The Grand Canyon is easily one of the 7 Seven Wonders of the Modern World. We’re not going to pretend to name all 7, but the Grand Canyon would definitely be included. At 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and at times over a mile deep, it is beyond impressive, and descending down the North Rim one of the must-visit hiking sites any serious backpacker must tackle.
While the Grand Canyon can be extremely busy any time of year, the vast majority of tourists will be visiting the South Rim. Which is why, for a real hiking experience, you need to venture to the North Rim. (Crossing over the Canyon, if you’re wondering, necessitates a 4-hour trip on US Route 89A, the only bridge crossing it.) The North Kaibab Trail is a 29-mile out-and-back that will bring you deep down into the heart of the canyon, and one of the least visited in the park. And it’s far from easy. As the trail descends the Canyon walls, it passes by Redwall Limestone cliffs, before flattening out at Bright Angel Canyon and past Roaring Springs, a waterfall and natural spring that is used as the park’s entire water supply.
Roaring Springs turns into Bright Angel Creek, which will flows beside you all the way to the Colorado River. The trail ends at Bright Angel Campground, where you can spend the night before making the trek back out – and up – the next morning. Be aware, however, that due to the drop in elevation, the campground is extremely hot during the summer; plan on arriving early in the day, and being off the trail before the heat.
In fact, that’s the toughest part of this hike; The Grand Canyon is rugged, dangerous, and essentially untamed wilderness. Weather ranges from the extreme heat of the summer to freezing cold and snow in the winter. If you are not properly prepared, it can be deadly. But that’s what makes it worthwhile.
As with any hiking experience, especially when hiking in the Grand Canyon area, high-quality hiking gear is a must. Being prepared for extreme conditions will make your experience all that you expect.