Whenever I am within 150 miles of Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park I have no reason not to visit! A recent quick day trip allowed my friend and I to hike a few miles on the rim trail, socially-distanced from other people, and to view wildlife and the canyon’s grandeur once again!
The Covid pandemic is still unfortunately our reality! Signs are posted everywhere to remind people face masks are required inside various shops, hotels, shuttle buses and some viewpoints overlooking the canyon where people cannot socially-distance themself from others. Another sign I saw and had never seen before was designating an area for people to exercise their Constitutional First Amendment Rights. No one was in the area on this day.
I have hiked to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon a few times. When I am at the rim, I love looking over the canyon’s edge to locate certain points, such as Plateau Point, Indian Garden, South Kaibab Trail, Ooh-Aah Point, etc. If you were interested in hiking to Plateau Point, plan a full-day to hike down the Bright Angel Trail, then take a side trail to it just before reaching Indian Garden. It is still a bit of a hike out to the point, although it does have the flattest terrain of your day. At Plateau Point you’ll be overlooking the Colorado River and it’s a nice place to have lunch. It’s a long day to hike 12.2 miles. Or you may choose to hike only 600 feet down to Ooh-Aah Point on the South Kaibab Trail. Any hike in the canyon, remember to double the time for your return to the rim, bring water and snacks, and take breaks as needed. All can be accomplished with good planning.
From Yavapai Point on the rim trail, one can see the Colorado River. With our current drought concerns, lowered water level at Lake Powell and less snow-melt into the rivers feeding this river, there has been much discussion and hopefully productive actions taken since we are far beyond a rain-dance solution to assure citizens of Arizona, California, and Nevada of a continued water source. You hear of places where water restrictions are required and this will be a larger, continued concern if we are not careful with our water management.
As we look below the canyon’s edge, one can see the Kaibab Trail Suspension Bridge. Look closely, it is there! It’s an important bridge used by trail riders and mules to carry supplies to Phantom Ranch. Just before the pandemic there was a dedication of the 1928 trail and bridge construction. It was amazing construction and remains in use today!
I usually hike down the South Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch, crossing the Kaibab Trail Suspension Bridge …. Campout or stay in a cabin/dorm …. then return a couple of days later on the Bright Angel Trail to the rim. I love seeing the Bright Angel trail because it brings back so many memories of good times I have had hiking the canyon! Looking closely for the zig-zag of the Bright Angel Trail just before the rim. Many day hikers will walk down from this point … but remember… double your time as that is what you will need to return to the rim! And please wear hiking boots, sunscreen and bring water and snacks!
There are interesting weather-worn trees and wildlife in the canyon. On our latest visit we saw mountain goats and elk. Condors are sometimes in the air. Just keep your eyes open and appreciate nature at its best!
I wish everyone could visit the Grand Canyon. It is an amazing place to feel humbled by what nature can accomplish with no interference from humankind. I can only hope we do not destroy our planet. I want future generations to see this canyon with water. Currently recycling scarce water is happening as explained in this diagram:
My hope is for all to look across the canyon, on a clear day, to the horizon 60 + miles away and see Mount Trumball as seen in the photo below:
Water and air are so important and canyon visit should reminds us all of their importance. Be safe and enjoy the canyon!