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Elzada Clover, the first botanist to catalog plants in the Grand Canyon and one of the first women to traverse the Colorado.

Elzada Clover: The Botanist Of The Grand Canyon

Elzada Urseba Clover was born in Auburn, Nebraska in 1897, the seventh of nine children of Maynard French Clover and Sarah Gates Clover. She had six sisters (Alice, Mabel, Bessie, Vida, Cora, and Maud) and two brothers (Maynard and Verne).

She grew up on her father’s farm and attended high school in the nearby town of Peru. Her mother died in 1913 and her father remarried around 1925 and moved to Texas, where he set up as a farmer near Alamo.

Clover began her career as a public school teacher in 1919, working first in Nebraska and later in Texas; she also supervised an Indian mission school in the latter state. She graduated from Nebraska State Teachers College in 1930 and went on to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, for her M.S. (1932) and Ph.D. (1935) degrees. The subject of her doctoral thesis was the vegetation of the lower Rio Grande Valley.

Elzada Clover, the first female botanist of the Grand Canyon to catalog the plant life there.

via University of Utah

Elzada is most famous for her 1938 expedition down the Colorado River. In fact, she was the first woman to successfully travel by boat down the Colorado, at the time still largely unexplored and treacherous. During that expedition, she planned to record and discover new plant species along the river.

While that is a long list of accomplishments for any individual, Elzada Clover did this at a time when for the most part women weren’t accepted in the sciences. She heard repeatedly before her expedition that the Colorado River is “no place for a woman,” and she was denied any title above instructor for many years at the University of Michigan. Elzada Clover proved them wrong. And she is credited with identifying over 50 species of desert plants and powerfully influencing the future of botany.

Elzada Clover, the first female botanist of the Grand Canyon to catalog the plant life there.

Grand Canyon Superintendent Tillotson, Dr Clover, and Norm Nevills, 12 July 1938.
via NPS Photo

No woman had launched down the Colorado River and survived. The river had claimed many men, too, with its force and fury. Knifing through seven American states and parts of Mexico over 6 million years, the river had created a deep, winding gouge in the earth best known for the Grand Canyon.

The lone woman to attempt the river had been Bessie Hyde, who with her husband, Glen, set off in 1928 for their honeymoon. Both the trip and marriage were short-lived; the Hydes never reached their destination and their bodies were never found.

Now came a U-M professor and a graduate assistant named Lois Jotter. “Just because the only other woman who ever attempted the trip was drowned is no reason women have any more to fear than men,” Jotter told a reporter.

The Colorado River Expedition

Elzada was appointed an instructor in botany at the University of Michigan in 1935, as well as assistant curator of its botanical gardens. With her research and teaching focused on the Cactaceae, Clover was collecting cacti in the Colorado Plateau (Utah) in 1937 when her dreams of exploring the plants of the Grand Canyon first began to take shape.

She then started planning a research trip down the Colorado River to catalog its flora, and the university gave her some funding for the trip in the expectation that it would yield specimens for its collection. Although she originally intended to go by pack mule, she discussed the idea of going by boat instead with the pioneering Colorado River boatman, Norman Nevills, whom she met on a collecting expedition in Mexican Hat, Utah.

Elzada Clover, the first female botanist of the Grand Canyon to catalog the plant life there.

via University of Utah

Rushing down the river in three green-and-white wooden boats, Clover, at 42, was the oldest. In addition to teaching botany at U-M—where she had earned her doctorate—she was an assistant curator at the Botanical Gardens. Jotter, the daughter of a U-M forestry professor, was studying both botany and biology.

Also on the trip were graduate students, Eugene Atkinson, artist Bill Gibson (who took photographs and film of the trip), and, as Nevills’s assistant, a U.S. Geological Survey geologist named Don Harris. Part way through the trip, due to tensions among expedition members, Atkinson left and was replaced by photographer Emery Kolb.

Clover and Jotter floated the Green and Colorado rivers in 43 days, cataloging the plants they found along the way. The female botanists made plant lists and collected specimens throughout the trip, although the rigors of the journey—especially lack of space and difficulty keeping specimens dry—meant that they ended up with fewer specimens than they had hoped.

They described the canyon as having five plant zones, from the moist sand along the river’s edge up to higher zones with shrubs and trees. Most of what they found were typical riparian species, with a major exception being tamarisk, a non-native species that they saw in a few locations.

Tamarisk shrub at the Grand Canyon.

Tamarisk (Tamarix L.)

They found very little snakeweed, which has since become common throughout the canyon.

Snakeweed bush in the Grand Canyon.

Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)

The team identified five plant zones, 50+ species of desert plants, and discovered four new species: Grand Canyon claret cup with a red-purple flower, fishhook cactus with small flowers and curved spines, strawberry hedgehog cactus, and beavertail prickly pear. The cactus Clover collected formed the basis for what is now Matthaei’s desert house collection.

They published their findings six years later in a scientific journal under the title, “Floristic Studies in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River and Tributaries.”

After the successful river run, Elzada Clover spent her entire career at U-M, slowly climbing the faculty ranks to become a full professor in 1960. Over her career, she identified nearly 50 species of cacti, begonia, mosses and other plants in the United States, Guatemala and Mexico. She retired in 1967 and died 13 years later. In 2007, the University established the Elzada U. Clover Collegiate Professorship in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

The cactus she collected along the Colorado River and shipped to Ann Arbor became the foundation of the desert collections at what is today’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens. In thanking Clover, the Board of Regents called the plants “her continuing monument.”

Clover and Jotters’ survey of plant life, completed on about 600 miles of river, remains the only comprehensive study of plant life in the riparian ecosystem before Glen Canyon Dam altered the landscape.

sources: mbgna.umich.edu, heritage.umich.edu, williamsnews.com, grandcanyontrust.org, wikivisually.com, plants.jstor.org

Famous for revitalizing Hopi pottery by creating a contemporary style inspired by prehistoric ceramics, this Hopi-Tewa potter's name is still known for her contribution to Southwestern pottery.

Nampeyo: The Noted Hopi Potter

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Hopi-Tewa potter Nampeyo revitalized Hopi pottery by creating a contemporary style inspired by prehistoric ceramics. Nampeyo made clay pots at a time when her people had begun using manufactured vessels, and her skill helped convert pottery-making from a utilitarian process to an art form.

Nampeyo and her pottery.

