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Best south rim hikes, mid-March

Toronto, Ontario...
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Best south rim hikes, mid-March

I'll be there mid-March and some of the hiking advice says to watch for icy spots in early spring. I'd like to do the most challenging/scenic day hikes that are possible. We have 3 days and hope to get in mountain biking, maybe rafting if it's available (but haven't looked into that yet). Many thanks in advance.

Sedona, AZ
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1. Re: Best south rim hikes, mid-March

No rafting at the GCNP in March. Try the smooth water trip up in Page if you have time. You'll need a night or two at Page after the GCNP

www.raftthecanyon.com

March weather can be winter or early spring. No way to predict until a few days out. Nights and early mornings will be frigid, no matter what.

Day hikes are all scenic. South Kaibab is the more scenic corridor trail. Try Grandview or Hermits as an alternative. You won't be hiking to the river. The best way to gauge yourself is to hike downward for a period of time and then turn around with a plan to take twice as much time to climb back up. Be careful that you don't run out of daylight. Enjoying the beauty of the Grand Canyon is more about the time that you take than the distance that you walk. You could literally sit still for hours and still not see everything in front of you.

tucson az
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2. Re: Best south rim hikes, mid-March

If you want to do mountain biking, you'll have to bring your own bikes and do that away from the canyon in the forest. You can ride your bike on the roads but not on most of the rim path. You will not see the canyon riding a bike except for where you stop for overlooks. You can't see the canyon from the 30-mile rim road except at a few places.

The bikes that are available for rent are "cruisers," which are typically one speed bikes intended to ride mostly on the level and not fast. A small part of the west rim trail is paved, and bikes are allowed there. Someone decided to not index all the info pages on the park website, so you might have problems finding the bike info:

nps.gov/grca/…biking-for-fitness.htm

www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/bicycling.htm

Be sure to read where bikes are permitted and not permitted.

I would repeat the caveat about hiking down into the canyon. Coming back up takes twice as long as going down for most people and is equivalent to ascending a mountain trail.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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3. Re: Best south rim hikes, mid-March

The Grand Canyon is vast and dayhikes can be as challenging as you want but I would recommend one of the established trail hikes for a first-time visit.

www.hitthetrail.com/south-rim-day-hikes

For challenging day hikes, my suggestions would be Grandview trail to Horseshoe Mesa and Bright Angel trail to Plateau Point. Combination of great trails and great views. A good first hike would be South Kaibab; take this to Cedar Ridge or even Skeleton Point.

Check trail conditions before going and keep an eye on the weather forecast. You may want to bring some traction devices (Yaktrax, Microspikes, etc.) Grandview is notorious for being especially icy in late winter. In early spring, I'd get a slightly later start in the morning to let any overnight ice melt off. It will be cold on the rim and at the trailhead -- bring lots of layers. Hiking poles are recommended if you use them.

Toronto, Ontario...
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4. Re: Best south rim hikes, mid-March

Thanks for all the advice.

I understand it's not recommended to hike all the way down and up in one day, but is it possible? Do people do it? When we hiked Mount Robson, it's recommended to camp 2 nights to finish the trail but we did it in one day, 20 km in and up and 20 km out. We're mid-30s, fit, so I wondered if it was achievable?

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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5. Re: Best south rim hikes, mid-March

Yes, it's possible and people do it relatively often. The risks at the Grand Canyon are mostly associated with heat, which won't be an issue in mid-March. The popular hike is on "corridor" trails -- down South Kaibab trail and out Bright Angel trail -- which are well-established (and "crowded" by Grand Canyon standards.) If you're in good physical shape, which it sounds like you are, you shouldn't have any issues.

March days are relatively short, so take that into accout in your planning. I would opt to hike down with light and take headlamps just in case you're hiking out after dusk. Plan your water since you will only have limited access.

Toronto, Ontario...
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6. Re: Best south rim hikes, mid-March

Awesome, thank you

Evanston, Wyoming
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7. Re: Best south rim hikes, mid-March

Agree that if you're up for rafting, the Colorado River Discovery Float Trip out of Page will be your best and most comfortable option. You'll still have to dress warmly, but unless it's raining or snowing, you won't get wet and the scenery is beautiful. www.raftthecanyon.com

IMO mid-March is still too cold for white water rafting. There is a single day white water raft trip offered by the Hualapai Indian Tribe out of Peach Springs at that time. It takes place outside of Grand Canyon National Park on the Native American Tribal Land section of the canyon, but with air temps in the 50's or below and water temperatures of 48 degrees year-round (and yes, you get wet) that's kinda pushing it on comfort. It's available out of Peach Springs if you drive direct, or with round-trip transportation out of Williams and Flagstaff. Here's info on it if you're feeling brave ... and warm-blooded ;-) ->: http://bit.ly/12kbteP

Toronto, Ontario...
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8. Re: Best south rim hikes, mid-March

Thank you. I think rafting and biking are out and will stick to hiking.

With our one full day, we'll hike to the bottom and up, weather permitting along down South Kaibab trail and out Bright Angel trail as suggested by DetTigerFan. We'll have 2 half days (more like 3/4 days) when we travel from and back to Vegas. We're staying at one of the lodges on the South Rim. We may do the Grandview trail like RedRox and DetTigerFan suggested if we're up for it. If anyone has a suggestion of pleasant easier hikes or scenic drives or alternatives for the half days, that would be great.

Also, whenever I've hiked in the mountains or rainforests people always leave walking sticks they've found in the forest at the trailhead. Is it the same at Grand Canyon or is it best to bring hiking poles? Many thanks.

Sedona, AZ
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9. Re: Best south rim hikes, mid-March

Bring your own poles. You aren't going to find any at GCNP.

Regarding a rim to river to rim day hike, do your research. People die in the canyon every year. Most of them are regular hikers and in top physical condition. The problem is that they have no way of knowing or understanding how their own bodies can or will cope with the unique extreme environment that is the Grand Canyon.

IMO no one should ever attempt a R2R2R on a first visit to the GCNP.

South Jersey, USA
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10. Re: Best south rim hikes, mid-March

There is also Hermits Rest Trail to either Santa Maria Spring or Dripping Springs!! Both a great day hikes if a little more steep then Bright Angel!

A suggestion would be to browse in the hit the trail website that DTF gave you!! There is loads of info on there about the the trails mentioned!!

Also be advised that there is no water on either South Kaibab,Grandview or the Hermits Rest trails other then the trail head itself!! Be prepared to carry enough with you along with plenty of snacks/food!!

My 2 cents....if you are not in great physical condition I would NOT attempt a rim to river to rim in one day!! The hardest part of this hike will come at the end when you are already tired!! Do your "homework" on these trails and on what you are about to do!!

SJG