An Adventure Post from Wild Rose aka Jennifer Woerner, Creative Director and Co-Owner of DGA, LLC. She’s currently at the Grand Canyon!!
Is the Grand Canyon on your bucket list? Are you thinking about hiking rim to rim? Or would riding a donkey be more your style? Do you want to raft the Colorado River through the canyon? Would you be more comfortable back country camping in a tent or staying at historic Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon? Do you want to see the North Rim or the South Rim? Or both?
There are many ways to access the Grand Canyon, so if you want to do more than stand on the rim and admire it’s beauty from afar, if you really want to EXPERIENCE the Grand Canyon, start planning now! It will undoubtedly be an epic adventure, and it takes time to decide between options, and if necessary, gain permits to see this amazing place.
You do not need a permit to hike down into the Grand Canyon. You only need a permit if you plan to spend the night below the canyon rim. If you plan to camp below the rim, there are a number of campgrounds along the main corridor trails, but in peak season, there is a great deal of competition for spots.
In order to protect this beautiful canyon, overnight access is limited. You must plan well in advance and request a permit for a camping spot approximately 4 months in advance. However, due to competition for permits, spots are granted via a random drawing each month. It is not first come, first serve, and you cannot apply early to gain a spot.
During late fall, winter and early spring, it is much easier to gain a permit, but you must be prepared for camping in cooler weather, and expect snow near the rims. In fact, the North Rim of the Canyon is closed from November to March and the only way to access it is via snowmobile or skis.
If you have back country hiking and camping experience, you could choose a trail that is off the beaten path. Again, this takes time and research to figure out distances, water sources and safety, given the time of year you plan to go. You still must apply for a permit, but there is less competition for back country campsites.
Some people hike rim to rim in one day. Others hike rim to rim more than once in a day! If you are in peak physical condition and need a challenge, that would be it! The good news is that you do not need a permit to hike rim to rim in one day. However, be prepared to hike a distance of 24 miles (one way) and experience elevation changes of up to 6,000 feet.
Special trips, such as riding the donkey train, using the Duffel service to get your bags to Phantom Ranch (while you hike down), rafting or staying at Phantom Ranch require advanced planning. Be ready to plan up to a year in advance (or more)!
I encourage you to look at a trip to the Grand Canyon as an experience, not an achievement. Yes, I am proud that I hiked rim to rim. But what is really amazing is that I was able to spend time with my friends and family in an amazing place and create memories that will inspire me for the rest of my life.
Soon, I’m going back, accompanied by my brother and my father, to create more memories, to hike a backcountry trail and to sleep on the banks of the Colorado River. Start planning now, visit https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm ADVENTURE AWAITS!