Hiking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon with Kids
The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic destinations that tops the travel bucket lists for travelers from around the world. It is the perfect family travel destination, especially as an easy day trip from Sedona or other surrounding areas. Of course, there are many ways to see and experience the Grand Canyon individually, taking a legendary mule ride, or as part of an organized tour. We decided that although we could have driven to the Grand Canyon ourselves while visiting Sedona, the benefits and experience of a guide to organize a hiking trip below the rim would make for a memorable family experience.
Our family trip to Sedona was designed for hiking, and our trip the the Grand Canyon was no exception. Being new to the canyon, and knowing that a tour guide might hold our daughter’s interest and motivation more than just hiking below the rim ourselves, we organized our trip with the help of Redstone Tours. Our tour guide shared the fact that most people never go below the rim while visiting the Grand Canyon, which as we descended along the Kaibab trail seemed unbelievable as the colors and perspective changed with every new step.
Three Reasons to take a hiking tour of the the Grand Canyon
The organized tour picked us up at the Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa, where our guide shared facts about Sedona, the history of the area and the wildlife as we drove towards Flagstaff where we met our hiking guide in Flagstaff before getting to the Canyon. Being driven there and back allowed us to relax and focus on the experience itself, without worrying about navigating and parking. Our tour guide carried the picnic lunch that was included in the tour, extra water and provided hiking sticks for all of us to help us hike.
2. Where and how to hike
Although we could have found the trail head for the Kaibab trail, having a guide that was an expert on all things Canyon related provided insight that we would never have thought of or noticed. There are so many trails at the Grand Canyon, and since we had done a lot of hiking planning in Sedona, it was nice to be brought to a trail that would be perfect for us. Our guide Caleb was both knowledgeable and entertaining, which is crucial when hiking with a child, whose attention and motivation to keep going can ebb and flow. He even made sure to allow time to visit the mules before we started hiking, which was an added bonus for our daughter. (In case you are considering trying to reserve a mule rides while visiting the Grand Canyon, the rides are reserved at least six months in advance.)
Caleb was fabulous about slowing down or stopping for rest breaks on the way down and the way up, so that we could catch our breath or snap pictures. While we were equipped with water, making way for the mule trains, and stopping at vistas like “Ooh-Aah Point,” and enjoying the guided narrative about the Canyon and the animals that make their home below the rim, I kept wishing we had more time to keep hiking.
3. A picnic like no other at Cedar Ridge
I am not sure that we will ever have a picnic that comes even close to the one that we enjoyed below the rim in the Grand Canyon at Cedar Ridge. Cedar Ridge is located about halfway down the Kaibab trail, about 1.5 miles from the trail head. From sandwiches to fruit, the food was delicious — and it was lovely not to have to carry any of it ourselves on our backs while hiking. Even though we were visiting in March, finding a bit of shade for some rest was a perfect way to refuel before climbing back up the trail.
Hiking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon with kids is a perfect way to see this majestic national park as a family. While our 1.5 mile hike down (and then back up) with the 1,100 foot descent into the Grand Canyon helped us cross the Grand Canyon off our travel bucket list, this introductory experience definitely left us wanting to spend more time in this wonder of the world.
Our Hilton Mom Voyage team members live throughout the U.S. and have traveled by air and car all over the world with their families!