Start your tour by gathering information about trails and ranger-led activities at the Canyon View Information Plaza. The easy, mostly flat South Rim trail stretches for several miles from the village area to Hermit’s Rest, affording scenic canyon views. At selected South Rim spots, the National Park Service offers dial-up, two-minute cell phone “tours.” These ranger narrations detail information about the geology of Yaki Point, the history of the Bright Angel Lodge and stories about the Native American history and the night sky. You can download these talks ahead of time onto your MP3 player or iPod.
Whether you trek for a short or long distance, use hiker sense. It’s imperative to remember that as you descend, temperatures rise. Typically it’s about 20-degrees Fahrenheit warmer at the bottom of the canyon than at the rim. For summer hikes, rangers suggest you carry ample water (even though certain trails have water access); wear a hat; use sunscreen and avoid hiking between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. from June through September when temperatures can soar to extremes. Remember, that hiking back up to the rim takes more time than hiking down — about twice the time especially with young kids. That’s why it’s important to start your trek up well before your kids are tired.
The blue route shuttle buses operate between the Information Plaza and Maswik Lodge. Should you tire, you are never far from designated pick-ups points. Note, however, that in 2010 as new parking is constructed, shuttle access points and routes may change. In summer, only red route shuttles access the far western section of the rim trail from Hermits Rest to Hopi Point.