United States The West Rim Trail

5 images 1 contributors

Laurent Martres

About this spot

Although this 17.5-mile well-maintained trail is more often done as a leisurely two-day backpack, the entire length of the West Rim Trail can be hiked in one long but quite moderate day hike taking 9 to 11 hours. Note that starting from the Lava Point trailhead adds 1.5 miles to the hike. It ends at the Grotto shuttle stop in the valley (37.259016°, -112.951303°). Except for a short section in Potato Hollow, this hike is essentially flat for the first half and downhill after that. This one-day formula allows you to go light with a mid-size daypack. Just be sure to have plenty of fluids and snacks and avoid the unreliable water sources (water would have to be purified if present). The negative side of this scenario, at least for photographers, is that you hit the most spectacular views around midday when harsh light and/or haze are present.

Hiking up from from the Grotto is not a good option due the 3,000-foot elevation gain and you also have to deal with poor light.

The overnight backpacking scenario is a better option for photography, although it raises weight and practicality issues. It also requires a backcountry permit and if weather conditions are bad at the time you’ve reserved, all the effort could be in vain.

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