84°F
weather icon Clear

Spring an ideal time to visit Grand Canyon’s South Rim

Visiting Arizona’s Grand Canyon is either on your bucket list already or ought to be.

If you choose to visit its popular South Rim, the best times to go are within the next two months. The weather is usually ideal for sightseeing and hiking, with daily high temperatures often in the 60s and 70s.

You can just linger on the rim and enjoy this marvel from its overlooks, but for real adventure descend into the canyon. One of the best routes is the Bright Angel Trail. It goes all the way to the Colorado River, but for a day trip you’ll want to go only a few miles at most. You’ll start at an elevation of 6,820 feet, from a trailhead located behind the Bright Angel Lodge, next to Kolb Studio.

The experience becomes memorable in the first few minutes, as the trail passes through a man-made tunnel. Just after the tunnel, look up on your left to the cliff and a small alcove called Mallory’s Grotto, where you will see American Indian pictographs. They are painted in red and depict elk. Pictographs are very old and survive only in such protected places.

Continue as far as you feel comfortable, but remember the return route is all uphill and a strenuous hike.

As you make your way down the trail, you might see a wrangler-led mule train with tourists descending the canyon or returning to the rim. Etiquette calls for hikers to stand off the trail on the uphill side, if possible, and to stay put until the last mule is at least 50 feet past the last hiker.

If reading this makes you think you’d rather be aboard the mule, be sure to make reservations well in advance at 303-297-2757. Sometimes saddles become available because of last-minute emergencies or chicken-out syndrome, and you can get on a waiting list for such openings if you inquire at least a day before at 928-638-2631.

Whatever you do, don’t attempt to hike all the way to the Colorado River and back in one day. It’s nine and a half steep miles each way, and many have died trying it.

Good destinations for a day trip are the mile-and-a-half or three-mile rest houses. You will lose 1,131 feet and 2,112 feet in elevation, respectively, reaching those destinations, and of course gain that much coming back.

Super athletes could possibly go to Indian Garden and back, a 9.2-mile round-trip, but it’s very strenuous, with a 3,060 feet elevation gain returning to the rim.

