South Kaibab Trail

Tonto East Trail, Grand Canyon

Ask Me: Where Should Our Family Backpack in the Grand Canyon?

Dear Michael,

My wife and I take our kids to Ketchum, Idaho, every summer and became fans of your site by finding your great recommendations and tips for the White Cloud Mountains. We are now planning a trip with our kids to the Grand Canyon. Our kids are 13 and 14 and are accustomed to multi-day backcountry hikes in the White Clouds and Sawtooths, with 2000+-foot elevation gains. We were seriously considering your suggested four-day trip east to west from Grandview Point to the South Kaibab Trail, but I just noticed that you have also recommended that to someone else in your Ask Me section in response to a request for a “big dayhike.” We don’t want to kill ourselves with an unreasonable pace, but I don’t want to allocate four days for a trip that my kids could reasonably do in two or three. Do you have any advice for what might be the best way to do this, or whether there is an alternate route you would suggest?

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Photo Gallery: Hiking Across the Grand Canyon

By Michael Lanza

Whether you backpack it or hike it in one very long day, trekking across the Grand Canyon from the South Rim to the North Rim is one of our National Park System’s most scenic and aspirational adventures, in one of the planet’s most magnificent and unfathomable landscapes—as this photo gallery illustrates better than any words. Want to take this hike? Read on to learn how.

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A hiker on the West Rim Trail above Zion Canyon in Zion National Park.

Ask Me: Looking For a 3- or 4-Day Backpacking Trip in Zion or the Southwest

Michael,

Some friends and I are planning to do the Zion National Park thru-hike in October, partly inspired by one of your posts. We have a pact to do a significant multi-day backpacking trip every year in the fall, and this one would be great. The Zion National Park website says there may be prescribed burns during September-November, and the Wildcat Canyon Trail and the thru-hike will be closed when they burn. At this point, park rangers can’t promise our dates wouldn’t have burns. We’re flying out from Florida. Really want to do the Zion thru-hike. So thinking we’ll stick to that plan, but want to have a Plan B in the same area in case we learn that our trip will be blocked by a prescribed burn. Would love your thoughts on good 3- to 4-day backpacking trips—loop or point to point—in Grand Staircase-Escalante, Bryce, Capitol Reef, or Canyonlands.

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My daughter Alex on the trail to Spider Gap, Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington.

Ask Me: Backpacking Trips With an 11-Year-Old

Hi Michael,

My fifth-grade daughter and I spend most of our summer playing and hiking. We are upping our backpacking mileage each year and hope to be able to do the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier when she is 12. For this summer, we are looking to do a hike of about 60 to 75 miles. One possibility is the Pacific Crest Trail between Highway 50 and 80. It’s a beautiful route I’ve taken before. But I’m very open to other ideas. She’s tough and has built up to solid 10-mile days. Any help or direction you could give me would be great. I envy the time you have been able to spend in the wild.

Adam
Sacramento, CA

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South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon.

Ask Me: Which Dayhike or Two-Day Backpacking Trip Should Our Family Take in the Grand Canyon?

Michael,

What’s your recommendation from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim for a medium dayhike? We’re going to the Grand Canyon over spring break in the last week of March, four of us. We will get there Saturday and have Sunday, Monday morning. Might look into Sunday night backpacking permit cancellations. We have a camping spot for dayhiking at this point.

Lauren
Boise, ID

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