The stretch of ice-cold, crystal-clear water at Lees Ferry off the North Rim provides arguably the best trout fishing in the Southwest. Many rafters and anglers stay the night in a campground near the river or in nearby Marble Canyon before hitting the river at dawn.

Arizona Game and Fish Department. Fish for trout, crappie, catfish, and smallmouth bass at a number of lakes surrounding Williams. To fish on public land, anglers age 14 and older are required to obtain a fishing license from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, either at their office or online. Flagstaff, Arizona. 928/774–5045;

Lees Ferry Anglers. There are guides, state fishing licenses, and gear for sale at Lees Ferry Anglers. Milepost 547, N. U.S. 89A, HC 67, Marble Canyon, Arizona, 86036. 928/355–2261; 800/962–9755;

Marble Canyon Outfitters. This company sells Arizona fishing licenses and offers guided fishing trips. 1/4 mile west of Navajo Bridge on U.S. 89A, Marble Canyon, Arizona, 86036. 928/645–2781; 800/533–7339;


The National Park Service authorizes 16 concessionaires to run rafting trips through the canyon—you can view a full list at the park’s website ( Trips run from 3 to 16 days, depending on whether you opt for the upper canyon, lower canyon, or full canyon. You can also experience a one-day rafting trip, either running a few rapids in Grand Canyon West with the Hualapai tribe or floating through Glen Canyon near Page.

Arizona Raft Adventures. Arizona Raft Adventures organizes six- to 16-day paddle and/or motor trips through the upper, lower, or "full" canyon, for all skill levels. Trips depart April through October. 4050 East Huntington Dr., Flagstaff, Arizona, 86004. 928/526–8200; 800/786–7238; From $2,025.

Canyoneers. With a reputation for high quality and a roster of three- to 14-day trips, Canyoneers is popular with those who want to do some hiking as well. The five-day "Best of the Grand" trip includes a hike down to Phantom Ranch. The motorized and oar trips are available April through September. 7195 N. U.S. 89, Flagstaff, Arizona, 86004. 928/526–0924; 800/525–0924; From $1,080.

Grand Canyon Expeditions. You can count on Grand Canyon Expeditions to take you down the Colorado River safely and in style: evening meals might include filet mignon, pork chops, or shrimp. The eight-day motorized and 14-day Dory trips range from $2,590 to $3,804, and some trips focus on special interests like archaeology and photography. Arizona. 435/644–2691; 800/544–2691;

Wilderness River Adventures. One of the canyon's larger rafting outfitters, Wilderness River Adventures runs a wide variety of trips from three to 16 days, oar or motorized, from April to October. Their most popular trip is the seven-day motor trip. 2040 E. Frontage Rd., Page, Arizona, 86040. 928/645–3296; 800/992–8022;

Air Tours

Flights by plane and helicopter over the canyon are offered by a number of companies, departing from the Grand Canyon Airport at the south end of Tusayan. Though the noise and disruption of so many aircraft buzzing around the canyon is controversial, flightseeing remains a popular, if expensive, option. You'll have more visibility from a helicopter, but they’re louder and more expensive than the fixed-wing planes. Prices and lengths of tours vary, but you can expect to pay about $169 per adult for short plane trips and approximately $179–$250 for brief helicopter tours (and about $500 for combination plane and helicopter tours leaving from Vegas). These companies often have significant discounts in winter—check the company websites to find the best deals.


Grand Canyon Airlines. This company offers a variety of plane tours, from a 50-minute fixed-wing tour of the eastern edge of the Grand Canyon, the North Rim, and the Kaibab Plateau to an all-day tour that combines flightseeing with four-wheel-drive tours and float trips on the Colorado River. They also schedule combination tours that leave from Las Vegas (plane flight from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Airport, then helicopter flight into the canyon). Grand Canyon Airport, Tusayan, Arizona, 86023. 928/638–2359; 866/235–9422; From $169.

