Safest south rim Grand Canyon trail for kids?

Reply

Mar 3rd, 2016, 07:03 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 617
Safest south rim Grand Canyon trail for kids?

The last time I was at the south rim of the Grand Canyon about 5 years ago, my husband and I rode mules down the Bright Angel trail, and left our kids with their grandparents near Phoenix. Now my kids are older (8 and 11) and we want to try just a partial hike with the kids, maybe a few hours or so, nothing too ambitious. We are going the end of March.

I remember Bright Angel having very precipitous drop-offs when I rode the mule, but that could be just because I was seeing the trail frm the perspective of sitting on a mule!

Are there any trails or hikes that anyone can recommend for kids that age that are wide, with no huge cliffs right next to the trail, where I would feel they are more safe to hike? I'm ok with rim trails as long as they are close enough to see the canyon while hiking. I would prefer a hike down into the canyon (again, just a partial hike of a few hours), but not sure if that's a safe idea for young kids?

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
brubenow is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 3rd, 2016, 10:26 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,292
I was going to say the Bright Angel Trail, simply because it's the widest, the most traveled, the least steep, and has the most facilities; but (obviously) even that one is too dangerous for your taste. There is trail right on the rim -- called (surprise!) the Rim Trail -- which is both safe AND has shuttle bus service, thus allowing you to hike one way and then ride back (or vice versa).

> a hike down into the canyon
> not sure if that's a safe idea for young kids

This is a judgement call. If your children understand that they need to be careful in certain situations -- like crossing a street outside your home -- AND can be trusted to not take risks, then I would consider a hike down the Bright Angel safe ENOUGH for most kids. The main danger won't be falling off a cliff, but the simple fact that the Trail is sunny, horribly hot, dry, and steep. Also, the walk back up is always two to three times more exhausting than the hike down. That is why it's critical to (1) protect yourself from the sun, (2) carry AND drink a lot of water, and (3) turn around when you START to feel tired or sore. My hike to Phantom Ranch was well-planned, and one of the best experiences of my life. Other people go down with bad or no planning, and have one their the worst experiences. The choice is entirely YOURS.
PaulRabe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 3rd, 2016, 10:27 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,292
Oops! Meant to post this link:
http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisi...d/rimtrail.pdf
PaulRabe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 3rd, 2016, 10:37 AM
  #4
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,740
I would recommend S. Kaibab trail for 1-2 miles at most. It gets you out/down into the canyon a little ways.

In 10 years you can go back with them and hike to Phantom Ranch, or better yet (my own opinion probably not shared by many) a fast & light rim to rim on one day hike. Rest up a day on the opposite rim, then trek back.
J62 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 3rd, 2016, 11:01 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,498
The Rim Trail is fine, but I think that Bright Angel trail would be fine if you were not seeing it from the extra height of the mule. Also, the mules are trained to go on the outside of the trail, if one comes along you are supposed to stand next to the wall and facing it. That may be why it felt so steep to you.
emalloy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 3rd, 2016, 06:39 PM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 617
Thank you all for the advice. My kids are not impulsive, and are good listeners, so I trust them to act in a safe manner. I just wasn't sure about the width of the Bright Angel trail.

I think as long as there is no snow or ice on the trail when we go in late March, I will try the Bright Angel trail with them for maybe 10-15 mins. just to get a feel for how safe it is. If they do well, and I feel comfortable with the trail, we can continue for an hour, then turn around.

If there's snow or ice, then we'll stick with the Rim Trail on top. And of course, we will bring lots of water and sunscreen.

Emalloy- I think you're right about the mules- they always passed on the outside of the trail very close to the edge. When you're sitting on the mule, you can't see the trail beneath their hooves, so you just pray that the mule knows what it's doing! And fortunately, they did! It was a fabulous trip. Can't wait to go back with my kiddos.
brubenow is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 4th, 2016, 02:20 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,498
brubenow, If you want to see the trail with people on it, I have a couple of pictures of DH and me in my flickr post, scroll down a bit if you get to the site.

www.flickr.com/photos/emalloy2009
emalloy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 4th, 2016, 02:37 AM
  #8
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,740
You can virtually walk both the BA and S. Kaibab trails on google maps, street view.

www.google.com/maps
J62 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 4th, 2016, 05:45 AM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 617
Great pics, emalloy!

J62, thanks for the tip. I never knew you could actually "walk" the trail on Google maps! So I did just that, and it seems Bright Angel is the widest and safest choice for us. Wider than I remember it being when I sat on a mule! So as long as there's no snow or ice when we go, I think we'll try Bright Angel for maybe just an hour or so, keeping kids on the inside of the trail at all times.
brubenow is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 4th, 2016, 05:49 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,865
Allow twice the time to get up as you take to walk down. 30 minutes down will take close to 60 minutes up.
DebitNM is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 4th, 2016, 06:26 AM
  #11
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,740
You can actually raft the Colorado river through the GC on google maps street view. If you want to see what the canyon looks like from river level it's very cool!
J62 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 4th, 2016, 06:30 AM
  #12
OO
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,943
Bright Angel is perfect, providing, as you say, there is no ice. I wonder about that in March. We've hiked it several times at Thanksgiving and once it was slippery at the top, but as we got further down, of course it was warmer and ice wasn't a factor. Each time, tho, I have thought that if I were up on the back of one of the mules I'd be scared to death by the height. Not so on my own two feet.
OO is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 23rd, 2018, 12:12 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 2
how was the trip?

Hello, Brubenow how was your trip? did the kids like the hike? I'm brining my 7 and 9 year old in early April and I wonder what I should expect. Thanks!
karolinark is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 23rd, 2018, 05:36 PM
  #14
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,740
If you go on google maps, street view you can virtually hike either of the two trails: Bright Angel or S. Kaibab & get a feel for what it is like.
J62 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 23rd, 2018, 07:45 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,194
Shoshone Point is a great trail with a gorgeous view-check it out at the nps.gov site for the Grand Canyon.
StantonHyde is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:15 PM.