Tips on Hiking the Grand Canyon Safely

When you stay with Bluegreen Resorts at Cibola Vista Resort and Spa in the Phoenix, Arizona, neighborhood of Peoria, or at Bluegreen Club 36 in Las Vegas, you’re a short drive away from the majestic beauty of the Grand Canyon. The 277-mile-long canyon, which runs along the length of the Colorado River, is among the most stunning and frequently visited natural wonders of the world. Yet every year, approximately 250 people require rescue assistance while hiking it. Thoughtful preparation can make all the difference in ensuring that you have a safe and enjoyable hike.

No matter what your estimate of your own abilities, it’s wise not to attempt a day hike from the canyon’s ridge to the river and back again, especially during the heat of summer. Whether you’re visiting the South Rim or North Rim, you’ll find rim-only hiking trails – sometimes paved – that offer views as spectacular as any deep in the canyon.

Before you set out, make sure to double-check the forecast. Avoid becoming so attached to a particular plan that you don’t realize when it’s safer to postpone your hike. The National Park Service advises that summertime hikers exercise extreme caution when considering a trip through the canyon, since temperatures can soar to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. July is the hottest month in the inner canyon, with average temperatures ranging from a low of 78 degrees to a high of 106. June and August are nearly as hot.

The park doesn’t sell water in disposable bottles, so essential equipment for your day hike should include a water container that you can refill when necessary at any of the many water stations. Bring along additional water fortified to replace electrolytes. Your hiking kit should also include salty foods for extra nourishment, sunscreen, a mirror or other signaling device, a first-aid kid, a flashlight and extra batteries, a spray bottle filled with water for cooling, and waterproof outerwear, if needed.

Rockfalls and rockslides can be very dangerous. Watch and listen for them, particularly following a rainstorm, and avoid standing on terrain where rocks have previously fallen. Lightning can strike at 10 miles across the canyon. If you’re under the rim, it’s no guarantee that you’re out of range. If lightning strikes, don’t seek shelter in caves or crevices, or near cliff edges or vertical targets, such as poles or single trees. Stay close to the ground without lying on it or touching it with your hands.

The website of the National Park Service offers further information, as well as safety videos and real-time weather and terrain updates. In addition, the Grand Canyon Field Institute can put you in touch with experienced guides.