Maverick Helicopters. Maverick Helicopters has 25- and 45-minute tours of the South Rim, North Rim, and Dragon Corridor of the Grand Canyon. Airplane tours out of Las Vegas are also provided. A landing tour option for those flying from Las Vegas to the West Rim sets you down in the canyon for a short snack below the rim. Grand Canyon Airport, Grand Canyon, Arizona, 86023. 928/638–2622; 800/962–3869; From $165.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters. Leaving from Grand Canyon Airport, Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters operates in tandem with Grand Canyon Airlines to offer combination fixed-wing and helicopter tours of the canyon. Add-on options include off-road jeep tours and smooth-water rafting trips. Grand Canyon Airport, Tusayan, Arizona, 86023. 928/638–2764; 888/635–7272; From $124.


The South Rim's limited opportunities for off-road biking, narrow shoulders on park roads, and heavy traffic may disappoint hard-core cyclists. Bicycles are permitted on all park roads and on the multiuse Greenway System, as well as Bridle Trail . Bikes are prohibited on all other trails, including the Rim Trail. Some find Hermit Road a good biking option, especially from March through November when it’s closed to cars. You can ride west 8 miles and then put your bike on the free shuttle bus back into the village (or vice versa). Mountain bikers visiting the South Rim may be better off meandering through the ponderosa pine forest on the Tusayan Bike Trail. Rentals and guided bicycling tours are available April to October at the South Rim from Bright Angel Bicycles (928/638–3055 at the visitor center complex. Bicycle camping sites are available at Mather Campground for $6 per person.


Although permits are not required for day hikes, you must have a backcountry permit for longer trips . Some of the more popular trails are listed here; more detailed information and maps can be obtained from the Backcountry Information centers. Also, rangers can help design a trip to suit your abilities.

Remember that the canyon has significant elevation changes and, in summer, extreme temperature ranges, which can pose problems for people who aren't in good shape or who have heart or respiratory problems. Carry plenty of water and energy foods.Listen to the podcast Hiking Smart on the Park's website to prepare for your trip. The majority of each year's 400 search-and-rescue incidents result from hikers underestimating the size of the canyon, hiking beyond their abilities, or not packing sufficient food and water.

Under no circumstances should you attempt a day hike from the rim to the river and back. Remember that when it's 80°F on the South Rim, it's 110°F on the canyon floor. Allow two to four days if you want to hike rim to rim (it's easier to descend from the North Rim, as it’s more than 1,000 feet higher than the South Rim). Hiking steep trails from rim to rim is a strenuous trek of at least 21 miles and should only be attempted by experienced canyon hikers.


Rim Trail. The South Rim's most popular walking path is the 12-mile (one-way) Rim Trail, which runs along the edge of the canyon from Pipe Creek Vista (the first overlook on Desert View Drive) to Hermits Rest. This walk, which is paved to Maricopa Point and for the last 1.5 miles to Hermits Rest, visits several of the South Rim's historic landmarks. Allow anywhere from 15 minutes to a full day, depending on how much of the trail you want to cover; the Rim Trail is an ideal day hike, as it varies only a few hundred feet in elevation from Mather Point (7,120 feet) to the trailhead at Hermits Rest (6,650 feet). The trail also can be accessed from several spots in Grand Canyon Village and from the major viewpoints along Hermit Road, which are serviced by shuttle buses during the busy summer months. On the Rim Trail, water is only available in the Grand Canyon Village area and at Hermits Rest. Easy. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.


Bright Angel Trail. This well-maintained trail is one of the most scenic hiking paths from the South Rim to the bottom of the canyon (9.6 miles each way). Rest houses are equipped with water at the 1.5- and 3-mile points from May through September, and at Indian Garden (4 miles) year-round. Water is also available at Bright Angel Campground, 9¼ miles below the trailhead. Plateau Point, on a spur trail about 1.5 miles below Indian Garden, is as far as you should attempt to go on a day hike; the round-trip will take six to nine hours.

Bright Angel Trail is the easiest of all the footpaths into the canyon, but because the climb out from the bottom is an ascent of 5,510 feet, the trip should be attempted only by those in good physical condition and should be avoided in midsummer due to extreme heat. The top of the trail can be icy in winter. Originally a bighorn sheep path and later used by the Havasupai, the trail was widened late in the 19th century for prospectors and is now used for both mule and foot traffic. Also note that mule trains have the right-of-way—and sometimes leave unpleasant surprises in your path. Moderate. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.