Nampeyo with one of her Sikyátki Revival vessels, ca. 1908–1910. Hopi, Arizona. Photo by Charles M. Wood. P07128
via The National Museum of the American Indian

Nampeyo, from the Hopi village of Hano on First Mesa, was born around 1860, the daughter of Quootsva of the Hopi Snake clan and White Corn of the Tewa clan. At puberty, she was given the Tewa name “Nung-beh-yong,” usually pronounced “Nahm-pay-oh” by outsiders.

She was known as one of the finest Hopi potters, crafting beautiful pieces of pottery in the traditional Old Hopi style. When she married her second husband, who was assisting at an archaeological excavation of Sikyátki near her home village, she became interested in the ancient style of Hopi pottery. Created between the 14th and 16th centuries, the ancient style of pottery was harder and less prone to cracks that the style of pottery Nampeyo’s contemporaries were producing.

Sikyatki is the name of an enormous ancient Hopi village on the east flank of First Mesa that was abandoned about 1500. The abandonment of Sikyatki is told in Hopi oral tradition as due to a dispute with Walpi, whose descendents still reside on top of First Mesa, that resulted in the destruction of Sikyatki.

Along with her husband, Nampeyo gathered pottery shards and studied the ancient designs painted on them by her ancestors, which she incorporated into her own pottery. She used ancient methods to fire and finish the pottery, producing a smoother finished surface.

“When I first began to paint, I used to go to the ancient village and pick up pieces of pottery and copy the designs,” Nampeyo told interviewers at the time. “That is how I learned to paint. But now, I just close my eyes and see designs and I paint them.”

Nampeyo was a sought-after potter by the time she was 20 years old. She married a Tewa man named Kwivioya, but the union was short-lived.

In 1878, she married Lesou of the Cedarwood clan from Walpi. She gave birth to six children from 1884 to 1900. During this time, she also produced some of her most artistic and innovative work.

Nampeyo’s Pottery Style

Nampeyo Hopi's pottery collection.

via Arizona State Museum

Sikyatki polychrome, also called yellow ware, was produced from about 1325 to 1630 at Sikyatki and two other Hopi villages. It was made with fine local clay that polished to a smooth, hard surface and represented a high watermark in known Hopi pottery prior to the turn of the 20th century.

When Nampeyo began making pottery, the predominant style was what is now referred to as Polacca polychrome. Produced with coarse clay, it required a thin layer of finer clay applied to the surface, on which to paint designs. The white surface layer, or slip, often cracked over time and was not as aesthetically pleasing as the earlier, Sikyatki style.

Seeking out specific clays and the raw materials needed for color, Nampeyo preferred to shape low, wide pots with abstract, geometric designs. She did not fill her bowls with detail, but used space as an art form along with intricate brush strokes and bold splashes of color.

Decorative elements that appear on the cookware or clothing are drawn from each tribe’s unique religious beliefs or world views. When Nampeyo first began making her pots, Hopi motifs had been diluted by the influence of Spanish, Tewa or Zuni designs, most frequently “Mera,” the rain bird. Even the clay used by the Hopi potters was inferior. Nampeyo’s brilliance was not only her superior natural gifts as an artist but her ability to recognize the importance of reclaiming the long-lost Hopi symbols. At the same time, she went beyond imitation and became the inspiration for continuing generations of Hopi potters.

Nampeyo' rare Hopi-Tewa pottery
Nampeyo' rare Hopi-Tewa pottery

via suduva.com

In 1904, the Fred Harvey Co. hired architect Mary Colter to design a building at the Grand Canyon that resembled a Hopi dwelling, three stories high with pole ladders ascending to each terrace.Native artisans were invited to Hopi House to demonstrate their crafts of weaving, basketry, jewelry, and pottery-making, and to sell their products to the public. Nampeyo and her family were the first to arrive in January 1905. For three months, Nampeyo and her daughter Annie crafted pottery and were so successful they ran out of clay. Harvey employees were sent to the Hopi reservation for more materials, as Nampeyo would only use clays from certain areas.

She stayed and lived as an artist in residence at Mary Colter’s Hopi House, selling her pottery there until 1907, when she left to exhibit her works across the U.S.

Nampeyo’s daughters — Annie, Nellie, and Fannie — all became talented potters. Together with Lesou, they assisted their mother in painting her designs, especially after she began losing her eyesight in the early 1920s. Trachoma, an infectious eye disease that results in scarring of the cornea and eventual blindness, ran rampant through the Hopi Nation. Brought on by poor sanitary conditions, lack of water and an abundance of flies, the only treatment available at the time was an antiseptic solution that temporarily halted the progression of the disease, but did not cure it.

On July 20, 1942, Nampeyo died in the red-roofed house below First Mesa. She had continued to shape her pots until about three years before her death.

Today, the extraordinary quality encouraged by Nampeyo continues, even as artists incorporate their own designs and many have moved in contemporary directions. The prevalence of the motifs Nampeyo reintroduced even in Southwestern pottery today stands to show how important she was to revitalizing Southwestern pottery.

sources: williamsnews.com, grandcanyontrust.org, tucson.com, suduva.com, statemuseum.arizona.edu, cowboysindians.com, encyclopedia.com, uapress.arizona.edu, bowers.org

The Grand Canyon National Park with its Colorado River has attracted more than six million visitors a year. But have you ever wondered, who mapped the Grand Canyon for the first time?

Barbara Washburn: The Accidental Adventurer Who Mapped The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon National Park, preserving more than 1.2 million acres of the country’s most spectacularly scenic land, has attracted more than six million visitors a year, exerting an almost magnetic pull on hikers, rafters, explorers, and tourists from all over the world. Artists and writers are also drawn to the canyon, hoping to capture its legendary beauty and breadth. But have you ever wondered, who mapped the Grand Canyon for the first time?It was done by this forgotten female mountain climber, who spent years to map the entire canyon. If you are not familiar with her cartography story, you might have heard her historic Denali ascent instead.

Barbara Washburn, the female mountaineer who mapped the Grand Canyon.

Left to right: Barbara Washburn, Mt. McKinley National Park Supt. Frank Been, and Bradford Washburn in 1947
via National Park Service

Not only did Barbara become the first woman in the world to climb Denali (Mount McKinley), the highest peak in North America, she also worked with her husband, Bradford Washburn, to map the Grand Canyon.

Barbara’s Life

Barbara Washburn

via The American Alpine Club

Born in 1914, Barbara, like most women of her generation, was brought up with the idea that her place was in the home. After graduated from Smith College at the age of 24, Barbara Polk was happily employed as the secretary of the Harvard biology department. But in the spring of 1939, Clarkie, the mailman, encouraged her to apply for a job opening at the New England Museum of Natural History, whose leadership had just been taken over by an ambitious young mountaineer named Bradford Washburn.

Bradford was a mountain climber and had already established several first ascents in Alaska. After her job interview, he said he’d call her in two weeks about the job. He called her every day for two weeks, and she took the job in March 1939. Their professional relationship became more intimate, and a year after that, he proposed to her.

After their marriage in April 1940, the couple went on a trip to Alaska. Together with six other people, the couple signed up for an expedition to ascend Mt. Bertha, which stands 10,812 feet tall. One year after that, the couple, along with their team, became the first to successfully summit 13,628-foot Mount Hayes.

In 1947, Barbara and Bradford left their three children at home to climb Mount McKinley (now called Denali). The 14,600-foot climb took 70 days. She had trained for the climb by pushing a baby carriage, she later said. After nearly two months of trekking, as they neared the top, a member of the team turned around and encouraged Barbara to be the first to reach the top. “I said, ‘Who cares a rip? I don’t care—I’m perfectly happy being number two here,’” she later recalled. She eventually agreed to take the lead, and she soon stood on the summit as the first woman to look out from North America’s highest point.

No woman followed in her footsteps for another 20 years.

Barbara and Brad were married for 67 years. They were ideal companions and partners in the field, not only in Alaska but also in such monumental projects as mapping the Grand Canyon. Late in life, Barbara started writing down sketches of her adventures, in a typescript intended only to serve as a legacy for her children. But Alaska journalist Lew Freedman borrowed the only copy of the typescript, read it overnight, and persuaded her to publish it as a memoir, The Accidental Adventurer (Epicenter Press, 2001).

On September 25, 2014, Barbara Washburn died in her home in Lexington, Massachusetts, just two months shy of her 100th birthday and seven years after her husband. With her passing, America lost one of its truly great adventurers and pioneer climbers.

Mapping The Grand Canyon

The Washburns' Map of Grand Canyon

via National Geographic Maps

In the 1970s, Barbara and her husband took on an ambitious project to map the entire Grand Canyon, the results of which were published as a supplement to National Geographic magazine in 1978.

The story of Washburn’s map, as told in the 2018 National Geographic book All Over the Map: A Cartographic Odyssey, started when Washburn and his wife, Barbara, visited the Grand Canyon in 1969. They had come to acquire a boulder from the bottom of the canyon to display in front of Boston’s Museum of Science, where Washburn was the director. “We were astonished that no good large-scale map was available anywhere,” he recalled. So he decided to make one himself.

It took eight years of planning, fieldwork, analysis, drafting, painting, and negotiating to create his map of the Grand Canyon. Such an endeavor would be unheard of in today’s digital world.

Many of the points in their survey were extremely difficult or impossible to reach on foot, so Washburn hired helicopters to get them there. With 697 helicopter landings on obscure buttes and ledges in the 1970s, the Washburns and their assistants may have been the first people to ever set foot on some of the canyon’s most remote points.

Turning all of this fieldwork into a map would turn out to be just as laborious and twice as complicated as gathering the data. Bradford’s goal was to produce a masterpiece, which meant putting together an all-star team to make the map. “Nothing quite like this has ever been done before,” he wrote to the president of the National Geographic Society.

The mapping team, which included staff members of the National Geographic Society, conducted a photographic survey before employing a then-novel technique of flying helicopters to land on unscaled peaks. After cross-checking measurements of what Mr Washburn described as “this magnificent but desiccated and vertiginous wilderness,” the team produced a map of the Inner Canyon in 1974 and then a map of the center of the Grand Canyon in 1978.

In the end, all that work paid off exactly as the Washburns hoped: the map is exceptional, both technically and aesthetically. National Geographic produced two versions of “The Heart of the Grand Canyon” map, one at the full 33-by-34-inch size and another covering slightly less territory as a supplement to the July 1978 issue of National Geographic magazine, putting it in the hands of more than ten million readers around the world.

For this cartography achievement, the Washburn couple was awarded the 1980 Alexander Graham Bell Medal from the National Geographic Society. Eight years later in 1988, the couple also received the National Geographic Centennial award together with 15 other legends like Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Edmund Hillary.

For more details about Barbara’s life and climbing adventures, listen to her oral history from the University of Alaska’s Project Jukebox.

sources: nationalgeographic.com, adventure-journal.com, publications.americanalpineclub.org, nytimes.com, visiontimes.com, wcvb.com, outsideonline.com, nps.gov

Mary Jane Colter, the architect behind your favorite buildings in the Grand Canyon South Rim. Contact SWEETours for your next big adventure. Talk to one of our customer service agents for more info!

Mary Colter: The Architect Behind Your Favorite Buildings at the Grand Canyon South

If you’ve sipped a lemonade at Phantom Ranch, or stayed at Bright Angel Lodge on the South Rim, you’re familiar with Mary Colter’s work. She was a lady ahead of her time, where she designed and supervised the construction of six of Grand Canyon National Park’s most famous buildings, all of which still stand today.

Mary Colter: The Female Architect

Mary Jane Colter, the chief designer of Grand Canyon.

via National Park Service

Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter was born in 1869 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and while her family lived briefly in Texas and Colorado, the Colter’s finally settled in St. Paul. She desired to pursue art as a career but couldn’t due to family opposition. It wasn’t until the death of her father that she moved toward following her dream. She was, at the time, one of the few female architects working in the U.S.—a woman in a man’s world who had to fight hard for recognition.

Mary attended the California School of Design in San Francisco, studying art and design. Few universities taught architecture, so she apprenticed with a practicing architect. This was unusual for a woman, but Mary was determined. In 1892, at the age of 23, she began a 15-year teaching career at the Mechanic Arts High School, an all-boys institution, back in St. Paul.

Through informal contacts with the Fred Harvey Company, Colter eventually landed a job as an interior designer of the Indian Building adjacent to the Santa Fe’s new Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque, along the main line. As a full-time architect in the Fred Harvey Company, Mary Colter would build six buildings on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Colter was a perfectionist, who spent a lifetime advocating and defending her aesthetic vision in a largely male-dominated field. In 1948, at the age of 79, Colter officially retired from the Fred Harvey Company. On January 8, 1958, at the age of 88, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter died.

Mary Colter’s Buildings

At the time, American architecture followed the fashions of Europe, but Mary preferred to let her conceptions grow from the land, paying homage to the Native Americans who inhabited the area. Her creative free-form buildings at Grand Canyon took direct inspiration from the landscape and served as part of the basis of the developing artistic aesthetic for appropriate development in areas that became national parks. Her designs include Hermit’s RestLookout StudioBright Angel LodgeHopi House and the Watchtower, along with Phantom Ranch, situated at the bottom of the canyon.

Located on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, these buildings* highlight the ingenuity of Colter, chief architect and decorator for the Fred Harvey Company from 1902 to 1948.

*As a group, these buildings were designated a National Historic Landmark District on May 28, 1987.

1. Hopi House (1904)

Hopi House postcard. Mary Colter's Hopi House.
When the Fred Harvey Company noticed that native American craftspeople were doing a booming trade selling their arts and crafts at railroad stops, they began planning Hopi House, a dedicated marketplace for native American wares on the South Rim.

Located next to El Tovar Hotel, Hopi House is a prime example of Colter’s unique site-specific style. The building was built by Hopi craftsmen and constructed using local materials and salvaged items, such as Civil War-era Western Union telegraph poles and rails.

For many Grand Canyon visitors, Hopi House was their first introduction to Hopi and Native American culture, and to this day, Hopi House still operates as a native American gift shop.

2. Hermit’s Rest (1914)

Hermit's Rest postcard. Mary Colter's Hermit's Rest.
Hermit’s Rest was built in 1914 as a rest area for tourists travelling on coaches operated by (you guessed it!) the Fred Harvey Company on their way to what was once Hermit Camp.

This simple log-and-stone building was designed to look like a rustic getaway that Louis Boucher, a trail guide and infamous “hermit” who once lived in the area, would have built. With this in mind, Mary Colter actually ordered the fireplace to be intentionally streaked with soot to add an aged effect.

Hermit’s Rest is located at the western end of Hermit Road and is the western terminus of the Rim Trail.

3. Lookout Studio (1914)

Lookout Studio postcard. Mary Colter's Lookout Studio.
Situated just west of Bright Angel Lodge, Lookout Studio is one of the most prominent examples of Mary Colter’s unique style.

Colter’s design for Lookout Studio draws heavily from its natural surroundings: the native stone exterior and multi-level design blend in seamlessly with the layers and edge of the Grand Canyon, while it’s asymmetrical roofline mimics the Canyon’s natural shape to create the illusion that the Studio is an extension of the Canyon’s steadfast stone walls.

Today, Lookout Studio offers multiple viewing platforms and a gift shop where Grand Canyon visitors can pick up a memento of their adventure.

4. Phantom Ranch (1922)

Phantom Ranch postcard. Mary Colter's Phantom Ranch.
Mary Colter’s use of on-site fieldstone and rough-hewn wood was largely a product of necessity based on the Ranch’s remote location, but the use of native materials to construct National Park Service Structures soon became the default for NPS and Civilian Conservation Corps buildings. In fact, Mary Colter’s design for Phantom Ranch influenced an entire genre of “parkitecture”, often referred to as “National Park Service Rustic”.

5. Desert View Watchtower (1932)

Desert View Watchtower postcard. Mary Colter's Desert View Watchtower.
Considered by many to be Mary Colter’s Grand Canyon masterpiece, this 70-foot tall tower is located near the east entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park, about 20 miles outside of the Grand Canyon Village.

Modeled after ancient Puebloan watchtowers found throughout the Four Corners region, Desert View Watchtower’s concrete foundation and steel structure is covered in intentionally-aged native stone. The Watchtower’s interior is adorned with Native American motifs, including murals and paintings by Hopi artist Frank Kabotie, as well as petroglyphs from the Hopi reservation approximately 100 more miles east.

6. Bright Angel Lodge (1935)

Bright Angel Lodge postcard. Mary Colter's Bright Angel Lodge.
Bright Angel Lodge was built to provide tourists with affordable accommodation on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Like Mary Colter’s other buildings, the design for Bright Angel Lodge was inspired by local native architecture—in this case, the influence of early pioneer buildings can be seen in the welcoming porch and pitched roof.

Mary Colter also designed the many cabins that surround the lodge. Her eclectic approach to sourcing materials for these cabins mimics the effect and appearance of a diverse settlement built over time.

The cornerstone of Bright Angel Lodge is its fireplace. Colter’s design features native stone (hauled out of the Canyon by mule) arranged from floor to ceiling in the same order as the geologic strata you’ll see as you descend into the Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail.

sources: cowboykisses.blogspot.com, grandcanyontrust.org, westernoutdoortimes.com, latimes.com, nps.gov, canyontours.com

Top Reasons to Visit Zion National Park

In a state filled with dramatic scenery that stretches to the horizon and seemingly endless bucket list adventures, Zion National Park is the crown jewel of Utah’s five iconic national parks. Zion’s landscape is filled with rainbow-colored rock layers chiseled into sharp peaks, high mesas, and deep, twisting canyons. It’s a place so hauntingly beautiful that you will never forget the silence of Zion’s sandstone cathedrals, the light reflecting off the slot canyons, the rushing Virgin River, or the architect of its cliffs and canyons. Everyone should visit Zion at least once in their lifetime to hike its trails, wade through canyon waters, and watch deer graze in open meadows. Named by early settler Isaac Behunin in 1863, Zion remains true to its name—the Promised Land and a place of refuge.

Here are a few of the reasons why it’s such a special destination.

Spectacular Scenic Driving Adventures

The six-mile Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, running north through the national park’s scenic heart, is one of Utah’s most spectacular road adventures. Skyscraping sandstone formations, including the Great White Throne and Temple of Sinawava, soar above the tumbling Virgin River.

The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway (Utah 9) drops 2,000 feet from the East Entrance to the visitor center, passing through a 1.1-mile tunnel. On both drives, expect gorgeous scenery along the entire route. Take the free park shuttle to experience the canyon since the road is closed to traffic most of the year.

Iconic Hiking Trails: Hikes from Easy to Strenuous

The hike trail at Zion National Park
The best way to see Zion is to fill a water bottle, strap on your boots, and hit the trail. You’ll find a wide range of options—from easy to strenuous—in the park. For easy romps, take Canyon Overlook, Weeping Rock, and Riverside Walk trails. Hardy hikers ascend the famous but dangerous Angel’s Landing Trail or trek to Observation Point for Zion’s best views, while backpackers follow East Rim and West Rim trails to find wildlife, solitude, and hidden wonders.

World’s Best Canyoneering

Zion is renowned as one of the world’s best places for canyoneering, the sport of descending slender canyons. The national park invites adventurers to lower into fantastic watery slots and river-filled canyons that range from strenuous hiking and wading to technical challenges with swimming and rappelling.

Novices can hire an expert guide service in Springdale to safely navigate the park’s canyons, while experienced canyoneers explore remote crevices with specialized skills and a park permit. Zion’s great canyons include the famed Subway, Zion Narrows, Mystery Canyon, Pine Creek, Orderville Canyon, and Keyhole Canyon.

Desert Waterfalls

Fed by winter snowmelt and dousing thunderstorms, Zion’s waterfalls offer a refreshing respite from the summer heat. The sound of falling water in the desert promises a cool spray and an oasis of ferns and flowers. Many of Zion’s falls are ephemeral so plan to visit during the July and August monsoon season or in early spring to see them.

A couple of the best waterfalls are the dripping springs at Weeping Rock, a trio of falls at Lower Emerald Pools, and a 300-foot plunge at Upper Emerald Pools. Other popular spots include Pine Creek Falls, Archangel Falls below The Subway, and Mystery Canyon Falls in The Narrows. Use caution if it’s raining since flash flooding can occur, watch for slippery rocks below falls, and never stand on top of a waterfall.

Climbing Big Walls

Big walls on Zion National Park
Zion Canyon, lined with towering sandstone cliffs, is a famed rock-climbing area. Home to some of the tallest sandstone walls in the world. Climbers come to jump on big wall routes on airy cliffs like Angel’s Landing, Temple of Sinawava, Red Arch Mountain, and Touchstone Wall, as well as try the shorter crack climbs along the cliff bases. If sandstone peak-bagging is your game, try North and South Guardian Angels, Lady Mountain, or West Temple—if you have the experience, of course, otherwise hire a guide service in Springdale.

Wildlife and Nature Study

Zion National Park’s 232 square miles protect a land of canyons and plateaus with diverse plant and animal habitats including pine forests, lush riversides, and barren slickrock. Zion harbors more than 1,000 plant species that allow a wide variety of wildlife to flourish. The park is birdwatching heaven with 291 species, including peregrine falcons and endangered California condors. Bring binoculars to spot some of Zion’s 78 mammal species. Watch rocky slopes for desert bighorns and canyon meadows for grazing mule deer. At night look for elusive ringtail cats and kangaroo rats along campground trails.

The Remote Kolob Canyons

The Kolob Canyons, hiding in the national park’s northwest corner, offers a glimpse into Zion’s wild heart with solitude, soaring cliffs, and few visitors. The canyon is usually accessed from I-15, but that route is closed through the end of 2018 for infrastructure improvements. Take SR9 to access the canyon during the construction. Kolob is a wonderland of sheer sandstone canyons and peaks, slot canyons, tumbling waterfalls, more than 20 miles of trails, and the 287-foot-long Kolob Arch, the second longest natural arch in the world.

The Kolob Canyons are an hour’s drive from Zion Canyon, and it’s the place to go for wilderness adventures. Take a hike up Taylor Canyon Trail to Double Arch Alcove or carry a backpack up La Verkin Creek Trail to backcountry campsites, Kolob Arch, and technical Beartrap Canyon.

Bike-Friendly Park

Pedal power is one of the best ways to see Zion Canyon, especially during the busy months when the park shuttle ferries visitors into the canyon. Zion, one of the few national parks that encourages bicycling, allows you to avoid packed buses and to enjoy the stunning scenery without looking through a window.

Bring your own bike or rent one in Springdale, then follow the paved Pa’rus Trail for 1.75 miles to Canyon Junction. Continue for 7.5 miles up Zion Canyon, yielding to passing shuttles and enjoy the views. The return trip to the visitor center is all downhill.

If mountain biking is more your style, head west from the park for miles of world-class singletrack at Gooseberry Mesa.

Great Dining and Lodging in Springdale

Zion National Park Lodging
Despite Zion’s rugged landscape, it’s easy to find civilization by heading to Springdale, an old Wild West town on the park’s southwest boundary. If you don’t want to rough it in one of Zion’s spacious campgrounds, book accommodations in Springdale at a wide variety of hotels, lodges, and bed & breakfasts. (Tip: Make reservations in advance to ensure a room during the high season!)

Springdale offers plentiful dining options for hungry Zion hikers, most bordering Zion Park Boulevard, the town’s main street. Popular favorites include Barefoot Taqueria, Oscar’s Café, Spotted Dog Café, Bit & Spur Restaurant, and Café Soleil. Stop at Zion Canyon Brew Pub on the park boundary for a chilled pint of locally brewed beer and pub grub.

So, after you get your fill of Zion, you can find even more outdoor adventures west of Springdale. And that including hiking, mountain biking, slot canyons, off-road driving, and rock climbing.

So, do you feel like visiting the Canyon in January? Then what are you waiting for? Plan and Book Your Trip with Sweetours today!

Contact us for further information!
Phone: 702.456.9200
Fax – 702.434.7163
Email – info@sweetours.com

source: zionnationalpark.com

Grand Canyon West. Contact Sweetours for your next epic Grand Canyon adventures!

Grand Canyon West: Why You Should Visit The West Rim

If you have seen Grand Canyon in movies, you are most likely looking at the South Rim. As 90% of travelers visit South Rim, it’s easy to forget that there are other rims as well, including West Rim at Grand Canyon.

West Rim

The West Rim, known as Grand Canyon West, is only 121 miles from Las Vegas. Sitting just outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park, The West Rim is part of a Native American reservation owned and operated by the Hualapai Tribe. It’s best known for the Skywalk, a U-shaped glass walkway that juts out over the Grand Canyon—suspending you 4,000 feet high—providing unparalleled views of the canyon floor below. Other points-of-interest at The West Rim include:

• Guano Point, meaning bat droppings, was named for an old fertilizer mine active in the 1930s
• the West Rim was the film location for movies such as Into the Wild and Next
• a one-day whitewater-rafting trip
• visit an Old West town at Hualapai Ranch, with horseback tours, roping, and axe throwing

There are two locations at Grand Canyon West where you can do activities: The West Rim and Peach Springs. At the West Rim, you’ll find the Skywalk, ziplining, aerial tours, and calm floats down the Colorado River. You can also find Hualapai Ranch, where you can rent a cabin and experience the history and culture of the Canyon.

Peach Springs is the launch point for Colorado River whitewater rafting trips. It’s about a two hour drive from the West Rim, and you can stay at the Hualapai Lodge. Peach Springs is along an unspoiled section of historic Route 66, so in addition to seeing the Canyon, you’ll be able to experience a stretch of this iconic highway.

Who should visit Grand Canyon West?

If you have less time to visit the Grand Canyon, consider visiting the West Rim. It’s much closer to Las Vegas, which means you’ll have more time to explore the Rim and experience the landscape.

You should also opt to visit the West Rim if you’re interested in the Grand Canyon Skywalk. There’s no comparable attraction at the South Rim.

As the Grand Canyon National Park has placed restrictions on group tours to the South Rim due to COVID-19, you should visit the West Rim. Here, we have compiled the reasons why you should go there this holiday season.

There are fewer visitors

The West Rim receives about one million visitors a year, compared to the five million adventurers who visit the South Rim every year. That means you won’t have to fight crowds or wait for people to clear out to take your shots of the Grand Canyon.

It’s way closer to Las Vegas

The West Rim is just a short 2.5 hour drive from Las Vegas, compared to the five hour drive to the South Rim. This makes the West Rim especially ideal for day trips or for those who have less time to visit the Grand Canyon.

Since the roads to the West Rim are not as developed as the roads to the South Rim, the Grand Canyon West region does not allow private vehicles inside. For this reason, we recommend you hop on a Grand Canyon West Rim tour.

You can fly there in no time

The West Rim is only 30 minutes away from Las Vegas by airplane, or 45 minutes by helicopter. As you make your way to the Grand Canyon, your flight will pass over the stunning desert and mountain landscapes. Don’t forget your camera!

It’s warmer

Worry about heatstroke? The West Rim sits at a slightly lower elevation than the South Rim, so it’s warmer throughout the year. Summertime temperatures average above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (~38 degrees Celcius), while the fall and winter months average a balmy 64-89 (~18-32) with lows between 38-58 (~3-15) degrees.

If you visit the West Rim in the summer, be sure to bring sunscreen and wear sunglasses and a hat. There’s only limited protection from the sun.

Best Time to Visit Grand Canyon West Rim

The Grand Canyon West Rim is open to visitors the whole year round. The Canyon can accommodate those who wish to see the beauty on any major holiday! Perhaps the best time to see the Grand Canyon is from late fall to early spring. This is the time when the temperatures are their most optimal.

So, do you feel like visiting the Canyon in January? Then what are you waiting for? Plan and Book Your Trip with Sweetours today!

Contact us for further information
Phone: 702.456.9200
Fax – 702.434.7163
Email – info@sweetours.com

sources: maverickhelicopter.com, canyontours.com, grandcanyonwest.com, paradisefoundtours.com

Seasonal Grand Canyon: Why You Should Visit Grand Canyon in Winter

Even though many people won’t consider visiting Grand Canyon in January (it’s the cold, right?), it can be a valuable experience. Seeing the snow falling down to the bottom of the Canyon? Being able to take pictures without photobombers? No need to worry about dehydration or heatstroke? All of those sound inviting, right? So, we have come up with a list of reasons why you, in fact, should visit Grand Canyon in winter!

Less Crowds in Winter

This is probably one of the best reasons we can think of. Less crowds! Less people! And there’s snow!

Remember this is a National Park that gets 5+ million visitors a year. When do you think most of them are visiting?

Summer is the busiest time at the South Rim. The number of people is hopping in spring and fall but not like summer, and winter is peaceful and quiet in comparison. You should also consider the temperature in the Canyon. While the South Rim may be quite chilly (but not always), once you’re down into the Canyon the temperatures will moderate and much of the time be perfect for hiking. Lastly, accommodations and permits are much easier to obtain, and even last-minute reservations at Phantom Ranch are commonly available.

Watch the Winter Sunset at the Canyon

Watch the sunset at Grand Canyon in winter from Mather Point.
You’ll definitely want to catch a winter sunset at the Grand Canyon. Days are shorter during this season, so you can easily catch the sunset and then go have dinner.

You can watch the sunset at Mather Point. This is the most popular sunset spot simply because it’s close to the visitor center and parking lots – but it also has a great view!

Other popular sunset spots include Hopi Point and Yavapai Point.

Whatever you do, just make sure you stick around for a little while after the sun officially dips below the horizon. This is when the winter sky is often painted pretty shades of pink and purple.

Weather in January

The average high at the South Rim in January is 44 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average low is 18 degrees Fahrenheit (high of 6.6 degrees Celsius, low -7.7 degrees Celsius.) However, these temperatures are much warmer inside the Canyon (by 10-20 degrees, but feels even warmer in the sun.) Average days of rain/snow in January is 5.

At Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Canyon, the average high temperature in January is 58 degrees Fahrenheit, and a low of 38 degrees Fahrenheit (14H/3L degrees celsius.)

Cheaper Accommodations in Winter

A major benefit of the Grand Canyon in winter is that staying actually in the national park was possible and not too expensive. You can even get reservations days before your arrival in several of the lodges right in the park, which will not be possible in the warmer months. Usually, you have to book your stay a year before visiting the Canyon.

Now granted, we booked so late we couldn’t get multiple nights in a row and this meant we had to change lodges a few times. However, it was mind-blowing that we could even get reservations right on the rim at short notice.

This meant no long drives from outside the park, no fears about parking and we were able to simply leave our lodge and explore. Little things like that make for a much more relaxing experience.

What To Do at Grand Canyon in Winter

When the weather is cold and it’s snowing, you might be wondering what you can do at the Canyon. There are plenty of great things to do in the Canyon in January; in fact, most of the activities available any other time of year are yours to choose from. Certainly, a hike on the South Kaibab or Bright Angel Trail is very much worth doing, but be sure to have hiking crampons for the icy trails (it’s not advisable to hike particularly Grandview, New Hance and Tanner Trails in winter unless you’re with a guide company or are experienced.)

Helicopter or airplane tours, van tours, and – if roads are clear – bicycle tours are great activities (read about Grand Canyon’s best tours for links to recommended companies.) Checking out things like the Yavapai Geology Museum and the Kolb Studio is very much worth doing if the outside weather is unagreeable.

Finally, having dinner at famous and historic El Tovar is a must-do activity in Grand Canyon, and reservations will be much easier to get in January than many months.

So, do you feel like visiting the Canyon in January? Then what are you waiting for? Plan and Book Your Trip with Sweetours today!

Contact us for further information
Phone: 702.456.9200
Fax – 702.434.7163
Email – info@sweetours.com

sources: angelsgatetours, ytravelblog.comm, wildlandtrekking.com, dangerous-business.com, walkmyworld.com

2 girls jumping at the grand canyon

Best Places to Stay at the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is perhaps one of the most iconic landmarks in the world – certainly in the United States of America. Set slap bang in the middle of arid Arizona, it is a bucket list destination for almost every self-respecting traveler.

