Grand Canyon Stories and Tips

Getting Started Overview

Grand Canyon Plateau Photo, Grand Canyon, Arizona

South Entrance Hikes
East Rim Trail-Easy, paved, wheelchair accessible, elevation changes of 200 feet, some shade and park benches, highlights include historic buildings, round trip times depending on turnaround points 15 minutes to 1 ½ hours. 8 miles round trip

West Rim Trail-Easy to moderate, paved or well-marked path, elevation change of 200 feet, some shade, highlights include California Condors, River Views, Temple of Isis Formation, Temple of Cheops Formation and sheer vertical cliffs. 2.35 miles round trip

Bright Angel Trail-Steep, zigzagging, dusty, potholes, narrow, same path as mules use, little shade, rest house with water and restrooms every 1-½ miles, increasing hiking temperature, highlights include squirrels, lizards, views looking upwards, oasis camping at Indian Gardens, river view at Plateau Point, Camping at Phantom Ranch along with mule pack riders. 20 miles round trip

South Canyon Shuttle Buses:
Hermits Rest Route-80 minutes round trip without getting off, 7:30 to sunset every 10-15 minutes during summer.

Village Route-60 minutes round trip without getting off, 6:30 to 11:00pm every 10-15 minutes during summer.

Kaibab Route-20 minutes round trip without getting off, 4:30am to 8:30pm every 10-15 minutes during summer.

Although my hiking was primarily during the day, mountain lions, pumas and cougars do exist. Therefore it is advised not to hike alone, do not run from the animal and do not leave food out. On the other hand there are elk, deer, squirrels and cheerful birds.

Ranger Programs:
Although I am partial to the astronomy programs especially with group of specialist there at the time and with the eclipse, there are varieties of programs available to the beginner as well as those with some background. Evening programs about nature and cultural are held at Mather Amphitheater and Condor Talks by Lookout Studio where they are likely to be seen. Walks with a ranger include 1 ½ hour walks from the visitor center to 1 hour walks from Yavapai Observation Center. There are least a dozen programs with some accessible to wheelchairs. There are also junior ranger programs. During June through August were several photography programs, which I wish I had time to participate in, but I did get some tips at the visitor center.

Feeding animals is prohibited and if rangers if think they see you doing it for a photo they’ll say something. Tagging or defacing the rocks and such is a $1000.00 fine we were told. Pets must be on a leash.

At the top is the newer material is the Kaibab limestone, 260 million years old, and at the bottom is Vishnu Schist some 1.7 billion years old. The canyon is 277 miles with widths averaging 10 to 18 miles. Erosion from wind, rain, and river flow are constantly changing the terrain.

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