How long does it take to

Hike to the Bottom of Grand Canyon?

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view”

-Edward Abbey

If hiking in the Grand Canyon could be described in a sentence, this is the one.  When people ask us how long it takes to get to the bottom of Grand Canyon, this is the image that is conjured.  The answer is simple; quite a while.  The trip will be several miles, take several hours, require water, food, and gumption, and will then require a trip back out.  In fact, the question should not be how long it takes to get to the bottom, but rather how long it takes to get to the top.

As most any guidebook or seasoned Grand Canyon hiker will tell you, getting down is optional, getting up is mandatory.  People underestimate Grand Canyon and its challenges each year, on which NPS spends a considerable amount of your tax dollars to affect a rescue.  The truth is, it will only take you a few hours, all of which are a breezy downhill, to reach the Colorado River from the rim of Grand Canyon.  However, take whatever time you made to the river, about triple it, and that is essentially the time it will take you to come back up topside.  Even the most fit hikers fall prey to the whims of Grand Canyon, and any trip to the Colorado River should only be attempted as a backpacking trip and not a day hike.

So how long does it take?

The time also depends on the trails you take, and from which rim you start.  Trails from the more popular South Rim are generally shorter, steepers, more well-maintained, and more crowded.  Trails from the North Rim are longer, more circuitous, are considerably less maintained, and are far less crowded, particularly by NPS personnel whose resources must be directed to where 85% of the park’s visitors go.  in general, a trip to the river from the South Rim will take about 5 hours down, and about 15 hours back up.  However, a descent from the North Rim will take close closer to 8 hours to the river, and may take 20+ hours back to the rim depending on fitness.

Colorado River at the Bottom of Grand Canyon

Going Guided

Hiking and exploring Grand Canyon, or any of the National Parks, is a special experience.  Although it is possible to see these places yourself, hiring a guide is a great idea.  For instance, guiding services provide logistical support, and plan everything for your best possible trip.  They provide a great safety net on the trail, and are trained in backcountry medicine. Above all, they provide a depth of knowledge of the region that turns a walk into a true adventure.

Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism provides all of the support you need, and pairs that with expert geologist/guides.  Our backcountry meals use fresh ingredients, and are planned by a professional chef.  Furthermore, we provide top-of-the-line gear and passion for the places we explore.  In conclusion, you can visit National Parks, but going with a guide can create and even more memorable experience.  Don’t be shy, and call us!

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For adventure hiking vacations in a geologic time machine, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

For geological musings read The Goat’s geology blog.

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