Clear Creek Trail. Make this 9-mile hike only if you are prepared for a multiday trip. The trail departs from Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon and leads across the Tonto Platform to Clear Creek, where drinking water is usually available but should be treated. Moderate. Trailhead: Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.


Grandview Trail. Accessible from the parking area at Grandview Point, the trailhead is at 7,400 feet. The path heads steeply down into the canyon for 3 miles to the junction and campsite at East Horseshoe Mesa Trail. Classified as a wilderness trail, the route is aggressive and not as heavily traveled as some of the more well-known trails, such as Bright Angel and Hermit. There is no water available along the trail, which follows a steep descent to 4,800 feet at Horseshoe Mesa, where Hopi Indians once collected mineral paints. Hike 0.7 mile farther to Page Spring, a reliable water source year-round. Parts of this trail are icy in winter, and traction crampons are mandatory. Difficult. Trailhead: Grandview Point, Desert View Dr., Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.

Hermit Trail. Beginning on the South Rim just west of Hermits Rest (and 7 miles west of Grand Canyon Village), this steep, unmaintained, 9.7-mile (one way) trail drops more than 5,000 feet to Hermit Creek, which usually flows year-round. It's a strenuous hike back up and is recommended for experienced long-distance hikers only; plan for six to nine hours. There's an abundance of lush growth and wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep, along this trail. The trail descends from the trailhead at 6,640 feet to the Colorado River at 2,300 feet. Day hikers should not go past Santa Maria Spring at 5,000 feet (a 5-mile round trip).

For much of the year, no water is available along the way; ask a park ranger about the availability of water at Santa Maria Spring and Hermit Creek before you set out. All water from these sources should be treated before drinking. The route leads down to the Colorado River and has inspiring views of Hermit Gorge and the Redwall and Supai formations. Six miles from the trailhead are the ruins of Hermit Camp, which the Santa Fe Railroad ran as a tourist camp from 1911 until 1930. Difficult. Trailhead: Hermits Rest, Hermits Rd., Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.

South Kaibab Trail. This trail starts near Yaki Point, 4 miles east of Grand Canyon Village, and is accessible via the free shuttle bus. Because the route is so steep (and sometimes icy in winter)—descending from the trailhead at 7,260 feet down to 2,480 feet at the Colorado River—and has no water, many hikers take this trail down, then ascend via the less-demanding Bright Angel Trail. Allow four to six hours to reach the Colorado River on this 6.4-mile trek. At the river, the trail crosses a suspension bridge and runs on to Phantom Ranch. Along the trail there is no water and little shade. There are no campgrounds, though there are portable toilets at Cedar Ridge (6,320 feet), 1.5 miles from the trailhead. An emergency phone is available at the Tipoff, 4.6 miles down the trail (3 miles past Cedar Ridge). The trail corkscrews down through some spectacular geology. Look for (but don't remove) fossils in the limestone when taking water breaks. Even though an immense network of trails winds through the Grand Canyon, the popular corridor trails (Bright Angel and South Kaibab) are recommended for hikers new to the region. Difficult. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.

Jeep Tours

Jeep rides can be rough; if you have had back injuries, check with your doctor before taking a 4X4 tour. It's a good idea to book a week or two ahead, and even further if you're visiting in summer or on busy weekends.

Tours and Outfitters

Grand Canyon Jeep Tours & Safaris. If you'd like to get off the pavement and see parts of the park that are accessible only by dirt road, a jeep tour can be just the ticket. From March through November, this tour operator leads daily 1½- to 4½-hour off-road tours within the park, as well as in Kaibab National Forest. Sunset tours and combo tours adding helicopter or airplane rides are also available. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023. 928/638–5337; From $54.

