Most travelers vacationing in the southwest of the U.S. will at some point visit the Grand Canyon. However, according to the National Park Rangers, most visitors remain at the 17 million year old famous Canyon for only 15 minutes.
Since the Grand Canyon deserves more attention, here are a few tips for those who plan to explore this natural wonder through hikes or Grand Canyon tours.
- For multiple days, Grand Canyon hikes require a permit, called backcountry permit, which should be requested in advance for a small fee. The necessary form can be emailed, faxed or submitted personally. For day trips and overnight stays in the Phantom Ranch Lodge, no permit is necessary. The stay at the Phantom should be booked in advance because the available facilities are limited and sold out early. Phantom Ranch accepts reservations 13 months in advance.
- Because of the high temperatures on the inside as well as on the edges of the Grand Canyon, it is important to carry enough fluid as well as food. Good footwear is as essential as adequate sunscreen. It is strictly discouraged to hike up to the Colorado River and back in one day. Every year 200 people who overestimate their efficiency must be saved from the Canyon; there are also deaths!
- The safest route is the Bright Angel Trail from the South Rim to the Bright Angel Campground. Many hikers prefer the shorter South Kaibab Trail for the descent and then ascend up the Bright Angel Trail. The South Kaibab trail is indeed shorter, but also steep and offers no shade.
- Hiking in the summer: The temperatures in the interior of the Grand Canyon rise often to more than 110 ° F (40 ° C) during the day and up to 75 ° F (24 ° C) at night. An adequate fluid intake is therefore imperative. The same applies to food. You should avoid the heat of the day between 10 and 4 pm especially during the ascent. If water is available, you should cool off. Do not push yourself too hard. Take a short break every hour.
- Hiking in the winter: The temperatures in the interior of the Grand Canyon reach 58 ° F (14 ° C) during the day and 38 ° F (3 ° C) at night. The nearby parts of the trails are usually covered in snow and occasionally iced. Winter equipment, waterproof clothing, and enough food and fluid are imperative. Invest in a good pair of hiking boots and break them in before you start your Grand Canyon vacation. Hiking sticks may help relieve the stress on your knees.