Water is usually available year-round at Indian Garden, but only seasonally (pipes often flowing in May) at the upper rest houses. Carry all the water you might need, as the pipes break once in a while.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Local Videos
Henderson Fire Department on checking back seats in the heat - Video
The Henderson Fire Department talks about double-checking car seats in the Las Vegas heat to remember children who may be in the car. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Take the Red E Bike tour of Red Rock Canyon
The Red E Bike tour of Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas starts at the visitors center for a three-hour, 17-mile ride. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Steve Meriwether talks about his son, who was killed by a drunk driver
Retired Metro sergeant Steve Meriwether talks about his son, Garrett Meriwether, who was killed by a drunk driver. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Earthquake might have caused Pahrump man's death
Officials in Pahrump believe that the recent Fourth of July earthquake caused the death of resident Troy Ray as he was working on his car. If true, it will be the first earthquake-related death in the state in recorded history, according to research geologist Craig dePolo. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Earthquake-related death reported in Pahrump
The Nye County Sheriff's Office investigated a man's death reported on July 9 that may have been related to a Southern California earthquake that occurred on July 4 and was felt in Southern Nevada. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Fire in Arts District in downtown Las Vegas
Fire in Arts District in downtown Las Vegas on July 6, 2019. (Angus Kelly)
10th Anniversary of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health
The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is celebrating its 10th anniversary in the coming week. Director Marwan Sabbagh talks about what the center offers, what they've achieved and what is next in the work of degenerative brain disease. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Highway Patrol pulls over hearse in HOV lane
A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper pulled over the driver of a hearse, which was carrying a body, in an HOV lane in Las Vegas, July 1, 2019. (Nevada Highway Patrol)
Bellagio Conservatory unveils Italian summer exhibit
The Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens have opened the gates to its summer display. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Summer In Las Vegas
Summer In Las Vegas (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Train derails in Northern Nevada - VIDEO
A train carrying ammunition derailed near Wells in Northern Nevada on Wed., June 19, 2019, closing part of Interstate 80, authorities said. (Michael Lyday/Twitter)
Fire damages an office complex in central Las Vegas - VIDEO
A fire causes heavy damage to an office complex at 3900 Paradise Rd. in Las Vegas on June 17, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Crash closes Las Vegas Blvd. near Fremont Street
A vehicle fleeing police crashed in the area of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard in downtown Las Vegas on Friday, June 7, 2019. (Courtesy Andy Herrera)
Clark County's third poet laureate
Heather Lang-Cassera, who will be Clark County's third poet laureate on June 1, is interviewed at the Writer's Block bookstore in Las Vegas, Friday, May 24, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
One dead, two critical in Henderson shooting
One person is dead and two juveniles are in critical condition after a Friday morning shooting in Henderson, police said. During a briefing at the scene on Friday, Lt. Kirk Moore said the preliminary investigation has revealed that this incident is likely narcotics-related.
A man whose wives were found dead 8 years apart under similar circumstances is denied bail - VIDEO
Alan Sylwester, the man suspected of killing his wife, was denied bail again Wednesday morning during his preliminary hearing in Henderson.
Chief deputy district attorney: “Justice was done” in child pornography case - VIDEO
Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney James Sweetin speaks with the media after the sentencing of Christopher Sena, the man who was found guilty in February of multiple counts of sexual assault with a minor, incest, use of a minor in the production of pornography, lewdness with a child younger than 14 and child abuse. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Spring Mountain horses don't mind the snow
Snowfall made a return to the Spring Mountains overnight, May 19, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Newly completed Project Neon HOV flyover ramp in the Spaghetti Bowl
The newly completed Project Neon HOV flyover ramp in the Spaghetti Bowl will open to traffic Monday morning, May 20, 2019, along with new HOV lanes on Interstate 15 and new HOV lane regulations on the HOV lanes on I-15 and U.S. Highway 95. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, Clark County fire departments face off in burger eating challenge
Las Vegas City Fire Department battled Clark County Fire Department in a burger eating contest Thursday at a local Farmer Boys restaurant to raise money for the Southern Nevada Burn Foundation. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Courtyard Homeless Resource Center employees talk about their termination
Employees from the Courtyard Homeless Resource Center talk about their termination. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Highlights from the 2019 Helldorado Parade
The 2019 Helldorado Parade, which dates back 85 years, took place Saturday morning in downtown Las Vegas as part of the Las Vegas Days, formerly known as Helldorado Days, annual cowboy-themed event with a nod to the Wild West.
Clouds move across Las Vegas Valley (Michael Quine)
After record rainfall of nearly a half-inch soaked the Las Vegas Valley on Thursday evening, clouds cover the valley Friday morning with forecast for some additional rain.
Las Vegas rain tops annual average – in May
Las Vegas has now received more rainfall so far this year than the city sees in an entire average year. We’ve had 4.2 inches of rain through May 10th. The average amount for the whole year is 4.19 inches. (Harrison Keely/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Weather | Steady Rain Falls in Northwest Valley
A steady rain falls near U.S. 95 North and Ann Road in northwest Las Vegas on Thursday, May 9, 2019. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Navigate Project Neon road features
How to navigate a trio of newly opened Project Neon road features. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rain at Aviators ballpark
Rain at the Las Vegas Aviators Ballpark on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 (Jason Lilly)
Tropicana/I-15 Interchange
The planned $200 million project is slated to begin in 2022 and finish in 2024. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas kids court and Harry Potter
Fourth graders from Hickey Elementary School made their case against Harry Potter at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Friday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Free genetic testing through the Healthy Nevada Project
Clark County residents will be able to receive free genetic testing through the Healthy Nevada Project this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Treasure hunting in Las Vegas
Sarah Collins considers herself a modern-day treasure hunter. As one of the co-owners of Main Street Peddlers Antique Mall, located in downtown Las Vegas, Collins is constantly looking for antique goods to sell in the store. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Explore a hidden wonderland on Glen Canyon raft trip

One of the most enchanting stretches of the Colorado River begins at the base of the Glen Canyon Dam and winds about 15 miles downstream to Lee’s Ferry.

Big Bear Lake offers escape from blistering desert summers

The Southern California resort town is a haven for off-road adventurers, hikers and mountain bikers as well as a prime destination for anglers, boaters and water skiers.

Death Valley trail treats hikers to splendid views

The hike from Zabriskie Point to Golden Canyon is a moderately strenuous one, but it rewards the strong with a look at some of Death Valley National Park’s finest geologic formations.