backpacking Grand Canyon

One Extraordinary Day: A 25-Mile Dayhike in the Grand Canyon

By Michael Lanza

There’s not another hiker in sight as my friend David Ports and I start down the Hermit Trail on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, even though it’s nearly 8 a.m., hardly an early hour to hit the trail. And that’s just the first conspicuously unusual circumstance at the outset of our hike. The second obvious oddity this morning is that it’s overcast—a welcome sight here—and actually chilly enough that we’re wearing the light jackets we brought.

But most unusual aspect of this hike is that we’re only carrying light daypacks—and cruising along almost effortlessly—for a walk of nearly 25 miles, with some 4,000 feet of elevation gain and loss. That’s because we’ll do it all today.

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A backpacker on the Tonto Trail above the Colorado River, Grand Canyon.

Photo Gallery: The Grand Canyon’s Best Backpacking Trips

By Michael Lanza “The best backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon.” That was what a longtime backcountry ranger I’ve interviewed in the past, who’s hiked every mile of trail in the park, told me about the 74-mile hike from the South Kaibab Trailhead to the Tanner Trailhead, including the Escalante Route and Beamer Trail. That assertion had struck me as …

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A backpacker on the Tonto Trail in the Grand Canyon.

5 Reasons You Must Backpack in the Grand Canyon

By Michael Lanza The Grand Canyon’s appeal to backpackers may seem elusive. It’s hard, it’s dry, it’s often quite hot with little respite from the blazing sun. But while those aspects of hiking there are rarely out of mind, when I recall backpacking in the canyon, I conjure mental images of waterfalls, creeks, and intimate side canyons sheltering perennial streams …

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A backpacker hiking down the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon.

5 Epic Grand Canyon Backpacking Trips You Must Do

By Michael Lanza This is, in a way, a story about addiction. Or a love affair. Or both. Those metaphors best describe how the Grand Canyon constantly lures me back when I’m thinking about spring and fall hiking and backpacking trips. It is that rare kind of natural environment that exists on a scale of its own, like Alaska or …

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A backpacker above Royal Arch Canyon on the Grand Canyon's Royal Arch Loop.

Not Quite Impassable: Backpacking the Grand Canyon’s Royal Arch Loop

By Michael Lanza Hiking just ahead of my three companions in Royal Arch Canyon, a remote chasm off the South Rim the Grand Canyon, I stop before a dead end: a 15-foot pour-off dropping away in front of me and towering cliffs to either side. It looks impassable. After a moment of scanning the walls more closely, though, I notice …

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