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National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Canyon

The Tanner Trail in the grandest of U.S. canyons is a camping classic.
november 09 nat park grand canyon 445x260Grand Canyon, AZ (Mike Buchheit)

Tanner Trail to the Inner Gorge, Grand Canyon, AZ

"The canyon is an ego killer," says Mike Buchheit, director of the Grand Canyon Field Institute and veteran of more than 2,000 miles of Canyon hiking. "It puts your life–and concerns–in context." To really get put in your place, tackle this epic 57-mile route from the remote Tanner Trail at the east end to the inner gorge’s South Kaibab Trail.

The trip has all of the ingredients of a Canyon classic: beach camping, views, lush streams, tight slot canyons, and challenging scrambles. Highlights come early and often. Day two’s view of Unkar Delta’s Anasazi ruins is one of the best in the park, according to Buchheit. Stage a layover day at Hance Beach, the last of the river camps on this route, and explore exotically colored Red Canyon. The experts-only terrain limits crowds, leaving you to lose your ego in peace.

Essentials
Season Fall and spring
Permits Required
Map Earthwalk Press Grand Canyon National Park ($10, boredfeet.com)
Contact (928) 638-7875, nps.gov/grca

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