6 Tips for Hiking on Your Grand Canyon Expedition

Our Top Tips for Hiking in Grand Canyon

 

The Grand Canyon is home to some of nature’s most striking wonders, many of which you only get to see when you hike up to them. But even experienced hikers sometimes face difficulty in this high desert climate. In fact, the National Park Service’s website for the Grand Canyon warns (in bold font), “Everyone who hikes in the canyon for the first time reports that it was more difficult than they expected.”

Don’t worry, though! A little pre-trip conditioning paired with smart hiking strategies will help you see everything the canyon has to offer, and do it safely. Here are 6 tips for hiking in the Grand Canyon:

 

1. Take a cue from the Boy Scouts and BE PREPARED

Before your trip, practice hiking on trails with hills and uneven terrain. Take the stairs (bonus – start taking them 2 at a time!). Use exercise machines with inclines or steps. If you buy new hiking shoes, make sure to wear them ahead of your trip to break them in.

 

2. STAY HYDRATED

In the desert, by the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Make sure to bring two unbreakable 1-liter water bottles and refill them throughout the day – you should be drinking at least three liters of water each day. (Note: If you are hiking the Bright Angel trail, you should have containers that carry at least 4 liters of water just for your hike. The refill stations aren’t always operational.)

 

3. EAT SALTY FOODS & DRINK SALTY DRINKS

Maintaining the right electrolyte balance is important to keep your body functioning well. Mix up your straight water with some kind of “–ade” drink and eat salty snacks throughout the day, especially when hiking and sweating! We’ll provide plenty of ice cold Gatorade or lemonade on the rafts, so be sure to fill up before starting off.

 

4. USE CLOTHING TO KEEP COOL

Long-sleeved shirts, wide brimmed hats, and other clothing can keep you out of direct sun and help you stay cool. Get these items wet and they will cool you even more quickly. A cool, wet bandana or sarong around your neck will help chill the blood in your carotid arteries, keeping your whole body temperature down as the blood circulates.

 

5. PACE YOURSELF AND REST WHEN YOU NEED TO

Walk at a pace you can maintain while talking – it’s the optimal speed for your body. When you get tired, take a short break in a shaded area before continuing. Take these opportunities to enjoy the incredible views the canyon has to offer.

 

6. GEAR UP RIGHT

Wear comfortable, broken-in shoes to avoid blisters. If you usually hike with poles, bring ones with rubber tips and that can collapse for storage; if you don’t normally hike with poles, you likely won’t need them. And bring only what you need to ensure you aren’t carrying any unnecessary weight.

 

These simple tips for hiking in Grand Canyon will help you tackle all the side hikes your guides can throw at you and ensure that you get to see all the canyon’s hidden gems on your Grand Canyon expedition. Book a 2024 or 2025 river trip today to experience the beauty of the Canyon first hand! And don’t forget to get your 90th Year T-shirt or sticker!