Hike Smart Podcast 01 (02m:34s) What is Preventative Search & Rescue?
The program was started in 1997 as an effort to reduce the hundreds of heat-related illnesses park visitors were experiencing every summer. PSAR Rangers patrol the main trails, and ask hikers questions about their hiking plans. Listen
Hike Smart Podcast 02 (07m:09s) The Ten Essentials
Whenever I hike the trails, even if I’m only intending to go a short distance, I always bring the ten essentials. At the Grand Canyon plans can change quickly due to the weather, illness, injury or fatigue. Listen
Hike Smart Podcast 03 (05m:31s) Heading Down the Trail
You know, it's all about planning... Before we start down the trail, there are a few to consider. First, are you in good physical condition? If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before visiting. Make sure you are healthy enough to hike steep and difficult trails. Listen
Hike Smart Podcast 04 (04m:42s) Self Rescue Tips
In this podcast we’re going to discuss some self-rescue tips and common problems encountered by hikers on the trail. One of the great things about Grand Canyon hikers is that they tend to look out for each other. Listen
Hike Smart Podcast 05 (07m:18s) Hiking with Infants & Toddlers
Heading out into the natural environment with children can be a fantastic experience for both parent and child. Children often bring our attention back to the wonder of small things we may miss while taking in the grandeur of the Canyon. Listen...
Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m a PSAR Ranger here at Grand Canyon National Park. Grab your earphones and come on a virtual trail patrol with me. I’ll be presenting a podcast series that will allow you to experience a day in the life of a Preventative Search and Rescue Ranger. We’ll meet up with other hikers and learn about what to expect on the trail, the 10 essentials you should always bring with you (even on a short hike), how to rescue yourself, some tips for hiking with children, and most of all how to HIKE SMART! Dust off your boots and listen to the Hike Smart podcasts, here on the Grand Canyon website, or on the iTunes Hiking Grand Canyon Channel.
This Hike Smart podcast series (1-5) was produced by Park Ranger Patrick Gamman.
Many options are available for day hiking in Grand Canyon National Park. This slide show introduces the Rim Trail, the South Kaibab Trail and the Bright Angel Trail.
- Credit / Author:
- Marge Ullmann
- Date created:
Over 250 people are rescued from the canyon each year. The difference between a great adventure in Grand Canyon and a trip to the hospital (or worse) is up to YOU. DO NOT attempt to hike from the rim to the river and back in one day, especially during the months of May to September.
Many options are available for day hikers. Both the South Rim and the North Rim offer rim trail hikes that have spectacular views of the inner canyon, some on paved trails. Or you can choose to day hike into the canyon. Permits are not required for non-commercial day hikes.
A successful and safe winter hike depends on weather and routes, but realize that any hike can be affected by unforeseen natural occurrences. Always be sure you have adequate food, water, and equipment to deal with the unexpected.
- Credit / Author:
- Marge Ullmann
- Date created:
Some trails are more difficult than others to navigate in the winter. Stop by the Backcountry Information Center prior to your hike for a trail update. Pay close attention to the weather forecast. Winter travelers are reminded that precipitation patterns in Northern Arizona are quite variable. Just because it is the winter season doesn't mean it looks or feels like winter on the ground. The following descriptions assume that winter has set in and that a snowpack exists on the North Kaibab Plateau. This is most likely to be the case January through March.
The following narrative is meant as an introduction ONLY to winter trail conditions on the South Rim (west to east). Further research, including talking with the Backcountry Information Center, is highly recommended prior to your first winter hike in the canyon.
The South Bass Trail can be difficult to access in winter due to the necessity to travel on 30 miles of remote roads. During wet years snow is the main hindrance with mud being the biggest concern in late winter and early spring. The primary access road is FR 328 which is administered by the U.S. Forest Service. The Boucher Trail as it parallels the west side of Hermit Canyon is known for developing a serious stretch of ice after big storms and during the spring melt. This is due to the trail's west-facing exposure which allows for significant daytime heating. When this daytime thaw combines with the cold nighttime temperatures of the upper canyon you have a perfect recipe for trail-ice. The Hermit Trail has less snow and ice than any other trail on the South Rim. This is due in part to the trailhead being at less than 7000ft. In addition, at about 0.5 miles the trail turns from north-facing to southwest-facing as it descends through the Coconino Sandstone. So expect some snow and ice at first, but with quickly improving conditions as you descend. The Bright Angel Trail is a fault line trail that is primarily north-facing. Packed snow and ice tends to be consistently encountered for the initial three miles. The South Kaibab Trail is a ridgeline trail that receives considerable daytime heating. The initial 1/4 mile, known as the Chimney, is north-facing and holds ice all winter long. Below the Chimney, ice is intermittent. The Grandview Trail is north-facing and at a higher elevation and thus receives considerable snow at the trailhead. This trail, more than any other, tends to turn around unprepared hikers due to the combination of narrow sections of trail, exposure, and ice. The New Hance Trail and the South Bass Trail are the least used South Rim trails in the winter. First time winter hikers often report route finding problems on the New Hance Trail. The Backcountry Information Center recommends hikers consider not ending a backpack trip on this trail in winter, especially when a big storm is forecasted. The Tanner Trail has a long and prolonged north-facing section. The upper two miles tend to remain snow covered throughout the winter.
Foot travel across the Kaibab Plateau (North Rim) in winter shares many of the pleasures, and dangers, of a journey through a high mountain environment. Deep snow brings peace and a unique kind of beauty to the Kaibab forest, but quiet may be harder to come by when the winds of winter hum across the meadows and howl through the trees. With the exception of avalanche and crevasse, the Kaibab Plateau in winter offers all the potential pitfalls of lofty peaks: high elevation, extreme cold, violent storms bringing remarkable snow fall, and great distances, all encountered in one of the most isolated locations in the lower 48. It’s possible to cover the entire 45 miles between Jacob Lake and the North Rim and not see another soul so self-sufficiency becomes the primary requirement imposed by the landscape. Tested and reliable winter tents and sleeping bags, insulation that will work when wet, shell layers that provide effective protection from wind and the wetness of the snow, spare parts for stoves, tents, ski bindings or snowshoes, an efficient snow shovel, plenty of high calorie food, fuel for melting snow, and, most importantly, the personal expertise required to use it all effectively and safely are key components in a successful passage. The tranquility of a quiet evening with a winter sunset flaring overhead represents one face of the Kaibab Plateau in winter, but it is well to remember the other side and to be more than prepared when snow, wind, and cold team up and rush you like an arctic wave.