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Grand Canyon - must need items for daytime hikes in June

Like to know what must have items are needed for daytime hikes for South Rim?  Not camping just taking in the daytime scenery.  We are a family of 4 with kids age 14 and 16. 

8 Replies

Clothing - a really useful item is a lightweight (probably cotton or straw full brimmed hat with a drawstring so that it stays put.  I prefer a lightweight long sleeved shirt with pockets.  Usually I wear cargo shorts or convertible pants, also light weight.  Blue jeans do not cut it.

Carry plenty of water.  A mere quart canteen is insufficient. For thee typical hike during the day I would carry around a gallon, best done in three or four containers. Along with your other necessary gear, you will obviously need  a capable backpack.  That's one gallon per prson.

At Grand Canyon you descend from either rim to your destination.  This is easy on your wind but very tough on your legs.  Now you must ascend and you will find your legs complaining, while your lugs are stressed- a bad combination.

What routes are yo contemplating?  I would recommend the Bright Angel trail for a first effort, primarily because water is available along the route, unlike the South Kaibab or the Hermit.

I believe a permit is necessary even for day hikes into the canyon.  Please check the park website to be sure - also for the current covid situation and any other developments, like forest fires.

The weather in June should be sunny and warm.  Typically afternoon thunderstorms develop in July, but pay attention to the weather forecast.

I take it this is your first visit to the GC.  It will be quite hot, with low humidity, hence the water.  I would advise an early start, at dawn or even earlier.  It would be good to finish by noon.  On the typical day trip into the canyon, you are confronted with a strenuous ascent just as the day is getting nice and hot.  Did I mention that you need lost of water?

June is a high visitation month, so facilities will be crowded.

Happy to answer any other questions.  The park web site is a good source for current info.


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one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

And not just water but electrolyte replacement drinks or gels etc.  Consider taking some real grapefruit as well....a great, instant electrolyte replacement.  Never take salt pills (and old army trick) but do take salty snacks.  A water filter is likely to fill up quickly with silt so take water treatments to supplement what you carry.  You will likely need more water than you think.  If you make it to the river you will need a container to let the silt settle before treating it.  

For desert travel I added a small funnel to the end of the pump intake and strap on coffee filters  with rubber bands .  They can be changed often and save the filter.  If you have access to springs, take a dipping cup to prevent stirring up the silt on the bottom of a small pool.

Don't forget the sunblock and apply often to under your nose, tops of ears and under chin.  Sun reflects off the sand; also lip balm with sun block in it.


Most of the walking above the Rim is quite casual. There is some shade, but as a long time desert rat, I recommend carrying a shade umbrella. Some of the best viewpoints are close to the edge where there are no trees. It's nice to hang out and make your own shade.


Make sure your hat can be tied to your body. There are breezes there. Mornings can be surprisingly cool, as you are over 6,000 ft at the South Rim. Days can get quite warm, but consider having long sleeves and long pants because of how intense the sun can be.


Hike recommendation: Shoshone Point.


Accessing the rive via the usual routes (Bright Angel-Kaibab trails) you wind up at Phantom Ranch where potable water is plentiful.  no need for the river.  Actually since construction of the Glen Canyon dam, the river is rather clear at normal flow levels.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Did not know that.  I took an 18 day Dory trip long ago and backpacked down 4 different routes but never actually the Bright Angel trail.  The info is good for general desert/canyon country hiking.


I would not try to hike to the river and back in a day unless you have extensive hiking experience and are well conditioned to the elevation gain and distance in desert heat.  Phantom Ranch will most likely be over 100°F.  Indian Garden is a worthwhile day hike, but again, you must be prepared for the hike in the heat.  People suffer heatstroke every year and sometimes die.  I’m not trying to be overly dramatic, just be aware of your family’s ability and experience.  And realize that it is very easy to hike down, but much harder to hike back up. A rough estimate is 2 hours up for every 1 hour down.

The Rim Trail is a good introduction to the GC. You can hike as much of the 13 miles as you want, and take the shuttle back.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Grand Canyon is a very large place.  

The quality of your venture depends on what you and your kids interests and life & outdoor experience are, how much time you have allotted, and what your physical capabilities are.

An SLR film camera might be fun for your family, but bringing your own film is usually now essential.

Grand Canyon hosts lots of history, naturalist studies (and that is a giant spectrum in itself), culture, art & architecture, and adventure.  Fauna are important for youths to meet at a distance, ask around to workers (aka residents) where and what time of day they usually see elk, deer, etc.  Also, it actually is a pretty big spot on the map when it comes to the West's history of business, as well. 

There is often snow on the ground at the South Rim through mid-May, so June can still be quite chilly (I wanna say 40's-50's°F), or be getting excessively warm. ('Recalling a 109°F inner canyon hike late June). Like most desert climes, temperatures can vary 30+°F degrees in a day. 

Full meals, and complete hydration and a lot of snacks, including over salty snacks and sports drink mixes, might be necessary the day before, of, and after any hikes.  Often suggested is a liter of water per person.  That is actually often insufficient unless you staying in the Village, are not travelling (hiking) far, and/or have a filtration modality, and are staying with the Bright Angel Trail.  2 1/2 L per person is usually closer to enough.

Teenagers usually think hiking poles are for old people, but the Trail escarpments into the canyon make them almost necessary.  Let your kids know it will give them a more complete workout, and, months in advance, show them cool digital animation movies like "9" where the characters display kinesiology maneuvers akin to hiking with poles or walking with stilts.  You can call the general store of the Rim you are visiting and inquire about day rentals.

Avoiding discomfort is very important because it expounds exponentially there.  Make sure your youth know, understand, and incorporate that.  And, also know that photo opportunities can be dangerous and educate them of the geology so they understand to stay the distance from any edge ~2-3X their own height.

Your kids' interests might be more urban, money is usually a good idea for that context.  Navajo/Indian tiendas are located near the eastern entrance of the South Rim, and Hopi house permanently has a lot of awesome artwork, as Kolb studio often does as well.

A good comprehensive view can be seen from the Rim trails, the Trail of Time and, probably, the Rainbow Rim (much more remote).  The backcountry office *can* send you trail brochures, check you guys out, and a few other good ideas, but know they get backlogged, and their mornings are usually hectic.

If you give a more detailed, yet concise, information request, you can usually be provided with better information when contacting a person.  As a 3 1/2 year resident, I can tell you some activities to avoid that oft waste people's time, if I know more about what you seek from your journey.  Also know that "times change" excessively quickly in the hospitality industry, and the park's use trends are not devoid of that.


Water, water, and more water and gator aid powder to mix in some of it or some other electrolyte replacement.  Sun shade items like long sleeve UPF 50 shirts, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen.  We just got back two weeks ago and it was brutally hot in the canyon.  If you're going to be in the canyon, plan on starting your hike 5 am ish and being done by 10 at the latest.  Spend the hot part of the day soaking in the creeks to stay cool.  You can hike again once the sun goes past the rim and the temp really starts to drop.  Lots of snacks.  The hiking is challenging and you  will burn huge numbers of calories.

The rims are cooler, especially the North Rim.  But the South Rim is so packed with people it's hard to hike without tripping over people.  The North rim hiking was much friendlier, less people.

Found Myself Outside