Grand Canyon Hiking At The South Rim

A trip to the Grand Canyon was on my husband’s bucket list, and for once I let him take the initiative and do all the planning. When he couldn’t get reservations at Canyon Ranch (the lodging at the bottom of the canyon), he set his sights on hiking from the South Rim to the Colorado River. 

Grand Canyon Hiking

Although signs and park rangers tried to discourage us from doing it as a day hike in mid-August, we walked the line between badass and dumbass and made out to the river–and back.

The Bright Angel trail starts at the South Rim

Bright Angel Trailhead

zig-zags down

Bright Angel Trail

and out to Indian Garden,

Bright Angel Trail

and then winds around and down

Bright Angel Trail

to the river.

Colorado River

The National Park Service website tells this brief history of the trail.

Following a natural break in the cliffs formed by the massive Bright Angel Fault, today’s Bright Angel Trail approximates a route used for millennia by the many Native American groups that have called the Grand Canyon home. Early western pioneers at the canyon first built a trail in 1891 to reach mining claims established below the rim at Indian Garden. Recognizing that the true worth of the claims would be measured in visitation by tourists, these pioneers immediately registered their trail as a toll road and extended the trail to the river.

The mining claims and use of the trail as a toll road would be the source of much controversy, first in legal battles with railroad companies that wanted to control tourism and later with the federal government. The trail was turned over to the National Park Service in 1928. Though it has been rerouted and improved considerably over the years, present day visitors on the Bright Angel Trail can sense its rich history from ancient pictograph panels and historic structures, and by marveling at the trail’s construction over some of the roughest terrain in North America.

We took the warning signs seriously, but with plenty of water and snacks, and with a cloudy sky to keep us from getting too hot, we decided we could make it.

Of course, the ever-changing scenery and spectacular views kept us going.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The clusters of mile markers give a hint of the number of switch backs along the trail, and the elevation speaks for itself!

Overall, the hike took us about 8.5 hours, including a few snack breaks. When we finished, we were hot, tired, and grimy, but glad we had done it–and grateful for the cloudy afternoon skies that made it possible.

Have you done any Grand Canyon hiking? 

This entry was posted in Fitness and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Grand Canyon Hiking At The South Rim

  1. So gorgeous! Hiking the Grand Canyon is on my bucket list as well.

  2. Steena says:

    Wow. I’m not sure I could handle that! You two are tough! It would be amazing though, one of my dream trips as well.

  3. Chaitali says:

    Wow, kudos to you guys! That looks like a really tough hike. Those views are phenomenal. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon but it’s definitely on my list.
    Chaitali recently posted…Friday 5 – Running Tips for new runnersMy Profile

  4. Looks like a fabulous trip! We hiked around Aspen last year and I loved how challenging it was.
    Deborah Brooks @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Summer Veggie Lentil LoafMy Profile

  5. Liz says:

    This looks amazing! I have never been to the Grand Canyon but it is on my bucket list! 🙂
    Liz recently posted…Paleo Blueberry CrispMy Profile

  6. Marcia says:

    This looks hugely epic. Speaking of asses, isn’t there an option where you can ride one down? Sign me up for that!
    Marcia recently posted…Marathon Training in Heat and Why I Keep SwimmingMy Profile

  7. This is totally on my bucket list. I can’t believe we haven’t made it out there yet! Looks like a great time and so incredibly beautiful!

  8. Beautiful!!! and Kudos to you and the hubby for experiencing it together! I think that would be tons of fun and even more enjoyable in weather that was a tad cooler 🙂
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…An Attitude of Gratitude!My Profile

  9. I have never been, but this is on my bucket list.
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted…Loving Lately – August 2015My Profile

  10. Pingback: Grand Canyon Sunrise - Got2Run4Me

  11. Sharon says:

    Wow! Looks amazing!!Way to get it done! The Grand Canyon is on my bucket list too.
    Sharon recently posted…5 Things to Love About Niagara FallsMy Profile

  12. Kelli says:

    This looks so beautiful (and tough)! I have never been, although my youngest son was out there with his grandmother this summer and they did a mule ride around the rim. They enjoyed it and had funny stories about their mules.
    Kelli recently posted…SRAM Mariposa Challenge and virtual motivationMy Profile

  13. That looks so beautiful! What a gorgeous place for a hike!
    Liz @ I Heart Vegetables recently posted…Spaghetti Squash Lasagna [Vegetarian & Gluten Free]My Profile

  14. jill conyers says:

    The GC is one of my all time favorite places. So many wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing your adventure!
    jill conyers recently posted…Chewy Vanilla Espresso Granola BarsMy Profile

  15. Jacqueline says:

    Beautiful! I hiked that trail with my third grade class when I was little and we lived in Arizona. I would love to go back and bring my own kids. When I last looked into it, the lodging at the bottom can fill up a full year in advance.

  16. Pingback: Ready To Beat The Deadline For A Comeback | Got2Run4Me

  17. Pingback: Labor Day Weekend Coffee Date Link Up - Got2Run4Me

  18. Pingback: Grateful For My Abundant Life - Got2Run4Me

  19. Pingback: Throwing Caution To The Wind - Got2Run4Me

  20. ROFL, we’ve walked that line “between bad ass and dumb ass” as well, maybe more than we probably should… 🙂

    Great photos. Totally impressed it only took you 8 1/2 hours. I’d probably have to camp overnight.
    Debbie @ Traveling Well For Less recently posted…No Fees on Gift Cards, $50 From Rocketmiles, and More!My Profile

  21. Pingback: My 2015 Highlights - Got2Run4Me

  22. Clarinda says:

    Oh, wow! Your pics really make me want to do this even more!
    Clarinda recently posted…Week in Review – 3/05My Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge