How to hike the Grand Canyon

With the US’s natural wonders facing an uncertain future, now is the time to visit the greatest of them all. Our writer tackles the 23-mile Rim-to-Rim trail in a single, muscle-grinding day, but offers tips for walking the route at a gentler pace

It was cathedral quiet. Visitors don’t normally make it this far into the national park. My driver, Marcia, and I were alone at Bright Angel Point lookout, at the remote North Rim of the Grand Canyon. My objective was to reach South Rim – on foot – before the day was out, but from where I stood it was just a hazy horizontal line far out across the trench.

The mountainous butte named Brahma Temple was closer. Sculpted over almost two billion years, the rock presides over the tapestry of decaying ridges and stretching valleys below. Before journeying towards the centre of the Earth, Marcia insisted I came here to fully appreciate what I was getting myself into. “OK, point taken,” I said, returning – humbled – to the trailhead.

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