The answer will depend on your level of fitness, the weather, time of day and your own personal definition of “difficult”. Your guides will often reference previous hikes to help you gauge the difficulty/type of hike before you, However, you have to get that first one under your belt.
Luckily, the majority of side hikes on your Grand Canyon rafting trip will follow the same trail both directions. So you do not have to complete the hike to have a great experience. If you want additional support, I recommend hiking at the front of the group behind the hike leader.
I once had a guest who approached me after a hike and was very upset with me. This particular hike has some exposed ledges we had to cross that we had discussed in advance. She allowed herself to get caught up in the peer pressure and continued the hike even though she was terrified.
Pro tip: Know your boundaries and communicate with your guides!
It’s up to you to know when to push yourself. Your guides do not know your fitness level, your fears or your medical history so do not hand over your power to your guide. Know your limits, know when to ask for help and know when to turn back.
Hikes can differ dramatically on your rafting trip. There are hundreds of side canyons to stop at during a river trip and which ones you visit will depend on the length and pacing of your trip.
Here are two different hike descriptions so you can get a feel for yourself how different each hike in the canyon can be:
I recommend a small backpack so you can be prepared for any length hike. Some outfitters will do longer hikes or pack along lunches.
Packs ensure hands free hiking and you will be able to have all the necessities like water (1-3 quarts), sunscreen, snacks and a camera. I recommend at least 1 quart of water and pre-hydrating by drinking at least a ½ quart before you even start hiking.
If you would like added stability, these hiking poles are the best and offer added support on the uneven terrain. Sarongs and/or buffs offer added sun protection and when wet will cool you down. Gloves can offer sun protection as well as protection from hot rocks on some hikes.
Guides will typically carry a minor hiking first-aid kit if you need any items while hiking. If you want to create your own include band-aids, first-aid ointment, tape (waterproof and duct), tweezers and a couple gauze pads.
To take full advantage of the opportunity to hike in Grand Canyon I highly recommend getting in physical shape before your trip.
The best training for side canyon hikes are steep elevation gains or declines. Getting outdoors and hitting the trails in your area will be the best option to get used to hiking on uneven ground.
If you are in a city and go to a gym, check out the Stairmaster or play with the treadmill working between inclines of 12-15% and declines at 3%. Do this training in the shoes you plan to wear the most on your trip.
We recommend a shoe with good support but that can also get wet as many side hikes require you to cross a stream. If you can break in these shoes in a similar environment, you will have a better idea of what your limitations are and will feel more comfortable on your river trip.
Check out our gear page here for our recommended shoes.
No problem. Let your guides know and they can set you up with some snacks/drinks and you can enjoy some alone time by the river. This is a great time to catch up on reading, fishing or napping.
Be sure to listen to your guides description of the hike. Know your limits. Wear shoes you are comfortable in and always bring water and a camera. Following these recommendations will help you make the most of hiking in Grand Canyon.
If you have any questions give us a call – we’re here to guide you through! (928) 526-4575.