By Peter Potterfield
Today's Featured Hike: Rim to Rim to Rim
Round-Trip: 44 miles, 4 to 6 days
When to Go: Everybody does this hike in September to October or April to May, so go in March or November for a more contemplative experience.
Any walk in the Grand Canyon is going to rate pretty high on the Richter scale of hikes, but this route shows you both rims and the river, offers different trails in and out, and gives you enough time within one of the greatest features on Earth to actually savor the majesty of the natural architecture. Time travel through the multicolored layer cake of the Colorado Plateau for two billion years' worth of geology, from the Kaibab limestone at the rim to the Vishnu complex at the river, all on good “corridor” trails with known water sources and pleasant camps.
Insider Tip: Bomb down from the South Rim via the uber-direct South Kaibab Trail to cross the Colorado River on the Black Bridge and camp at Bright Angel camp. Then ascend through the Box, the inner heart of the canyon, up to Cottonwood Camp and the remote North Rim. On the return trek, cross the Colorado on the Silver Bridge and ascend to the South Rim through Indian Garden via the Bright Angel Trail, better suited for uphill travel.
Photograph by Bill Hatcher, National Geographic