There are a lot of trails inside the canyon, but only a few are well traveled. Read my guide for the best Grand Canyon trails to find out which trails are best for your trip!
Are you planning to go hiking at the Grand Canyon, and aren’t sure which trail (or trails) you should take?
Grand Canyon trails range from easy to extremely difficult, and can be both rewarding and dangerous.
Whichever trail you choose, do a little research first.
And if you choose a difficult trail, be sure to plan ahead.
Which is Best, the South Rim or North Rim?
Most visitors go to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
The North Rim is less crowded, but it’s closed longer for winter, and has fewer park services available.
It’s also a 5 hour drive from the South Rim.
Both rims offer gorgeous hiking opportunities.
Want an Easy Trail? Choose The Rim Trail
Trail information from Walk My World.
If you’re looking for a flat and relatively leisurely hike at the Grand Canyon, head for the Rim Trail on the South Rim of the canyon.
This track joins together the lookout points along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
It’s designed to be accessible for everyone, with a paved, relatively flat path all the way along (or the ability to navigate around any sections which are not paved using the road).
The views from this trail are breathtaking, and following the rim for miles allows you to gain some idea of the sheer scale of the canyon.
If you only have time for a short section of the Rim Trail, make sure you visit Hopi and Powell Point for particularly spectacular views. The light at these points is especially beautiful at sunset, and looking over the canyon when the sun goes down is a definitely a bucket list experience.
If you want to walk the entire trail it is 13 miles long, or you can choose to hike a shorter portion and then hop on the shuttle bus to head back.
For a really picturesque section of the trail, take the shuttle to Hermit’s Rest and walk back to the village (5.5 miles). This hike has sweeping views, and is a fantastic choice if you are hiking the Grand Canyon in winter.
Choose a Corridor Trail for your first Hike Into the Grand Canyon
The Kaibab Trail and the Bright Angel Trail are the two corridor trails into the Grand Canyon.
These trails are the most well-maintained trails into the canyon, and are the safest way to venture into the canyon by foot.
But you still have to work hard to see the sites.
The Kaibab runs from the north side of the canyon down to the Colorado river, and then goes all the way from the the river back up to the South Rim.
The section of the Kaibab on the north side of the river is the North Kaibab, and on the south side it’s the South Kaibab Trail.
The Bright Angel Trail goes from the South Rim to the Colorado River.
Day Hikes on the Corridor Trails
For a day hike into the Grand Canyon, pick one of the designated day hike spots on either the Bright Angel or South Kaibab trails.
These spots are clearly marked on trail maps and at the trail heads.
Do not go past the designated day hike end points, and keep track of the time as you hike. Plan on it taking twice as long to come up as it did to go down.
If you’re hiking when it’s warm, try to avoid being on the trail between 10am and 3pm.
Be prepared– our day hike on the South Kaibab was one of the hardest hikes I’ve ever done.
Make sure to check out my recommended gear for the Grand Canyon National Park!
Rim to River Hikes in the Grand Canyon
Want to hike all the way down to the Colorado River?
Just keep in mind that you’ll have to hike back out!
From the South Rim, you can either take the South Kaibab Trail or the Bright Angel Trail.
The South Kaibab Trail offers sweeping, breathtaking views of the canyon. At 6.8 miles long, it’s considerably shorter than the 9.1 mile Bright Angel Trail. It’s also steeper, has no shade, and no water.
The Bright Angel Trail is longer, winds through green valleys within the canyon, and has several water options.
The most popular Rim to River route is to go down the South Kaibab Trail, and back up the Bright Angel Trail. This is the route we took, and it worked well.
Keep in mind that the National Park Service does not recommend hiking all the way to the river and back in one day, and that you’ll need to apply for a permit to camp inside the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon Trails: Rim to Rim Hikes (+ Rim to Rim to Rim)
The other popular hike through the Grand Canyon is a rim to rim.
This involves hiking from the top of the South Rim (either on the Bright Angel or South Kaibab), all the way to the Colorado River, and then up the North Kaibab Trail to the North Rim of the canyon.
Or vice versa.
A rim to rim to rim hike is where you then turn around and hike all the way back to the South Rim.
Rim to rim to rim is a pretty intense hike.
Plan on getting a backcountry permit before beginning your hike, because a rim to rim hike is definitely a multi-day trek.
After you’ve finished hiking the trails (and your legs are sore), drive around the park for more views! Check out this guide to visiting the Grand Canyon viewpoints by car.
Want to visit the North Rim too? Check out this guide to day hiking at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon from Fox in the Forest.
Grand Canyon Trails Outside the National Park: Havasu Falls
Trail information from Meg the Traveling Teacher.
Havasu Falls is one of the most famous hikes near the Grand Canyon, and for good reason.
This is a difficult and incredibly rewarding hike.
It’s a once in a lifetime experience that you will not regret, but you’ll also need to plan ahead.
Havasu Falls is located inside the Havasupai Reservation, and you must obtain a permit in advance to hike. Permits are given out for a four-day, three-night visit only and can only be made in February.
Once you’re confirmed, you can begin to plan this amazing hike!
The hike to Havasu Falls is long and tough– you’ll walk eight miles to to the Supai village, and then another two miles to the Havasupai campground, all without much shade or cloud cover.
You’ll either need to pack everything with you for your three-night stay or pay for a mule to carry your packs in. Be prepared for the hike to take anywhere between 3 to 6 hours each way.
At the end of the long hike, Havasu Falls will feel like it came out of nowhere. When you finally reach the Supai campgrounds, you’ll turn a corner and then be greeted with an incredible view!
During your stay, there are other amazing waterfalls to hike to as well.
Mooney Falls is a challenge to get to (and the trail might be precarious if you’re afraid of heights), but is gorgeous and very close to Havasu Falls. Hike to Mooney Falls early in the day, and then continue to Beaver Falls.
The next day, make sure to hike to Little Navajo Falls and Fifty Footer Falls.
The incredible blue water, amazing waterfall swims, and perfect views make the difficult trail to Havasu Falls worth every minute!
Want to go? Check out these 21 tips for hiking Havasu Falls!