5 Reasons NOT to Hike Rim to Rim in One Day

Jun 2017

Every adventurer has a bucket list, whether they call it that or not. Perhaps you share the dream of accomplishing one of the most famous treks in the world, hiking across Grand Canyon from Rim to Rim. Some adventurers think they need to hike across the canyon from rim to rim in one day, but we’re here to give you 5 good reasons why you should take your time and should not hike rim to rim in one day! The accomplishment of hiking the canyon Rim to Rim is worth every heavy-legged step, but take this challenge one day at a time and look at options like hiking Rim to Rim over 3 days.

A man looking at the view from a bridge at the Grand Canyon.

(1) You’ll see more if you slow down

You can enjoy the canyon instead of rushing to finish the hike before sundown.

A heart shaped cacti.

The Grand Canyon is considered one of the 7 natural wonders of the world for a reason! With multiple different climate zones, you can start your hike on the rim surrounded by snow and relying on your microspikes for traction, and as you hike towards the bottom slowly peel off your layers until you’re wearing only a tank top and shorts at the bottom. The climate range is so broad that people have compared hiking from the North Rim to the inner canyon to hiking from Canada to Mexico. As you descend in elevation from the high alpine forests of the rim you will encounter different plant and animal life as well as unique geologic features. So take your time to stop and smell the wild canyon roses (Rosa stellata)!


(2) Mile 16 will be much more enjoyable

All the miles will be more enjoyable.

Long distance thru-hikers typically average between 10-15 miles a day. Hiking more than that is totally doable but not necessarily the most fun or painless. Hiking Rim to Rim in one day means hiking at least 21 miles. If the pain hasn’t already kicked in by mile 15, it’s very likely it will at mile 16. Why not actually enjoy mile 16 and maybe hit it on day 2 or even 3?


(3) You have time to take pictures

Hiking Rim to Rim is incredibly memorable. Take the time to immortalize the experience.

Did it really happen if you don’t instagram/facebook/tweet it? Ok, if you say it did we believe you, but it’s a lot harder to capture the moments on camera when you’re in a rush against the clock. Take your time to stop and find that perfect shot instead of making due with a few blurred pictures snapped early in the hike when you were still ambitious.

Hiking down North Kaibab Trail with AOA Adventures guided Rim to Rim trip.


(4) You don’t summit with throbbing joints

It is easier to enjoy your accomplishment if you’re not in terrible pain.

Okay so your joints will probably still be throbbing after hiking across the canyon over 3 days, but it’s the kind of throbbing that can be remedied with a prickly pear margarita, a warm bath, and a good night’s sleep. The pain you’ll feel after completing this Grand Canyon hike in one day often brings a lingering limp, the need to cover your body in Bengay from head to toe for a week after, and that sensation that you are positive is equivalent to jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.


(5) You can experience Phantom Ranch

There is an undeniable magic at Phantom Ranch. Take a moment to become a part of it.

Stay at Phantom Ranch in the bottom of the Grand Canyon

There’s no other word that fits the description of Phantom Ranch as well as “perfection” does. Nestled on the banks of Bright Angel Creek, Phantom Ranch sits quietly near the intersection of Bright Angel Canyon and the main channel of the Grand Canyon, where the Colorado River rushes along. Here you will meet fellow adventure seekers and nature lovers, be treated to a view of endless stars at night, and have the chance to detach from cellphones and internet. This kind of quiet can’t be found in a city or suburb. You’ll sit in the ranch canteen each night playing cards and talking with strangers while someone strums a guitar. Here you can forget the “real world” exists and truly begin to understand the magic of the canyon. Phantom Ranch deserves more than a quick bathroom break and water fill up on a rushed rim to rim. Spend a few nights, and you’ll be able to say you’ve slept at the bottom of The Grand Canyon!