This week, we present our third installment in our series, “Hiking the National Grand Canyon in Winter”. In the past couple of weeks, you have learned that, while hiking the Grand Canyon during the winter months is an exciting adventure that will prove to be very memorable, it is also an experience that could prove to be exceptionally dangerous – that is, unless you are properly prepared. In the first installment of this series, you learned about the basic supplies that should be taken on a winter hiking trip through the Grand Canyon. Last week, in our second installment of this series, you learned about the potentially fatal medical condition that could occur when hiking the national park during the winter months – hypothermia. This week, you will learn about the average, most popular South Rim trail conditions throughout the National Grand Canyon throughout the winter months.
During the winter months, there are several trails within the Grand Canyon that may prove to be a bit more challenging to navigate than others. In order to ensure that you have the latest information on the available trails, be certain to stop by the information center prior to embarking on your journey. You should ensure that you are familiar with the most current forecast and that you keep in mind that weather may change rapidly throughout the park – especially when it comes to precipitation. By learning as much as you can about the open trails before your hike, you are likely to experience far fewer complications.
The South Bass is a very popular trail; however, it loses its popularity in the winter months because the access is more difficult. To reach this trail, you must travel approximately 30 miles on extremely remote roads. When the weather is wet, snow and mud become major obstacles.
The Boucher is another trail that is popular among travelers to the National Grand Canyon; however, it is a trail that is known for gathering an immense amount of ice and snow. It faces west, so, the sun is able to heat the trail. While this results in higher levels of thawing, it poses many dangers at night, when the temperatures drop. This is when the ice develops and visibility is hindered.
The Hermit Trail is a beautiful hiking area that contains significantly less amounts of snow, ice, and mud than any other trail that is located on the South Rim. If you start at the top of the trail, you are sure to discover ice, snow, and mud; however, as you descend, you will discover less of these environmental hazards.
If you have a desire to hike through the Bright Angel Trail, you will find, for the first few miles or so, an immense amount of packed-in snow and large amounts of ice; however, after this initial setback, less snow and ice are found.
The South Kaibab Trail is one that is noted for its immense amount of heating during the daytime hours. While the first section is known to hold high amounts of ice throughout the winter, after that, ice is only experienced in an intermittent fashion.
While there are several trails throughout the South Rim, you have been introduced to the average conditions of the most popular trails in this installment. Be sure to come back next week to learn about the average conditions of the most popular trails on the North Rim. Remember, if you would rather avoid all potential complications associated with winter hiking through the National Grand Canyon, there are several other tours that you may take. We recommend one of the many exciting Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours!