Below is a list of day hikes available from the South Rim. Clicking on each trail name will download a printable trail description from the National Park Service which provides information regarding elevations, distances, and other valuable details. Be sure to check for Critical Backcountry Updates on the Park Service website. You can download a trail description of each trail from the Grand Canyon’s backcountry office.
Backcountry permits are not required for day hikes. A permit is only required if you will be spending the night and camping below the rim. For more information on getting a permit, visit the Grand Canyon Backcountry Permits page.
A permit is not required if you are staying at Phantom Ranch, but a reservation is required in advance. For more information on lodging at Phantom Ranch, visit the Phantom Ranch Lodging & Dining page.
The Rim Trail starts near Kolb Studio in the village area and continues for nearly 12 miles to its final stop at Hermits Rest. But don’t let the distance dissuade you from thinking about this particular hike. The beauty of this hike is that it follows the rim along some of the most spectacular viewpoints to be had anywhere in the Canyon—AND there are shuttle stops at various points along the route. So this means that you can hike between viewpoints and simply catch the shuttle at any of the stops you wish. The longest stretch between stops is almost three miles, but the majority of shuttle stops are spaced around one-half to one mile long. You can view the precise mileage between shuttle stops on the NPS page for the Rim Trail.
The Bright Angel Trail offers many good destinations and is easily accessible from the Village area. The trailhead is located next to Kolb Studio and starts out relatively gradual. Those who just want to get a feel of the Inner Canyon will do well to hike to Cinch Up.
(Steep) The South Kaibab Trail begins south of Yaki Point on Yaki Point Road. Access to the trailhead is by shuttle bus. Offers day hikes that range in distance up to 12 miles (round trip). Best views for a relatively short hike. Steep trail, no water, little shade. Water available at the trailhead.
(Steep) The Hermit Trail offers hikes to Santa Maria Springs, 4.5 miles (round trip), and Dripping Spring, 6.5 miles (round trip). Trail conditions are tougher than the Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails. An unmaintained steep trail requires caution. Begins 500 feet west of Hermits Rest. Water from springs must be treated before drinking. For experienced desert hikers. Hiking boots recommended.
(Very Steep) The Grandview Trail offers hikes to Coconino Saddle, 2 miles (round trip), and Horseshoe Mesa, 6.4 miles (round trip). Trail conditions are tougher than the Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails. An unmaintained steep trail requires caution. Begins on the canyon side of the retaining wall at Grandview Point on Desert View Drive (12 miles east of the village). For experienced desert hikers. Hiking boots recommended.