800 feet
Canyon with two main forks, both quite narrow in places and containing shallow pools after rains
Tanner Wash
Tanner Wash
★★★★★
4.4 miles, 700 feet
Long canyon, deepening via unusual staircase-like passages through thin-layered sandstone, followed by a 50 foot dryfall and a much wider lower gorge
Tuweep

Lava Falls Trail
Lava Falls Trail
★★★★★
1.5 miles, 2540 feet
Very steep descent down loose scree and lava blocks, to Lava Rapids on the Colorado River


Highlights: The most famous canyon in the world, extending for 277 miles along the Colorado River; many overlooks, hundreds of miles of trails, and vast areas of inaccessible wilderness. The South Rim has many facilities; the more remote North Rim is rather less visited
Nearest city with hotels: South Rim: Tusayan, 2 miles
North Rim: Kanab, 86 miles
Management: NPS; other parts of the canyon are on land of the Navajo, Havasupai and Hualapai reservations
Location: 36.000,-112.121 (South Rim entrance)
Seasons: Open all year, except for the North Rim which is closed by snow from November to May
Weather


Grand Canyon Regions



South Rim - location of the main visitor facilities, the most popular viewpoints, and many hiking trails

Viewpoints
20 canyon overlooks, from Yuma Point to Comanche Point north of Desert View - beside the road or reachable by hiking
Trails
All maintained trails on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, from short paths along the rim to strenuous routes to the Colorado
North Rim - higher elevation overlooks, much less visited but just as impressive

Viewpoints
Ten canyon overlooks, from Widforss Point in the west to Point Imperial in the east
Trails
Details of all paths and trails on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, most to overlooks along the rim
Havasupai Indian Reservation - scenic region west of the main south rim, centered around Supai, Havasu Canyon, Mooney Falls and Havasu Falls

Hualapai Indian Reservation - large area of rugged canyons in the southwest, including Grand Canyon West, Peach Springs Canyon and Grand Canyon Skywalk

Tuweep - wild, remote area in the northwest corner of the national park, reached by a long drive across uninhabited land

Grand Canyon General Information



Park Maps - Grand Canyon Overview Map,
North Rim and South Rim Detail Map,
Grand Canyon Village Map, Hualapai and Havasu canyons

Grand Canyon Weather - climate summary

Other details: camping, Grand Canyon Railway, hiking precautions, mule trips

Grand Canyon wildflowers
Grand Canyon Wildflowers

Photographs and descriptions of flowering plants found in the national park

Grand Canyon Photography



All Grand Canyon photographs

QTVR Panoramas: Videos:
Pinterest

Comments

Grand Canyon Hotels


Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites Grand Canyon

Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon, the most popular of the hotels near the South Rim, is located just two miles from the southern entrance station on US 180 - in the middle of Tusayan, within easy walking distance of all its rather limited facilities, which include a small selection of restaurants and shops, the airport/helicenter and the Grand Canyon IMAX theater.

Check rates at Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon

More Grand Canyon Hotels (South Rim)

For the remote North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the closest main towns with hotels are Kanab and Page.


Topo Map
Map of Grand Canyon from National Geographic/Trails Illustrated The best general map for hiking in the Grand Canyon is the double-sided 1:73,530 scale topographic map from National Geographic/Trails Illustrated, which covers the canyon from its northern point at Lees Ferry (Marble Canyon), as far west as Mohawk Canyon in the Hualapai Reservation.

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