The Grand Canyon is a place I've wanted to go ever since I was a child watching Wile E. Coyote chase the roadrunner around the desert. I got to spend a few weeks visiting my friend Todd, who works at GCNP, allowing me the time to spend a few days down in the canyon itself.
- I did this hike in January 2021, temperatures in the canyon reached 70°F. In the summer months temperatures can exceed 120°F. USE EXTREME CAUTION, heat illness is a serious risk, people die in the Grand Canyon every year because of the heat. Please be prepared.
- Make sure to contact the Backcountry Office before heading into the canyon to camp. If you don't have a permit you may be turned around. I saw it happen while I was there.
Since I hiked to the trailhead, and was hiking back once done, I decided to use the Bright Angel Trail down and back since it was the closest to Todd's. Knowing the route your going to take is very important at GCNP as you need to obtain a backcountry permit to camp below the rim and they need to know where you will be staying, when you'll be staying there and when you are returning. I headed out around 6am, the sky didn't start getting light until I was almost to the 3 Mile Rest House.
I arrived at Indian Garden Campground, my home for the next 2 nights, at about 8:45am. I found a site, got set up and continued down to the Colorado River another 5 1/2 miles away and 1400' lower. I spent the next 2 days exploring the main corridor of the canyon. I crossed both suspension bridges, checked out Phantom Ranch, hiked towards the north rim for a few miles, explored part of the Clear Creek Trail, spent time relaxing by the Colorado River and just took in all the sights.
The fact that I was hiking here in January helped keep the temperatures down during the day, but also limited the wildlife I would see. Mostly I saw mule deer... everywhere. In the summer lizards, snakes and scorpions are also common.
One of the most amazing places I have ever seen. It's not an easy hike, you definitely pay for the privilege of seeing the bottom of the canyon. But it is well worth it, just be prepared, take your time and enjoy.