Grand Canyon Store. This tour company offers off-road adventures year-round in comfortable cruisers (small luxury vans with heating and air-conditioning) rather than jeeps. Full-day tours go either to the South Rim, or to the bottom of the canyon on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. Helicopter tours or white-water raft tours through the canyon are included in some of these trips. 212 W. Rte. 66, Williams, Arizona, 86046. 928/638–2000; 800/716–9389; From $249.

Marvelous Marv's Grand Canyon Tours. For a personalized experience, take this private tour of the Grand Canyon and surrounding sights any time of year. Tours include round-trip transportation from your hotel or campground in Williams, Tusayan, or Grand Canyon; admission to the park; scenic viewpoint stops; a short hike; and personal narration of the geology and history of the area. 200 W. Bill Williams Ave., Williams, Arizona, 86040. 928/707–0291; From $100.

Mule Rides

Mule rides provide an intimate glimpse into the canyon for those who have the time, but not the stamina, to see the canyon on foot. Reservations are essential and are accepted up to 13 months in advance.

These trips have been conducted since the early 1900s. A comforting fact as you ride the narrow trail: no one's ever been killed while riding a mule that fell off a cliff. (Nevertheless, the treks are not for the faint of heart or people in questionable health.)


Xanterra Parks & Resorts Mule Rides. These trips delve into the canyon from the South Rim to Phantom Ranch, or east along the canyon's edge (the Plateau Point rides were discontinued in 2009). Riders must be at least 55 inches tall, weigh less than 200 pounds (for the Phantom Ranch ride), and understand English. Children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Riders must be in fairly good physical condition, and pregnant women are advised not to take these trips.

The three-hour ride along the rim costs $118. An overnight with a stay at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon is $515 ($901 for two riders). Two nights at Phantom Ranch, an option available from November through March, will set you back $732 ($1,206 for two). Meals are included. Reservations (by phone), especially during the busy summer months, are a must, but you can check at the Bright Angel Transportation Desk to see if there's last-minute availability. 888/297–2757; Phantom Ranch rides daily; Rim rides mid-Mar.–Oct., twice daily; Nov.–mid-Mar., once daily. Reservations essential.


Tusayan Ranger District. Although you can't schuss down into the Grand Canyon, you can cross-country ski in the woods near the rim when there's enough snow, usually mid-December through early March. The ungroomed trails, suitable for beginner and intermediate skiers, begin at the Grandview Lookout and travel through the Kaibab National Forest. For details, contact the Tusayan Ranger District. 176 Lincoln Log Loop, Grand Canyon, Arizona, 86023. 928/638–2443;

Adventure Tours

Hualapai River Runners. One-day combination river trips are offered by the Hualapai Tribe through the Hualapai River Runners from mid-March through October. The trips leave from Peach Springs (a 2-hour drive from the West Rim) and include rafting, a hike, a helicopter ride up to the West Rim, and transport. Lunch, snacks, and beverages are provided. Children must be eight or older to take the trip, which runs several rapids with the most difficult rated as Class VII, depending on the river flow. 5001 Buck N Doe Rd., Peach Springs, Arizona, 86434. 928/769–2636; 888/868–9378; From $387.


Mountain bikers can test the many dirt access roads found in this remote area. The 17-mile trek to Point Sublime is, well, sublime; though you'll share this road with high-clearance vehicles, it's rare to spot other people on most of these primitive pathways.

Bicycles and leashed pets are allowed on the well-maintained 1.2-mile (one-way) Bridle Trail, which follows the road from Grand Canyon Lodge to the North Kaibab Trailhead. Bikes are prohibited on all other national park trails.



Cape Final Trail. This 4-mile (round-trip) gravel path follows an old jeep trail through a ponderosa pine forest to the canyon overlook at Cape Final with panoramic views of the northern canyon, the Palisades of the Desert, and the impressive spectacle of Juno Temple. Easy. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.

Cape Royal Trail. Informative signs about vegetation, wildlife, and natural history add to this popular 0.6-mile, round-trip, paved path to Cape Royal; allow 30 minutes round-trip. At an elevation of 7,685 feet on the southern edge of the Walhalla Plateau, this popular viewpoint offers expansive views of Wotans Throne, Vishnu Temple, Freya Castle, Horseshoe Mesa, and the Colorado River. The trail also offers several nice views of Angels Window. Easy. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.

