When planning your trip, remember that the most enjoyable and safest seasons for hiking are spring and fall. It is desirable to schedule at least two nights in the canyon. This allows a rest and recovery day before the hike out and reduces the distance to be covered each day. You should consider elevation gain and loss, not just mileage, when researching possible itineraries. Fifteen trails and numerous obscure routes provide access to the inner canyon. Access to the bottom (2400 feet / 730 meters above sea level) is possible from both the South Rim (7000 feet/2130 meters above sea level) and the North Rim (8200 feet / 2500 meters above sea level). None of these trails is easy, and since most people live at elevations near sea level, they find that hiking at high elevations greatly contributes to their fatigue.
Most visitors begin and end their hikes from the South Rim. Roads leading to the North Rim are closed during winter months due to heavy snowfall. Depending upon weather conditions, these roads are open from mid-May to mid-October. The hiking distance from the North Rim to the Colorado River is twice as far as from the South Rim to the river. The minimum time recommended for a round trip from the North Rim is three nights. Below is trail information on some Grand Canyon backcountry trails. Review backcountry ranger suggested hikes for recommended itineraries.
Hiking and canyoneering involve unavoidable risks that every person assumes. You should not depend on any information in this description for your personal safety; your safety depends upon your good judgement, based on experience and a realistic assessment of your hiking ability as well as weather and route conditions. Some routes and trails may have changed or deteriorated since these descriptions were written. If you have any doubt as to your ability to safely complete a trip, do not attempt it.
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY. HIKE INTELLIGENTLY
Cultural resources in the canyon are fragile and irreplaceable. The remains of prehistoric and historic cultures belong to us all. When artifacts are stolen or moved, archaeological sites are destroyed and we lose important clues about the past, forever! Sites and artifacts are protected by strict laws that provide for rewards for information concerning looting and vandalism. The past belongs to the future, but only the present can preserve it.
Defacing or collecting of any kind is illegal in Grand Canyon. It is your responsibility to aid the National Park Service in preserving the Grand Canyon as you found it for the enjoyment of others.