2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.
Share your tales of travel & adventure with our step-by-step guide. Upload trail descriptions, photos, video, and more. Get Started
The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

TRIP DOCTOR: How Do I Plan a Family Backpacking Trip to the Grand Canyon?

Our resident trip planning expert drops some beta on planning the perfect Big Ditch vacation for you and your family.

Welcome to the inaugural Trip Doctor blog, in which I’ll answer your questions about how to pull off any outdoor trip. My name is Michael Lanza and as a field editor for BACKPACKER, I’ve hiked, climbed, backcountry skied, and paddled for years around much of the U.S. and far-flung parts of the world (Iceland, Patagonia, and New Zealand, to name a few). If there’s a place you want to see, odds are, I’ve been there or it’s on my tick list, so I’ve done most of your planning for you. If you have a question about a place you’d like to go, I’d love to hear from you. So, let’s get started.

How do I plan a family-backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon? How hard will it be, how much water should we carry, and where and when should we go?

--Anthony, Boulder, CO

Alex Lanza, 7 (in front), and Nate Lanza, 9, lead their mother down the Grandview Trail.
As it happens, I just backpacked 28 miles over four days from Grandview Point to the South Kaibab Trailhead (both on the South Rim) in late March with my wife and our son and daughter, ages nine and seven. It was a wonderful trip for a family and we all had a great time.

One key to planning the perfect Grand Canyon trip is timing. The ideal windows to hit the canyon are either mid-spring, April into early May, or early fall, late September through October.

A mid-Spring hike offers one HUGE advantage: Creeks are flowing so, for adults, you’ll have to carry less water each day, and for young kids like mine, there’s endless fun keeping cool, building dams, and soaking parents.

Autumn temps are also ideal, but some creeks that flow in spring dry up by fall, so you’ll have to carry a lot more water—you’ll need a gallon per person per day in the Grand Canyon—which may not be feasible with kids.

We went in March because it was our kids’ spring break, and enjoyed comfortable, shorts-and-T-shirts temps once down on the Tonto Plateau, 3,000 feet below the rim. But mid- to late April may have been better this year, because the canyon had a high-snowfall winter. (Snowfall varies greatly year to year, so check on that.)

Winter often brings heavy snowfall on the rims; only fit, experienced winter campers equipped with traction devices (see below) head into the canyon then.

And forget summer: inner-canyon temps often top 100° F.

Alex Lanza, 7, on the snow-covered the Grandview Trail in late March.
Any hike in the Big Ditch is gorgeous. Deciding where to go comes down to what you’re up for tackling, because overnight hikes range from moderately, to very hard, with big relief—nearly a vertical mile from rim to river.

That said, the “easiest” loop is going down the South Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Campground on the Colorado River (seven miles and 4,780 feet downhill), then returning via the Bright Angel Trail (9.6 miles and 4,380 feet back to the rim). Spend night two at Indian Garden to break up the climb out of the canyon.

Even easier: Hike the Bright Angel Trail 9.8 miles out-and-back to Indian Garden, spending a night there.

If you want to take it up a notch, the hike my family and I did, and the comparable hike from Hermit Trailhead to Bright Angel Trailhead via the Tonto Trail (which I’ve done), are good choices for families with backpacking and desert experience and good stamina.

Both have rougher stretches and few water sources; our kids did one 10.5-mile day to reach our next water source, and I left our last flowing creek carrying 13 liters (27.5 pounds) of water in my pack. (My wife and I had 3L bladders and a liter bottle each, plus I brought a 10L dromedary, which I filled for our last day.)

All of the hikes I describe above are popular, so permits go fast. Apply for one on the first of the month, four months prior to your dates (see

Nate Lanza, 9, on the Tonto East Trail above the inner gorge of the Grand Canyon.


In late March, the Grandview Trail’s upper mile or so was snow- and ice-covered—and “treacherous,” as a ranger at the backcountry desk had warned us, so some type of traction device is absolutely necessary in those conditions.

I used Kahtoola Microspikes (, which were perfect. I had an old pair of Stubai in-step crampons small enough for my son’s boots, but not for my daughter’s. I led each of them by the hand, one at a time, across a few narrow, exposed sections until we got below the snow. Don’t hike the Grandview Trail in snow and ice unless you’re comfortable with exposure—for yourself and your kids.

