This part will only focus on the Grand Canyon National Park, since it honestly had a soft spot in my heart for one of my favorite stops the entire trip. The one thing I will mention about the Grand Canyon National Park is that due to its popularity it has become a Disney Land/World of sorts with millions of people coming and a lot of them not knowing the most basic hiking and camping principles. While this is a drawback, as long as you plan ahead and get your hikes done early you should have no problems.
The first thing I want to point out about the Grand Canyon National Park is the best camping location you can find. I stayed at the Desert View Campground on the east side of the park and couldn’t be happier with my decision.
This campground is first come and does not take any reservations which is great for last minute campers like me and also limits the campground to 50 sites. I had to get there around 7am to make sure I a had a spot since by 8am I couldnt see a single open spot. The sites are nice and quiet at almost all times of the day and at only $12 a night its just a sweet deal. The best part about the campground is its location on the East side of the park which gets you out of the mayhem that is Grand Canyon Village. Not only that but also gets you some of the best views you can get without climbing into the canyon.
Once you get all setup in either campground you will head over to Grand Canyon Village to get a sense of the area and find out what you want to do. I highly recommend the Rim Trail starting at Grand Canyon Village to get a feel for the park and have an easy first day hike to take in the scenery. Depending what time of the year you are going you must make sure to have plenty of water at all times since hydration is key to lasting at this park.
The other two trails that I did where Hermits Trail which you can get to by taking the red line to the last stop and walking about 1/4 of a mile to the trail head. It is a very poor marked trail head to get too but that also means less people will be there. Once you start hiking down there isn’t any real way to get lost since it is mostly switchbacks all the way down. This trail is pretty tough and not for the faint of heart or out of shape. Also since it is so far out it is definitely not a popular trail so you will see very few if any hikers which can be uncomfortable for some. I loved it and only say 2 people the entire time hiking down and back.
This hike, along with any hike at the Grand Canyon needs to be started early and done early. One thing a lot of people do not realize about the Grand Canyon is that it gets hotter as you go deeper. This hike especially does not offer any water stops on the way down, making it important to take everything you might need with you.
The last hike I did in the Grand Canyon was the Bright Angel Trail, hands down one of the most popular trail at the GCNP.
This might be the hardest hike I did the entire trip and hands down kicked my ass! I started the hike by getting up around 4am, again it is super hot at GCNP in the summer and you have to hike smart which means being done with most hikes by 10am.
I only ventured a little past the second rest stop which is 3 miles down into the canyon and resulted in a 6.5 mile round trip. In all honesty I have yet to be tested so hard in a hike in my entire life but the views and scenery you get are just breathtaking.
I cannot express just how amazing the Grand Canyon is and the fact that everyone must visit it one day. It does offer something for all levels of expertise and ages, but you must know what you can, want and will do. The hikes at GCNP range from fairly easy such as the Rim Trail and intense levels such as Hermits Trail and Bright Angel Trail. Do your research of each trail and ask park rangers if you are unsure how capable you are, they are great experts with plenty of knowledge of current conditions and difficulty levels.
It has and will always be one of our favorite places to hike at but wait till you see my next favorite spot coming up next in part 4!
What is your favorite hiking trail? Do you prefer small easy hikes or intense full day hikes?
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