Backpacking in the Grand Canyon is extremely rewarding for those who are both experienced and equipped. Even if you are an experienced mountain backpacker, the Grand Canyon is different. It is desert backpacking, where the trip must be planned around the available water sources. During the summer, hikers may need as much as two gallons of water per person per day.
Trails and routes in the canyon are defined by the persistent horizontal cliff bands, and even though you may be able to see a spring or stream from above, you may not be able to reach it. For its size, Grand CSanyon has very few trails. Only the Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails are maintained- the remaining dozen are leftover prospector trails, maintained primarily by use. These trails are generally unsigned and may fade out without warning, or be confused by multiple routes.
Many backpack trips in the Grand Canyon require difficult cross-country hiking. Unless a member of your party is an experienced Grand Canyon backpacker, spend some time hiking the back country trails and learning how to route find in the canyon before attempting any cross-country hike.
The best seasons for backpacking in the Grand Canyon are spring and fall, when the canyon temperatures are moderate. Winter can be a good season as well, though the top several thousand feet of the trails may be snow-covered.
Avoid hiking during the summer heat, from May through September!Temperatures reach 110 degrees F in the lower parts of the canyon and any mistakes you make, especially with regard to water, quickly become fatal.
Refer to the Maps, Books, and Movies page for a list of hiking guide books for more information on hiking and backpacking at the Grand Canyon.
Backpack Trips at the South Rim
Backpack Trips at the North Rim
Far better is it to dare mighty things. -Theodore Roosevelt