Going a few weeks later might avoid snow on the rim. But by mid- to late May, the inner canyon can be very hot, in the 80s and 90s in the afternoons. For this weather, check out our hot weather gear checklist.

Even in spring and fall, prepare for heat and constant sun exposure in this almost shadeless environment. Wear wide-brim hats and sunblock and drink frequently. Eat salty foods to replenish sodium levels that are rapidly depleted when hiking in the desert.

Have a great time. The Grand Canyon is one of those must-do hikes for any backpacker, and an exceptional adventure for kids.


Got a Question for the Trip Doctor?  Drop him a line at

Michael Lanza is Backpacker’s Northwest Editor. He’s working on a book, “Before They’re Gone,” about spending a year taking his kids to national parks threatened by climate change. It will be published in spring 2012 by Beacon Press (


Star Star Star Star Star
cheap jerseys for sale
Mar 19, 2014 wholesale cheap jerseys cheap nfl jersey mlb jerseys cheap discount ncaa jersey sale nba jerseys wholesale women nba jerseys sale pacers jersey cheap discount nhl jersey sell Stadium Series NHL Jersey cheap, Chicago blackhawks jerseys for sale 2014 world cup mexico jerseys world cup cheap jerseys air max shoes wholesale cheap

Star Star Star Star Star
Trekking in Nepal
Jun 15, 2013

Treks Himalaya and tours operative takes you that further way to guarantee you has an unforgettable adventure that you have been dream of. Benefit, of course there is the Acute Trek Pvt. Ltd. part of choice. We have your choose of trekking for 3 days or 30 or more days it depending of your timetable, sleep under lodges or tent. We always respect our duty to constantly your holiday satisfaction in Nepal. Whether you are looking for a quiet gateway, a memorable outing with a family or an exciting nature adventure. We offer you with the best progressive information and itinerary leading focused and modified as per your requirements. It is significant to memorize, though, it necessitate an enough level of physical homework and must remembers that there is also a psychosomatic assurance in walking in mountains. Acute trek is an attempt to encourage Nepal to the exterior world while striving to defend an aged tradition as well as conserve the surroundings for generation to come.

Acute Trek Specialize in Organize Nepal Travel Activities Excursion Such as:- Nepal trekking, Helicopter tour, peak climbing, rafting, mountain flight, Kayaking, Cannoning, Bird watching Tour, Honeymoon Tour, sightseeing, jungle safari, rock climbing, Pilgrim's Tour, Hotel Reservation, air ticket, Tibet Tour, Bhutan Tour, Paragliding, Bungee Jump, Eco Tour, local village tour and many more.

Star Star Star Star Star
Mar 26, 2013

Nike nfl jerseys <a href="">whole sale nfl jerseys</a>. elite game limited light out nfl jerseys
<a href="">nike nfl Jerseys</a>,<a href="">cool base MLB Jerseys</a> <a href="">Revolution 30 Swingman NBA Jerseys</a>, bcs patch ncaa jerseys
You will be satisfied with our service and our jerseys quality. Quickly shipping.

Star Star Star Star Star
Mar 14, 2013

our jerseys shop Nike San Francisco 49ers jerseys,Nike Baltimore Ravens Jerseys and best servise. Nike NFL Jerseys l cool base mlb jerseys Revolution 30 nba jerseys l wholesale NFL T-Shirt,

Star Star Star Star Star
Jan 30, 2013

cheap convenient and creditworthy is our online store's ( service tenet . you can buy all kinds of cheap nfl jerseys here , just as nfl jerseys , basketball jerseys , NHL jerseys , Football jerseys ,the new era hats , we also provide jerseys customized service . All the products in our website are from china with wholesale price , so you can buy cheap products wiht high quality ! Now ,you can choose different payment in our website ,just as paypal , western union and VISA credit card . more information please visit
May 06, 2010


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Homeless woman goes on an interview then
Posted On: Apr 24, 2014
Submitted By: Dennis The Menace
The Political Arena
The NRA Backlash Begins
Posted On: Apr 24, 2014
Submitted By: Dennis The Menace
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions