Rim Trail (Grand Canyon)
TRAIL DISTANCE - 13 miles
TYPE - Day Hike
We have been waiting for this trip for a long time, and we are finally here. We've had plenty of training hikes, we've exercised, we've lifted weights, and we are finally here! Our first hike ever at the Grand Canyon. OK, first things first, we are "flatlanders". The highest point in PA is only 3213 feet, our house is 1172 feet. Hermits Rest is at 6650 feet and our destination, Yaki Point is 7262 Feet. We knew this in advance, and planned this first day to be a moderately long fairly flat hike to acclimate us to the altitude.
We got up early, left our hotel in Flagstaff,
and headed for the Grand Canyon. We parked near Grand Canyon Village and
caught the free shuttle bus headed for the Hermit's Rest trailhead. There
are three different bus routes, covering the east, center and west portions
of the park. We caught the "Village Route" bus westbound, and
transferred to the Hermit's Rest Route bus just past the Bright Angel
Lodge. The busses can get really crowded, so we got an early start. Also,
please don't walk on the roads, keep on the trails. The road is busy with
the shuttle buses, and they need all the room they can get. They get really
annoyed when people walk down the middle of the road and don't realize
there is a full size bus coming, or try to flag down a bus between stops.
They have designated stops and only stop at them.
We got off the bus at Hermit's Rest, topped off our water, and started hiking east along the rim of the canyon. The majority of the western part of the Rim Trail is hard packed dirt and gravel with a paved section from Hermits Rest to Monument Creek Vista, and along this part of the trail the only people we saw were those who got off the busses at the scenic overlooks. There were nearly a dozen designated overlooks including "The Abyss" with its vertical drop of over 2000 feet.
Once we reached Maricopa Point, about 6.4 miles in to the hike, the trail was paved pretty much the rest of the way. The really big downside to the paved trail was that it was extremely crowded near the Bright Angel Lodge and Grand Canyon Village. Once we got away from that area, the crowds subsided somewhat, and we were once again able to enjoy the trail and the beautiful scenery.
Even though the temperature was only in
the 60's, we both got a pretty good sunburn from the Arizona high desert
sun. We finished up at the South Kaibab trailhead, with our first 13 miles
of Grand Canyon hiking under our boots. A short shuttle bus ride back
to the parking lot and we were done for the day. Well we still had the
drive back to Flagstaff, but after the day we just had hiking (and the
awesome views), who cares! And this is only the second day of our week-long
trip to Arizona. Tomorrow we venture down into the canyon via the South