Los Angeles to Grand Canyon NP: Overview
How to Get from Los Angeles to Grand Canyon South Rim:
Where to Stay in Grand Canyon National Park:
Hiking Trails: South Rim Grand Canyon National Park
If you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon for only a weekend, I would prioritize the following two hiking trails during your time there:
Day 1: South Kaibab Trail
This trail ranges from 2-6 miles round-trip depending on how far you want to go. South Kaibab Trail offers some of the best views in Grand Canyon National Park for a relatively short hike. The trailhead begins just south of Yaki Point. The only way to get to the trailhead is by the free shuttle bus, which you can hop on from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, along with a few other locations.
As you start hiking down, the first stop you will come to is at “Ooh-Aah Point” about 1 mile in. This scenic viewpoint offers a stunning view, and is great for pictures! If you don’t want a strenuous hike, you can turn back around after this point for a 2 mile round-trip hike.
If you’re an avid hiker and want to keep going, the next stopping point you’ll come to is Cedar Ridge, about a half-mile past Ooh-Aah point. There are restrooms here, but not water (make sure you bring enough water!!). This is a good stopping point for most day-hikers, but if you’re looking for more of a challenge, you can keep going to 1.5 miles past Cedar Ridge to Skeleton Point, making it a 6 mile roundtrip hike. At Skeleton Point you will see the first view of the river at the base of the Grand Canyon. The hike back up is steep and there’s no shade- make sure you have enough water!
After you’ve made it back up to the top, check out the rim trail for an easy, flat walking trail around the edge of the rim with great views!
Day 2: Bright Angel Trail
This trail is longer/more difficult than South Kaibab Trail, but it is worth the hike! Bright Angel Trail can be up to 12 miles roundtrip, but you can turn back at any time to make it shorter hike. Make sure you get an early start in the morning if you are planning to go the 9-12 miles round-trip route!
The first rest area (with bathrooms and water) is about 1.5 miles in. On the way to this point, you’ll encounter two naturally-made rock tunnels. After the first tunnel is where the switchbacks begin. The 1.5 mile rest-stop is a good point to turn back if you are a beginner hiker, or if you got a late start. We even saw a deer while on this part of the trail!
If you keep going, you’ll encounter the next rest area at 3 miles in, which is a good spot to turn back if you are an intermediate hiker (don’t underestimate how much harder/longer the hike back up will take you! It’s steep).
If you keep going to 4.5 miles, you’ll reach Indian Garden down towards the bottom, making for a 9 mile round-trip hike. This is where we turned around, and the hike back up was pretty difficult. Definitely make sure you have enough water and stay hydrated! Indian Garden is a nice area with picnic tables and a small river, which feels great to relax and put your feet in before you start your steep hike back up! At this point, you will have descended 3,000 feet into the Grand Canyon. Pretty cool!
It is advised not to go past Indian Garden as a day hike if you are hiking in the Summer. If you do decide to keep going, you will reach Plateau Point at 6 miles in, making for a
Other Tips for Planning a Trip from Los Angeles to Grand Canyon:
- The Grand Canyon Village Market is only .2 miles from Mather Campground and has groceries, firewood, and other general items you might need.
- If you are looking to eat out, there are a few lodge restaurants right around that area. We ate at the Yavapai Lodge Restaurant one of the nights. It was mediocre, but we were just happy to have a quick meal after a day of hiking!
- Drink Lots of Water!
- I know I already mentioned this, but the Grand Canyon can get super hot and dry, meaning you are even more susceptible to dehydration. Make sure you’re prepared for your hikes with plenty of water and snacks.
- Pack Layers(especially if you’re camping):
- I was there at the end of May, and while it was super hot in the daytime (about 80 degrees F), the temp would drop to about 40 degrees F at night. Make sure you have warm clothes for when the sun goes down!
- Get up Early
- Wake up early to start your hike so that you can have enough time to finish the hike, avoid the crowds, and not be at the hardest part of the hike during the hottest part of the day.
Packing List for Grand Canyon National Park Weekend Trip
- REI Joule Sleeping Bag (this is the one that I have and I love it)
- Inflatable Sleeping Pad (this is the one that I use)
- Portable Rocking Chair (This thing is AWESOME!)
- REI Flexlite Chair – low profile camping chair that’s a big space-saver
- The COLDEST Water Bottle (seriously – stays colder than Hydroflask or Yeti!)
- Decathlon 2-Second Tent (I love this one – it’s super easy to setup and you can sleep longer because of the blackout material)
- Hiking Boots (These are my favorite!)
- Camping String Lights (these are the ones I have and I love them!)
- Travel Towel
- Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket (I bring this on EVERY camping trip. It packs up small and keeps you warm!)
- Sunski Polarized Glasses
- Camping Cooler
- Portable phone charger
- Cliff Bar Energy Chews (love these things for a boost of energy!)
- Kuhl Softshell Pants – These are my favorite pants to wear hiking or camping when the weather gets chilly!
- Periscoping Roasting Sticks – these come in handy when you want to roast smores or hot dogs over the fire!
- Camping Grill – this is the one I have, and I love it!
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