Thursday, April 18, 2013

Shorten South Rim trails into day hikes

Cedar Ridge as seen from Oooh-Ahh-Point
on the South Kaibab Trail.
Among the Grand Canyon National Park’s most spectacular sights can be seen on day hikes near Grand Canyon Village, the gateway to the South Rim. While each of the trails heads for several miles, each of them can be shortened into reasonable day hikes.

The three major South Rim trails near the village include:
Bright Angel Trail – You’ll find the trailhead at Bright Angel Lodge near the mule corral. While the trail heads 13.6 miles round trip into the backcountry, day hikers can turnaround after 1.5 miles (for three miles round trip) at the Mile-and-a-half Resthouse after descending 1063 feet. The trail is very steep, with 10 percent average grades and if children are with you, is best for older teens.
South Kaibab Trail – Take the Kaibab Trail Route shuttle bus to the trailhead, which is east of the village and south of Yaki Point. While a the trail goes for up to six miles round trip, you may want to shorten this steep walk by stopping after 0.75 miles (for 1.5 miles round trip) at Ooh-ahh Point, which is less than 200 feet below the rim. At the point, you round Yaki Point for a suddenly expansive view of the eastern canyon. Most elementary school-aged kids can handle this trail.
South Rim Trail – While the South Rim Trail extends several miles along the canyon edge, the short eastern section is perfect for a day hike with children of any age. They’ll be able to see the Colorado River a mile below and an array of incredible buttes, towers and ridges that stretch up to 10 miles away on the canyon’s other side. Access the trail at any viewpoint in the village or on Hermit’s Road.

Read more about day hiking the Grand Canyon in my Hittin’ the Trail: Day Hiking Grand Canyon National Park guidebook.