Family Activities at the Grand Canyon
People at Mather Point
Family activities at Grand Canoyn include ranger-led talks and hikes, the WebRanger program, and the Junior Ranger program.
The Rim Trail is for Families
Starting from the South Kaibab Trailhead just east of Grand Canyon Village and continuing to Hermits Rest at the west end of Hermit Road, the Rim Trail winds along the South Rim past most of the South Rim’s viewpoints..
The Village, Kaibab and Hermit shuttles, which are free, stop at most of the viewpoints along the Rim Trail, so you can walk any portion of the trail one-way, then ride the shuttle between viewpoints, or back to your starting place.
Be a WebRanger!
If you have access to the Internet, you can become a National Park WebRanger, even if you're not at the Grand Canyon. You can play more than 50 games, learn about the national parks, and share park stories and pictures with other WebRangers around the world.
Junior Ranger Programs
For a current list of all ranger programs, see the South Rim Guide.
Junior Rangers have fun learning about the Grand Canyon and the national park and represent the park to their friends and families. There are five ways you can become a Junior Ranger of Grand Canyon National Park and all are free of charge.
Ravens, Coyotes, and Scorpions!
To become a Junior Ranger, you must complete the requirements for your age group in the Junior Ranger Activity Booklet. You can get a booklet at any of the visitor centers or museums on the south or North Rims, including Canyon View Information Plaza, Yavapai Observation Station, Tusayan Museum, Desert View Information Center, and the North Rim Visitor Center.
Requirements for completion include writing down your observations and impressions, writing poems, answering questions about the park, and attending a free program led by a park ranger. This is a year-round program. There are different Junior Ranger Awards for these age groups:
- Ages 4 to 7: Raven Award
- Ages 8 to 10: Coyote Award
- Ages 11 and up: Scorpion Award
When you complete the requirements, bring the activity booklet to any visitor center or ranger station. A ranger will review your booklet, and issue an Official Grand Canyon Junior Ranger Certificate and Badge. Take your Junior Ranger Certificate to any park bookstore, and you can buy a sew-on patch to go with your Junior Ranger Award.
Phantom Rattler Junior Ranger
This is a special program for kids age 4 to 14. Only kids who ride mules or hike to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon can become Phantom Rattler Junior Rangers. After getting to Phantom Ranch, complete the activities in the Junior Ranger Booklet.
Booklets are available at the Phantom Ranch Ranger Station, the canteen, or the campground. After completing the activities in the booklet, you'll receive your Junior Ranger Badge, Patch, and Certificate from a ranger at Phantom Ranch. This program is available all year.
Junior Ranger Dynamic Earth Adventure Hike
Available from mid-June through mid-August, kids 8 to 14 can join a park ranger on a hike down the Hermit Trail. Up to two miles round-trip, this is a strenuous hike, so bring water and sunscreen and wear good hiking shoes.
Start at Hermits Rest
The Adventure Hike begins at 9:00 AM at the Hermits Rest Bell, next to the Hermits Rest Shuttle Stop at the west end of Hermit Road. Board the Hermit Shuttle at the west end of Grand Canyon Village by 8:00 AM so you'll be on time.
After completing the 2-1/2-hour program, you'll be eligible to buy a Junior Ranger Adventure Hike patch. This program also satisfies the ranger activity requirement for the Junior Ranger Activity Booklet.
Junior Ranger Discovery Pack
This program is for kids 8 to 14 and their families. Young naturalists attend a 1-1/2-hour ranger-led program, which meets at Park Headquarters at 9:00 AM mid-June through Labor Day weekend. A park ranger will help kids and their families learn to use the tools in the Discovery Pack, which include binoculars, a hand lens, a journal, and field guides.
Explore the Park Together
After the talk, families take the Discovery Pack with them while they explore the park for the day, completing the journal as they discover plants, animals, and birds. At the end of the day, return the Discovery Pack to a ranger, who will review the Discovery Pack Field Journal. This program also satisfies the ranger activity requirement for the Junior Ranger Activity Booklet.
North Rim Junior Ranger Discovery Pack
A Junior Ranger Discovery Pack program is also offered on the North Rim during the summer months. Check the North Rim Guide for information.
Junior Ranger Family Programs
These programs fulfill the requirement to participate in one ranger-led activity for the Raven, Coyote, or Scorpion Junior Ranger badges. They are offered from June through August.
For kids from 2 to 6 years, this program is held on the lawn behind El Tovar Hotel from 1:30 to 2:00 PM daily, June 8 through September 1. A park ranger will read from his or her favorite Grand Canyon children's books, and require active audience participation.
Way Cool Stuff for Kids and Kids Rock!
Both programs are geared for kids from ages 6 to 12. Way Cool Stuff for Kids starts at 4:00 PM at the Shrine of the Ages parking lot A, and runs June through September 1.
Kids Rock! starts at the same place at 10:00 AM and runs June through August 16. Each program lasts one hour. Come prepared to have fun and learn something new! Previous topics have included:
- Bizarre Bats
- Amazing Mountain Lions
- Fire in a Forest
- Water in Our World
- Tremendous Trees
- Animal Tracking
- Arts and Crafts
I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in. Of what avail are 40 freedoms without a blank spot on the map? -Aldo Leopold