Key information: Rim Trails
- You can't possibly not walk some of the Grand canyon’s rim, despite the crowds, on the south rim at least.
- Revel in huge views across the vast canyon; enjoy the changing colours and fantastic shapes of the cliffs, buttes and spires.
- Walkopedia rating89
- Natural interest20
- Human interest5
- Negative points10
- Total rating89
- Note: Negs: Throngs of tourists
- Length: Variable
- Maximum Altitude: Around 2,700m
- Level of Difficulty: Straightforward
The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, a World Heritage Site, and geological heaven. It is hard to overpraise the canyon’s raw, outlandish shapes and formations: they are justly famous. The sheer size of the Grand Canyon is astounding.
Hiking on the South Rim is limited (which is very tedious) to the Rim Trail and the short Shoshone Point Trail. The views are wonderful, though, and are worth putting up with the throngs of tourists for: you can't possibly not walk some of the rim. Things are more relaxed and varied on the North Rim. See below.
The Rim Trail runs for 13 miles between the South Kaibab trailhead near Yaki Point to the east of the visitor centre and Hermits Rest some 7 miles west of Grand Canyon village. It joins together a series of amazing viewpoints, running close to the cliff-edge most of the way. It is paved for much of its way, although there is dirt path between Maricopa Point and Hermits Rest, which feels a bit more like a genuine hike.
It is, needless to say, crowded on a quiet day and hideous at busy times. All the 6 million visitors will go to the rim somewhere. The further you go west of the village, the (relatively) fewer the people on the trail.
You do need to watch at least one sunset from the rim, although, again, don't expect romantic solitude.
The western part is well served by shuttle buses, so walk as far out as you can, then shuttle back. Or shuttle out to Hermits Rest and walk as far back as you can, then shuttle the rest of the way back. (NB: the shuttle out is slow and the shuttle back is quick, because it only stops on the way back at a few top viewpoints, so plan where you stop your walk!)
There are plenty of fine trails which lead out to sublime viewpoints – just look at a map to find one to suit you. The only significant rim-top trail is the Widforss Trail.
See our Grand Canyon page for much more on this and its linking walks, and detailed practical information.
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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