Backpacking, hiking, and camping are some of the many activities that visitors at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona may participate in.
There are several popular hiking trails in Grand Canyon National Park. Starting from the canyon's south rim, where most people access the park, there are dozens of miles of trails that may be explored and several places that allow campers to spend the night. Following is a description of a top outdoor hiking trail in the park.
Bright Angel Trail, a Popular Hiking Trail With Campgrounds From South Rim to River
The Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park is the most commonly traveled path in the park. It runs from the south rim, near Bright Angel Lodge and the famous overlook to the Colorado River, where it hits the North Kaibab Trail. The North Kaibab Trail leads to the north rim of the Grand Canyon, allowing the rim to rim travel via the Bright Angel and North Kaibab hiking trails.
Bright Angel Trail Hiking and Camping Specifics
To follow the Bright Angel Trail from the south rim to the river, backpackers and hikers must be prepared to travel 7.7 miles. The Bright Angel Campground, located just across the Colorado River, is 9.3 miles from the south rim, and Phantom Ranch, a small lodge and resort near the river, is 9.8 miles down from the south rim, about half of a mile north of the campground, and also across the river.
For those who do not wish to travel as far, there is a campground about halfway down Bright Angel Trail, at Indian Gardens (4.6 miles from the south rim), where water fountains and restrooms are also located. The use of either of the two campgrounds on this trail requires a permit from the National Park Service.
Gear for Hiking Trails in the Grand Canyon
Depending on the duration and season of a hike, various supplies are recommended. First of all, water is key, but so is food. A large bottle or canteen, which may be filled every couple of miles at rest stops, is imperative. Most people do not underestimate the importance of keeping themselves hydrated, but many overlook the necessity of food. Small snacks, especially those with salt and sugar (pretzels, peanuts, cookies, crackers), are also essential.
As many cases of hyponatremia (basically, the opposite of dehydration, which can occur when someone drinks way too much water and does not replenish sodium that is lost or overwhelmed by water intake) have been reported on outdoor hiking trails in the park, small snacks, to be eaten every few miles are also important for health reasons.
Hiking gear also includes appropriate clothing for the season, as well as socks and comfortable shoes or hiking boots. Sandals often cause blisters and sore feet, especially when following steep outdoor hiking trails, so they should not be worn. Sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses also help protect hikers from the sun, and should not be forgotten, particularly in the warmer months.
Camping and Hiking the Bright Angel Trail
When camping at one of the park's campgrounds, basic camping supplies are sufficient. A permit is needed to camp in the park, and people planning on camping should be sure to bring tents, like rain and winds causing dust storms to occur at times. Backpacks to keep supplies in, sleeping bags, and flashlights, as well as food and drink, should be brought as well. Black lights are great for locating scorpions, as they appear bright when UV light shines upon them, and these poisonous creatures are very common in the canyon.
Although some are up for the challenge, hiking from rim to river and back up to either rim in a single day is strongly discouraged by the National Park Service, as this can cause fatigue. For those who cannot pair hiking and camping, shorter trips not exceeding half of the length of the Bright Angel Trail are more suitable.