A rare but beautiful landscape, the Grand Canyon spans an awesome 4,926 km². Many people tend to believe that the Grand Canyon is just one specific viewpoint, but how wrong they are. The Grand Canyon is, in fact, a whole national park area that is crisscrossed with hiking trails and bouldering routes galore. That one specific viewpoint, however, is Mather Point.

Welcoming in excess of five million visitors every year, the Grand Canyon National Park is very well set up for the onslaught of eager tourists. There are a hotel, motel and B&B to suit every budget and travel style.

Although the Grand Canyon is Arizona’s most loved landscape, there are a number of other beautiful national parks to explore in the state too. This one is really just the beginning.

Let’s take a look at where to stay in Grand Canyon and where else you can visit in the area.

Grand Canyon Lodge

This North Rim hotel features both basic rooms and cabins, meaning that everyone’s budget can be catered for; some rooms even feature views across the stunning canyon itself. Seasonal events such as outdoor barbecues are held here. The Grand Canyon Lodge also offers free shuttles to the Kaibab trailhead, making it great for hikers. As an added bonus, since children aged 15 and under stay free at this hotel, it’s a very good option for families.

However, this is the only lodge that offers accommodation inside the national park boundaries of the North Rim; therefore, booking a year in advanced is advised. Stay amid the solitude and remoteness in this historic lodge; choose from cabins and lodgings nestled among ancient trees around the canyon edge, and after the day’s hike you can dine in the lodge’s restaurants with magnificent views of the night sky.

Grand Canyon Village – Tusayan

Grand Canyon Village is the most popular place to stay in Grand Canyon and it is not hard to see why. This tiny township has been purpose-built for easy access to the National Park’s main entrance gate. Unless you camp inside the park, you can’t stay any closer than this.

Grand Canyon Village is home to just 2,000 permanent residents, who take great pride in living so close to this national treasure. In the town, you will find Hopi House, an interesting historical landmark well worth a quick visit. The gift shop is one of the best around and offers a wonderful selection of authentic Native American gifts.

By staying in Grand Canyon Village, you are within walking distance of trailheads of some of the National Park’s most famous hikes – Bright Angel Trail, Rim Trail and even Mather Point.

Naturally, no visit would be complete without a visit to the Grand Canyon Visitor’s Centre.

El Tovar – Grand Canyon lodging

El Tovar Grand Canyon first opened for service in 1905. The premier hotel and restaurant at the Grand Canyon were originally operated by the Fred Harvey company. It was designed by Charles Whittlesey (who also designed the Riordan Mansion in Flagstaff, Arizona). The El Tovar has been the most sought after lodging for over 100 years. In 2005, the 100th anniversary was celebrated for this classic historic National Park lodge. It was originally built to accommodate those distinguished passengers who arrived on the Sante Fe Railway. You can make the El Tovar a part of your Grand Canyon vacation if you plan far enough in advance. If you desire to stay at the El Tovar, we recommend that you call Xanterra Parks and Resorts at 1-888-297-2757 at least 13 months in advance. With the exception of January and February, the El Tovar normally books up 13 months in advance.

The El Tovar has 78 rooms. Each one of them is unique and distinctive. Interestingly enough, Charles Whittlesey specifically designed the El Tovar so that you would have to leave your room to enjoy a view of the Grand Canyon.

Tuba City and Moenkopi

These neighboring communities can be found on native Navajo lands about an hour due east of Grand Canyon National Park. Small but welcoming communities that are proud of their heritage ties, Tuba City and Moenkopi are a little off the tourist trail but well worth a visit.

For budget backpackers or road-trippers, Tuba City and Moenkopi are great places to stay in Grand Canyon, as they offer all the facilities you could need and are a gateway to some of Arizona’s best landscapes. The awesome – in the true sense of the word – Antelope Canyon is less than 80-miles north of Tuba City and surely gives Grand Canyon a run for its money.

There are some wonderful family-run diners to explore in Tuba City and Moenkopi. Even out here in rural Arizona, there are all your usual big chain fast-food outlets too, should you fancy something more familiar.

Yavapai Lodge – Grand Canyon lodging

The Yavapai Lodge is located close to a General Store, has a cafeteria-style restaurant, and is within a quarter-mile of the South Rim.

Yavapai Lodge is the largest lodge at Grand Canyon National Park with 358 rooms. It is located adjacent to the Canyon Village Market Plaza, and houses the Guest Registration Desk, Transportation Desk, Gift Shop and the Canyon Café. The entire complex is surrounded by Pinyon and Juniper woodlands, and is a half-mile from the canyon rim. The rooms are often referred to as Yavapai East and Yavapai West. Yavapai is a favorite destination due to the wide range of services available. The Market Plaza includes a general store, deli, bank and U.S. Post Office. The National Park Service Visitor Center is within a short walk — approximately a half-mile. You will also find a coin-operated laundry within walking distance of the lodge.

So, what are you waiting for? Plan and Book Your Trip with Sweetours!

Contact us for further information
Phone: 702.456.9200
Fax – 702.434.7163
Email – info@sweetours.com

sources: thecrazytourist.com, grandcanyon.com, touropia.com

7 Hidden Gems at the Grand Canyon You Might Have Never Known Before

The geological marvel Grand Canyon is a wildly popular place. Wide vistas and majestic views attract over 6 million visitors each year. As a result, it can get a little crowded. But it does not mean that you cannot find some privacy there. You only need to know where to look. If you’d rather take the road less traveled, there are quite a few hidden gems of the Grand Canyon area. Here are 7 hidden gems of Grand Canyon we think are the best.

1. Grand Canyon East Entrance

Since the South Rim is where most canyon visitors tend to congregate, you’ll enjoy a bit more solitude on the east side. The famed Horseshoe Bend is visible from here, so consider this a trick to experience it without craning your neck around a sea of people.

2. Shinumo Creek

Shinumo Creek Grand Canyon
If your feet get tired from hiking, hop in a raft and explore some side canyons. Shinumo Creek culminates in a shallow, waterfall-fed pool that is perfect for splashing away the sweltering desert heat. The best part? You likely won’t have to share the space at all.

3. Blacktail Canyon

Blacktail Canyon Grand Canyon
Blacktail Canyon is another area accessible by boat. Unique, ancient rock formations and wildlife make the experience an unforgettable one.

4. Clear Creek Trail to Cheyava Falls

Paralleling the pristine Clear Creek, this trail takes hikers on an unforgettable journey across the canyon floor. It passes Bright Angel Campground, where you’ll encounter a few dozen people at most (and likely a herd of bighorn sheep). Finally, upon reaching the tallest waterfall in Arizona, its majesty will overtake your every sense.