Cliff Springs Trail. An easy 1-mile (round-trip), one-hour walk near Cape Royal, Cliff Springs Trail leads through a forested ravine to an excellent view of the canyon. The trailhead begins at the Cape Royal parking lot, across from Angels Window Overlook. Narrow and precarious in spots, it passes ancient dwellings, winds beneath a limestone overhang, and ends at Cliff Springs. Easy. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.

Roosevelt Point Trail. This easy 0.2-mile round-trip trail loops through the forest to the scenic viewpoint. Allow 20 minutes for this relaxed, secluded hike. Easy. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.

Transept Trail. This 3-mile (round-trip), 1½-hour trail begins near the Grand Canyon Lodge at 8,255 feet. Well maintained and well marked, it has little elevation change, sticking near the rim before reaching a dramatic view of a large stream through Bright Angel Canyon. The route leads to a side canyon called Transept Canyon, which geologist Clarence Dutton named in 1882, declaring it "far grander than Yosemite." Check the posted schedule to find a ranger talk along this trail; it's also a great place to view fall foliage. Flash floods can occur any time of the year, especially June through September when thunderstorms develop rapidly. Easy. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.


Uncle Jim Trail. This 5-mile, three-hour loop starts at 8,300 feet and winds south through the forest, past Roaring Springs and Bright Angel canyons. The highlight of this rim hike is Uncle Jim Point, which, at 8,244 feet, overlooks the upper sections of the North Kaibab Trail. Moderate. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.

Widforss Trail. Round-trip, Widforss Trail is 9.8 miles, with an elevation change of only 200 feet. Allow five to six hours for the hike, which starts at 8,080 feet and passes through shady forests of pine, spruce, fir, and aspen on its way to Widforss Point, at 7,900 feet. Here you'll have good views of five temples: Zoroaster, Brahma, and Deva to the southeast, and Buddha and Manu to the southwest. You are likely to see wildflowers in summer, and this is a good trail for viewing fall foliage. It's named in honor of artist Gunnar M. Widforss, renowned for his paintings of national park landscapes. Moderate. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.


Ken Patrick Trail. This primitive trail, one of the longest on the North Rim, travels 10 miles one-way (allow six hours each way) from the trailhead at 8,250 feet to Point Imperial at 8,803 feet. It crosses drainages and occasionally detours around fallen trees. The end of the road, at Point Imperial, brings the highest views from either rim. Note that there is no water along this trail. Difficult. Trailhead: east side of North Kaibab trailhead parking lot, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.

North Kaibab Trail. At 8,241 feet, this trail leads into the canyon and down to Phantom Ranch. It is recommended for experienced hikers only, who should allow four days for the round-trip hike. The long, steep path drops 5,840 feet over a distance of 14.5 miles to Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River, so the National Park Service suggests that day hikers not go farther than Roaring Springs (5,020 feet) before turning to hike back up out of the canyon. After about 7 miles, Cottonwood Campground (4,080 feet) has drinking water in summer, restrooms, shade trees, and a ranger. Difficult. A free shuttle takes hikers to the North Kaibab trailhead twice daily from Grand Canyon Lodge; reserve a spot the day before. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023.

Horseback Riding

Private livestock is limited to the corridor trail (North Kaibab Trail) in the inner canyon and on select rim trails including Uncle Jim Trail. Bright Angel and Cottonwood Campgrounds accommodate private equines as does the North Rim Horse Camp, a quarter mile from the North Kaibab Trailhead. Grazing isn’t permitted; handlers are required to pack their own feed. A backcountry permit is required for any overnight use of private stock.

Mule Rides

Canyon Trail Rides. This company leads mule rides on the easier trails of the North Rim. A one-hour ride (minimum age seven) runs $40. Half-day trips on the rim or into the canyon (minimum age 10) cost $80. Weight limits are 200 pounds for canyon rides and 220 pounds for the rim rides. Available daily from May 15 to October 15, these excursions are popular, so make reservations in advance. 435/679–8665;