Replete with jewel tones and an incredibly diverse terrain, Grand Canyon National Park is a gift to hiking enthusiasts.

Though it's tempting to take a seat on a roadside bench and just gaze at its deep, layered rings of geological wonder, it's well worth your time to lace up those hiking boots and hit the park’s 595 miles of trails.  

Whether you’re after family strolls on paved routes or more challenging multiday treks, this Arizona hotspot has numerous options to give you a perspective that far exceeds any scenic drive or viewpoint – wandering through towering pines; navigating deep river basins; getting up close to desert bighorn sheep.

With multiple visitor centers, a geology museum, accessible trails and lodging throughout the park, the Grand Canyon is well set up to welcome the many visitors that descend on it every year. Still, it's best to plan your trip in advance and make early reservations. Packing the right equipment is essential and sunscreen, drinking water and checking the weather forecast before setting off are paramount here. These are our five favorite hikes in Grand Canyon National Park.

1. Grandview Trail

Trail with the best views
12.5 miles round trip, 8 hours, strenuous

With sweeping canyon vistas, this advanced trail on the South Rim lives up to its name. Dating from 1893, the Grandview Trail was originally carved out by miners, seeking easier access to copper ore. Today, it has evolved into the ultimate full-day adventure for hiking pros.  

This trail throws you right in the deep end. From a well-marked parking area, steep switchbacks cut down dusty terrain, with vistas of the Hance Creek Valley greeting you at every turn. Following that, the rocky path periodically offers some flatter reprieves. The highlight of the trail is The Last Chance Mine, a former profitable copper mine. You can't enter, but disused equipment is scattered nearby.

Note: there are no water stations on the Grandview Trail. Pack a filter if you want to drink water from a spring.

The wooden Ooh Aah Point sign in the centre of the picture, which overlooks the vast Grand Canyon
No prizes for guessing where Ooh Aah Point on the South Kaibab Trail got its name © razyph / Getty Images

2. South Kaibab Trail

Best Grand Canyon hike 
6 miles round trip, 6 hours, hard

From The Chimney and Skeleton Point to Ooh Aah Point, the quirky names given to the major features of this rocky trail are only part of the fun. Make a full day out of the route by aiming to reach the remarkable river vistas available from Skeleton Point.

First, make your way down The Chimney. These descending switchbacks near the trailhead offer panoramic sweeps of the multicolored eastern Grand Canyon. Next, venture through Ooh Aah Point and Cedar Ridge – no prizes for guessing how either got their name – as you make your way to Skeleton Point.

Dropping nearly 5000ft in elevation, expect to do a lot of tiptoeing on the way down – and quite a slow jaunt back up. Pack plenty of water as there are no water stations along the way. 

Group of tourists on a mule ride tour through rocky landscape, led by rangers on the Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park
The Bright Angel Trail can be completed on two legs or four © benedek / Getty Images

3. Bright Angel Trail

Best multi-day hike
15.2 miles round trip, 2 days, moderate

This trail, off the South Rim’s Grand Canyon Village, may be as popular as it gets around these parts and with good reason. Key to its charm is the inherent “choose your own adventure” aspect: numerous well-graded routes fork off from here, which means once you're past the car park, the Grand Canyon is yours to conquer. The crowds soon ebb away as you hike through the inner canyon, past rare shaded areas and the odd strolling mule.

Daytrippers often choose one of the area's out-and-back trails but we think you should opt for the full trail, which ultimately winds to the Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch lodge for an overnight stay. The campground only has 32 pitches and Phantom Ranch accommodates fewer than 100 guests, so book well in advance.

4. Shoshone Point Trail

Best hike for families
2.1 miles round trip, 1 hour, easy

Teetering between a calm stroll and a full-on hike, the Shoshone Point Trail will keep the whole family content. Less than 10 minutes southeast of the Grand Canyon Village visitors’ Center, this flat, dirt-path hike finishes at a secreted rock formation that looks like a cubist Easter Island statue. With deep red canyons as a backdrop, the narrow, tan rock has become a top selfie destination.

While you won’t need hiking shoes for this one, you may want to bring picnic supplies. There is a covered pavilion with tables, outdoor grills, restrooms and trash cans approximately a mile into the hike.

Find out all the essential info you need to visit Grand Canyon National Park with kids in tow.

A man hiking the Widforss Trail in Grand Canyon looks out through the trees across the National Park
The Widforss Trail offers some more shaded hiking © Image Source RF / Whit Richardson

5. Widforss Trail

Best day hike
9.3 miles round trip, 4 hours, moderate

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon gets a lot of love and deservedly so. But repping the North Rim is the Widforss Trail, a well-shaded path that’s loaded with white firs, aspens and blue spruce. The keyword here is shade – for those seeking a reprieve from the beaming Arizona sun, this is a rare trail that offers some. However, you'll still need to pack your sunscreen and water and keep in mind there are no drinking water points along the route.

Beyond the immediate green oasis and sculptured rocks in the distance, the Widforss Trail culminates with southern views of Mt Humphreys, Arizona's tallest peak. On a clear day, the views are stunning.

This article was first published Jan 14, 2023 and updated Apr 1, 2024.

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