5. Tonto Trail

While many trails wind through the Grand Canyon, they’re often plagued with bumper-to-bumper tourist traffic pretty much all year long. Tonto Trail in the South Rim is a 70-mile respite from the crowds. You don’t have to hike the entire thing, of course – just pick a segment and enjoy some solitude while marveling at the gently flowing Colorado River.

6. Diamond Creek Road

This road leading down into the canyon is so remote, you’ll need a permit from the Hualapai people to drive on it. If you so desire, there is a campground at the bottom. It doesn’t have facilities but is still a viable option for those who would rather not traverse the risky route back out of the canyon after dark.

7. North Rim

Grand Canyon North Rim
A mere 5% of park visitors gravitate to the North Rim, which is much cooler and features plant and animal life unable to thrive in other parts of the canyon. The views are incredible and your photos won’t be filled with strangers.

It is only open from mid-May through mid-October due to heavy snowfall during the winter months. The vistas are different from the South Rim with wide open space rather than views of the Colorado River.

So, what are you waiting for? Plan and Book Your Trip with Sweetours!

Contact us for further information
Phone: 702.456.9200
Fax – 702.434.7163
Email – info@sweetours.com

sources: onlyinyourstate.com, grandcanyonhelicoptertour.net

winter hiking tips from sweetours grand canyon

Winter Hiking Safety Tips at Grand Canyon

While most visitors to the Grand Canyon experience its beauty in the spring, summer and fall, winter is still a great time to visit – mild temperatures in the inner canyon for the Grand Canyon hiker, fewer people, and the scenery is still amazing, especially when the rim is dusted with snow. It’s obvious that a winter hike in Grand Canyon is much different than a summer hike, and there are few things you need to know to help make your hike an enjoyable and safe one. Your clothing, food, and shelter are all critical elements that can make or break your hike.

To help you on your hike into the canyon, here are some tips for a safe and enjoyable Grand Canyon hiking trip, during the winter or whenever.

Clothing: Light but functional

Let’s start with clothing. Temperature and weather conditions can vary dramatically from the rim to the river. You are dropping nearly a mile in elevation as you trek down the trails. The difference between the temperature on the rim and at the Colorado River can range as much as thirty degrees. So on the rim, you may start with a thick fleece jacket, a parka, long underwear, a hat and gloves, but by the time you are halfway down the trail, you may be comfortable in just pants and a shirt. The lightweight and waterproof material is the key to ideal clothing. Although functional clothing has its price, the investment is well worth it.

The fiber content of your clothing is extremely important. You do not want to wear cotton. Once cotton gets wet, it takes a long time, which cools down the body temperature. Hypothermia is a very real threat during a Grand Canyon winter. Go with synthetic fabrics since they do not absorb water and dry quickly.

The right footwear is important

Before you start your hike, you need to purchase optimal footwear. Ill-fitting shoes can cause pain, blisters and a bad mood. Find a specialty store with a great selection and let the trained staff advise you. A hiking shoe for the winter should be waterproof with outer leather and breathable lining. The shoes should be as light as possible and not add unnecessary weight to your feet.

Another important item to have along are instep crampons, Kahtoola Microspikes or Yaktrax Traction devices. The trails at the Canyon can be covered with slick ice for the first mile or two or even more. It is treacherous and scary to be slipping and sliding while walking on the edges of cliffs!

However, the use of snow traction devices as those mentioned above, will allow you to actually enjoy hiking on the icy trail. No kidding! The Canyon Village Marketplace in the Village also sells instep crampons very at very reasonable prices. Check for availability to make sure they have them in stock. Their phone number is (928) 638-2262; ask for the camping department.

Hiking sticks are also very useful when hiking in mud and ice. In fact, hiking sticks can be some of the most useful items you can take with you on your hike! Read my Walking Sticks & Trekking Poles for all the benefits of their use.

Go on a guided hiking or backpacking tour

You don’t even have to read the rest of this article if you hire a guide – he or she knows the trails, knows how to stay safe, will be sure you are safe, is prepared before you even show up, and can even teach you a thing or two about the Canyon’s history, flora, fauna and geology. Most guide services will also supply the gear you need, so no worrying about being underprepared or forgetting the essentials.

Don’t underestimate the Grand Canyon or overestimate your abilities

Hiking the Grand Canyon is like nothing else in most of the rest of the world. There is a different dynamic in hiking down first, then up. If your knees and ankles don’t feel the strain of constant gravitational pull down the steep trails, you may unintentionally hike too far, forgetting that the hike out is strenuous. Give yourself twice as much time to hike out than it takes to hike in. If you hike out in is less time than expected – good job! – now take in the sites from the rim and enjoy the rest of your day worry and relatively pain-free. If you are a generally sedentary person, stick with hiking along the rim.

Eat and drink

Yes, it is cooler this time of year, but the desert is very arid and you will lose fluids quickly so be sure to drink water often. Also, eat! When hiking, you can and should take plenty of snack breaks. It is best to replace electrolytes with food rather than through electrolyte replacements such as Gatorade. Take these items as a quick fix, not as a replacement. The calories in food also warm you up as your body burns them, so even if you don’t feel hungry, the fuel will warm you up!

Follow trail etiquette for a safe and fun hike

Aside from many other hikers, especially on the main trails – South Kaibab and Bright Angel – there are also mules on the trails carrying gear and people. When you are approached by a mule going uphill or downhill, always move as far off the trail as possible to the inside of the canyon (by the wall of the canyon, not by the exposed area) to allow them to pass. Failure to move over can put you in a battle between mule and human – mule will win and human will likely be at the bottom of the canyon at record speeds. If you are unsure, listen to and follow the trail boss for instructions. When you approach other hikers, it is an unwritten rule to always yield to hikers going uphill. Uphill hikers are slower but are also moving steady and once you are hiking uphill, you will too find that stopping for the energetic downhill speedster makes it much more challenging to keep going (unless you need to take a breather anyway). You will find slow and steady is much better than fast with numerous stops. And for those of you going downhill, the hiker hiking uphill will be looking down most of the hike and likely wearing a brimmed hat. These two factors make it very likely that they will not see you barreling down the trail. In the case of ice and snow – slipping down the trail – so intentional, slower speed is better anyway.

So, what are you waiting for? Plan and Book Your Trip with Sweetours!

Contact us for further information
Phone: 702.456.9200
Fax – 702.434.7163
Email – info@sweetours.com

sources: explorethecanyon.com, hitthetrail.com, justroughinit.com