Here is a Quick Overview for the adventurous among you that are considering hiking the Grand Canyon all the way to the Colorado River and back out in one day. Yes it is totally doable and contrary to most people telling you it’s too dangerous it simply requires to things:
- Being in relatively good shape.
- Having a plan for not only knowing how to properly pack for the hike but also knowing were and how to start.
Not much time is needed to explain the details of being in shape. The Health & Fitness section of this blog will have plenty of tips going forward, but basically be prepared to walk downhill then uphill for a total of 15+ miles. And even though this is not recommended during the summer, the first time i did the hike the average temperature most of the day was over 100 degrees (reaching a max of 115 at the bottom).
There will be plenty of websites that will advise you on how to dress and what to pack for food so these things will be commented on in passing. Instead the focus would be as to the most optimal route to take because the most important aspect to the hike is “time” and if you are lost trying to find the starting trail, it does not matter how physically ready you were and if you properly packed.
My advice is to pack as light as possible. Being able to move through the trails quickly will make a world of difference and the more people you do this with, the longer it will take since you can only hike at the speed of the slowest person. Because the hike is so long it is not recommended to walk at someone else’s pace so the best advice i can give is find one or two people who hike at the same speed and break up into smaller groups.
Use light comfortable sneakers, a light shirt and hat. It gets hotter the lower you go so I’ve always tried to do this in May when the temperature is in the 80’s. As for food and drinks, pack light, a Camelbak backpack is best so you don’t have to carry water in your hand. If you are going to use powerade or gatorade I recommend diluting it 50/50 with water. On the flip side drinking pure water is not recommended either because if you are sweating out all your salt, replacing it with just water is dangerous. Trailmix with some nuts, chocolate and fruit is great. There are 3 water stops on your way out so if it’s not crazy hot pack light and use those to have just enough water till the next one. When hiking the first time it’s hard to judge when the next water station will come, but having done this a few times, it’s a much easier hike when you run out of water knowing that in less than a mile you can re-fill, than arriving at a water stop and not needing much because you were scarred of running and rationed too much or have been walking with 10 pounds of water in reserve.
As for the Trails. I recently seen a similar overview what’s described below here. Start as early as possible but definitely before 8am, you are in trouble if you are not out by sundown. Park near the Bright Angel Lodge if you can and take one of their buses to South Kaibab Trailhead. Go down South Kaibad Trail over the Kaibab Suspension Bridge. It’s a pretty steep way down and there are no water stops along the way. It’s not really needed since you are fresh and can move quickly, but think twice before deciding to turn around and going back [not recommended] (Optional: when you reach the river, go to Phantom Ranch for some snacks before going back up.) Hike back using the Bright Angel Trail by first going over the Bright Angel Suspension Bridge. The first Major point on your way out Indian Gardens about half way to the top. it will be your first place for a water refill. there will be two additional water stops after Indian Gardens so if you had left over water when arriving at Indian Gardens, you should need less cause that was by far the longest stretch.
It’s an amazing experience and everyone should do this while we are still young and capable. The US has some of the most gorgeous Natural wonders of the world, we all should take advantage.