Running over 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and over a mile deep, the Grand Canyon is one astonishing geologic feature. It’s exactly for that reason hiking the Rim-to-Rim trail, which takes you from one rim, down through the canyon, and up the opposite side is a must-do.
There are various options for exploring Rim-to-Rim, but we recommend starting in the South and heading North, following the South Kaibab Trail which then connects with the North Kaibab Trail after crossing the Colorado River. While some may argue that Bright Angel is a wiser option, since it provides places to refill water, campgrounds, etc., there is no debate on which is more scenic.
Taking South Kaibab to North Kaibab for the Rim-to-Rim trail is arguably one of the best day hikes in the world, but it may also be one of the most grueling. At 21 miles with 6,000 feet of elevation gain it has similar stats to a one-day Mount Whitney hike (though at lower altitude). After the first half descends into the Grand Canyon, you begin a long and difficult ascent up the other side—not for the faint-hearted. You’ll also cross the Silver Bridge with the Colorado River rushing below.
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- Nat Geo Expeditions