Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Five Things to Know about Planning a Bucket-List Grand Canyon Hiking Trip

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Five Things to Know about Planning a Bucket-List Grand Canyon Hiking Trip

Article excerpt

Five things about Grand Canyon hiking

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SUPAI, Ariz. - Standing on the Hualapai Hilltop on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, the colossal, colourful view seems to go on forever.

There are layers of colours: the expected siennas and umbers, but also pinks, purples and a large variety of greens. Photos, no matter how skilled the photographer, can't do justice to the sights walking down the switchbacks on the Havasu Canyon trail.

Here are five things to know about planning a Grand Canyon hiking trip, which is on many a bucket list:

PLAN AHEAD, WAY AHEAD

The journey needs to start with getting a reservation. If you call today, you'll be reserving a year or more in advance, depending on the numbers in your party. Currently, there is no online booking and prospective visitors must call the Havasupai Tourist Office to ask about general availability and spots that may have opened up due to cancellations. The hike isn't something that can be done as a day trip and requires camping or staying at the Havasupai Lodge.

THE HAVASUPAI, OR PEOPLE OF THE BLUE-GREEN WATER

The Havasupai have been the guardians of the Grand Canyon for centuries. They lost much of their land when the Grand Canyon National Park was established in 1919, the tribe's website says, and were restricted to just 210 hectares on a reserve. In 1975, the U.S. Congress passed an act returning 76,000 hectares back to their control. The reserve is located on the southwest corner of Grand Canyon National Park.

PREPARING FOR THE HIKE

While the hike isn't difficult for someone in good shape, visitors are greeted with a sign that issues a series of warnings: carry enough water, don't hike during the heat of the day, don't go without a reservation, no camping on the trail, watch for flash flooding, no rock climbing and stay with your group. The one piece of trail-etiquette that visitors must remember is to stand aside for "pack trains," the mules and horses that run supplies and hikers' gear up and down the canyon. …

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